Author Topic: Mozzarella melting  (Read 5591 times)

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Mozzarella melting
« on: September 26, 2012, 01:48:22 PM »
Ok, so I've been making mozzarella for about a month now, to use in making pizza at home.  It has been working rather well, but I'm wondering if I could control it better for pizza use.  I'm using an "American mozzarella" recipe, with citric acid and rennet, so it will go quickly.  The curd forms in 10min at 90deg., then I cut it into roughly 1/2inch cubes.  I've heated this up to apr. 105deg. for 10-20mins and also just scooped it out right away, both seem to work about the same.  Then to stretch the curd I've either heated in a double boiler, or in the whey at 185deg.  I like the double boiler better, it is cleaner, seems to go faster, and I think heating the curd in the whey for stretching seems to melt out the fat from the curd.  Then stretch and fold, and adding 1 teaspoon of salt to the curd, from the gallon of milk.

Anyway, it works, and then I grate it onto the pizza.  But I find that this mozzarella doesn't really melt all that well, it only melts a little.  This works well for the "Italian style" pizza, where I have disks of fresh mozzarella on the sauce, with largish gaps between them.  But the kids want a smooth layer of gooey-stretchy cheese on top, and this mozzarella isn't that gooey-stretchy.  Tastes good, just not that gooey.

How do I control the mozzarella I make to either get it to melt more or less on pizza?  What factors are involved in controlling the melting quality of cheese?


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 02:48:31 PM »
Ok, just as a follow up to the posting I had before, I looked at things, and there seems to be a lot of talk about "flocculation" and "multiplier times" in controlling the quality of the cheese, in terms of dryness, and moisture of the cheese.  So, this past weekend, when I made mozzarella again, I changed that.  I was getting a good curd after 10 mins before, so I would cut the curd then to save time.  This time I waited 30mins, since people seem to say that longer times setting the curd will result in more moisture, and a softer cheese.  Also I was cutting the curd rather randomly at 1/2inch or so cubes.  This time I carefully cut at 1inch cubes, since people seem to say larger cubes of curd will also result in a moister softer cheese. 

This seemed to result in a much higher yield, with more curd produced to be drained, like twice as much.  But then I put the curd into a double boiler for heating and stretching, and the curd expressed a lot more whey then it had before, so not sure that it helped or not.  It seemed to take longer to get the curd to stretch also, but it got there, and I got a good ball of mozzarella, that tasted good.  Not sure, but maybe in the end, I did get a higher yield, it seemed to be more than a pound, but if so, it was a slight change, like 20% more cheese from the gallon.

So, then I made pizza with it last night, and in the end, no real difference.  The cheese tastes good on the pizza, but it still doesn't melt all that much.  Just a little, before it browns, so no gooey melted cheese experience for the kids yet.

So, I'll stick with the success that I do have.  Next to try I guess is to mess with the fat content.  Maybe going for 2% milk, or adding a cup of cream to see how that effects things.  Plus I need to try with the "good" milk now, the $3.50 "normal" pasturized homogenized milk is working for me, now try the $8 local grass fed non-homogenized milk, and see how that goes.  (I'm putting off trying the $18 local raw milk for awhile yet...)

(Also I try making ricotta from the whey each time, and this time, very little ricotta, like only 1-2oz from the gallon.  I might stop doing that, since it is about another whole hour heating and cooling the milk for such a low yield, I usually got 3-4oz.  But having one spoonful of ricotta in the middle of each slice of pizza is kinda nice, so not sure yet...)

Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,644
  • Cheeses: 159
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 03:13:37 PM »
Hi Douglas,

I've not made mozz very often, and haven't had great luck.  However, my understanding about melting and such is that it is related to the acidity.  Too much or too little, and the cheese won't melt well.  It could be that you need to let the curds rest longer (after draining).  I know some traditioanl mozz makes let the curds sit over night before you stretch them.  You could look for one of those makes and see how that goes (MrsKK has one I believe), althoguh these are generally for raw milk.

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline bbracken677

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Dallas, Tx
  • Posts: 1,166
  • Cheeses: 16
  • I love me some cheese!
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 08:07:35 PM »
Or perhaps add a cup of cultured buttermilk and let that work for 30 minutes or so before adding rennet/citric acid.

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 09:18:30 PM »

Oooh, so I was thinking there has to be some info out there, so I tried different google searches, and came up with some things:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/food-trends/why-melting-cheese-to-perfection-is-a-science/article566932/

http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/20330/what-determines-how-well-cheese-melts

http://www.milkfacts.info/Milk%20Composition/Protein.htm

Looks like it is in the strength of the bonds.   Seems that the main secret is in the acid level, no melting is too hard a cheese, is too acidic a curd.  So, it looks like I melt a little, but not enough, means I'm a little too acidic.  So, next thing to try is reduce the amount of citric acid, and see what that does.

Also mentions the amount of bonds, and that higher calcium content will produce more longer bonds.  I'm using pasturized homogenized milk, so I should try adding a bit of calcium chloride also, and see what that does.  Maybe using better non-homogenized milk would give me a more meltier mozzarella.

They also see to suggest that more moisture and more fat will help in the melting, but until there is too much fat, and it starts coming out as oily butter fat when baked, don't want a greasy pizza.  So, the longer set time, and larger cuts will help, but adding cream probably won't be what I need.

Ok, next time only 1tsp of citric acid (instead of 1.5tsp), and 1/8tsp of calcium chloride.  Something to try next.  Oh, and I just found Berkeley Farms whole milk for $2.80 at the Indian market around the corner, even better than the $3.50 I was getting, bonus.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Alison

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Pretoria, South Africa
  • Posts: 38
  • Cheeses: 1
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 06:47:14 AM »
Hi

This may be a bit left field but remember that citric acid mozz leopards (goes brown in spots) - maybe that is happening before you really get the temperature of the middle of the pizza up?
check out
http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,6189.msg44210.html#msg44210

regards
Alison

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 03:24:37 PM »
Well, you might be right, that this mozzarella seems to brown more, and in spots.  But I'm pretty sure it is getting hot enough, the pizza is bubbling quite well in the oven, at 550deg. and on a heavy pizza stone.  The crust is well browned and nicely crispy, so I don't think the cheese temp on the pizza is a problem.

But made Mozzarella again over the weekend, and put it on pizza last night.  I reported on the making of this on another mozzarella thread here, but the main point is that I reduced the citric acid to 1tsp for a gallon, and added ~1/4tsp of calcium chloride.  Added the rennet at 90deg., and let that sit for 30mins.  Then cut it at 1inch cubes, and heated that in a hot water bath to 110deg. over another 30mins., then scooped out the curd, and heated that curd for stretching right away.  The curd expressed quite a bit of whey, and took awhile to get to stretching.  It looked like it wasn't going to happen, but I checked the curd temp, and it was at 175deg.  I got it up to 185deg., and that did it, kneaded it a bit, and there was the nice ball of mozzarella.

But in the end it wasn't that much different really.  It sat in the fridge for 2 days before I used it.  It did feel softer, and maybe on the pizza it did melt a bit more.  But only a bit, still not gooey just yet.  Nice, good cheese, just not gooey. 

I might be getting as far as I can with the citric acid mozzarella, I'll try reducing the amount of citric acid again, maybe lower the temps on dealing with the curd.  But I think it might be time to also start trying inoculated curd mozzarella, and see how that goes.  And since I can get a nice ball of mozzarella every time now I might try better milk.  Except I need to make cheese every week, and my current milk I get for $3 a gallon, the better milk is $8 a gallon, but I should see how it performs in comparison at least.

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 08:05:45 PM »
Ok, more reports, made Mozzarella again last night.  This time no calcium chloride, and 1.25tsp of citric acid for a gallon of milk (Berkeley Farms p/h whole milk $3).  But I decided to try something I hadn't up until now, the brine-ing of the cheese afterwards.  Other recipes for Mozzarella seem to call for this, but not many of the "quick" recipes.

So, I made the mozzarella, put in rennet at 88deg. and let sit for 40mins.  Cut at 1inch cubes, and started to scoop that out.  I warmed it briefly in a 120deg. water bath, but not that long, just to see the whey coming out of the curd.  So, in about an hour I have a mass of curd, and I start to heat this to stretch it.  I use a water bath of 195deg. water, and this takes a little while to get to stretching, but gets there just fine.  This one actually seems to stretch better than I've done before.  And this time, I decide to really go for it with the stretching.  Up to now I've been stretching it until I get a smooth ball, and then stop.  But I was thinking that it might be better to really draw out the proteins, so I stretch it out to about 18inches, and then fold it over and press it down, and do this over and over in one direction.  Heating it back up to the 195deg. 3 times.

Then I cut into four parts, and kneaded those separately into balls, about 3inchs in diameter each.  I prepared some brine, with 2cups water, 2cups whey, and 1/4 cup salt.  I put these into the brine for over night.

So, today, used two balls on two pizzas.  The texture was different, the mozzarella is much smoother, and grated very nicely.  The taste was about the best I've gotten so far in making mozzarella.  But still, too stiff in the end.  It melts, but only a little, still not getting a soft gooey pizza cheese.  Although this is a nice cheese.

I think I've gotten as far as I can go with this milk and process.  Next over the weekend I'll try with the same milk, but inoculate it with culture, and make mozzarella that way, and see how that goes.

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2012, 03:35:19 PM »
Ok, another report on mozzarella.  I tried to make mozzarella without citric acid, but with innoculation.  Using this recipe here:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Pasta_Filata/Pasta_Filata.html

I was using Berkeley Farms p/h whole milk, which has been working for me using citric acid.  I followed this exactly, really making an effort to do everything just as it says.  Added the buttermilk at 36deg. C, then after 15min the rennet (one difference I was using the "real" rennet, not the Junket rennet).  After two hour I checked and it was a really nice curd, setup well.  Best looking curd I've made so far, perfect clean break and all.  So, I cut this into ~3/4 inch cubes, and let it sit for awhile, until the whey was coming out.  Poured off about a quart of whey, and then setup a hot water bath at 37 deg. C for the night, and went to bed.

In the morning the curd had shrunk to a nice ball at the bottom of the pan, in very clear whey.  So, I checked on the ability to "spin", heated up water to 95deg. C, and then pour some of this over a tablespoon of the curd.  And it just fell apart, just a bunch of tiny curd bits all coming apart.  Ok, so it doesn't spin.  So, back in the hot water bath at 37 deg. C, and let it sit.  I check every hour to see it is spins... same thing.  After 4 hours of this, I just decide to go for it.  I put the curd into 95 deg. C water, and I just get curd soup.  Nothing comes together, no gummy mass, just a white smooth soup of curd.

So complete failure there, and I did just what it says, and the curd started out so well.  I took the curd soup, and I poured that through my cheese cloth (a thin white cotton napkin), and I'll see if that comes together after draining all day, maybe I can rescue this failure was a weird Neufchatel or something.

And now I still need to make Mozzarella for the week anyway...

Online Sailor Con Queso

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Posts: 2,525
  • Cheeses: 125
    • Boone Creek Creamery
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2012, 03:56:30 PM »
Your curd would not spin/stretch because it was too acidic. Letting it sit in a warm environment overnight gave the bacteria too much time to multiply and produce acid. Putting it back in the hot water bath just made things worse. A better method is to put it in your frig and rest overnight. The bacteria will still convert lactose to lactic acid, just more slowly. Then you test for spin/stretch in the morning. If it's not ready THEN you let the bacteria multiply at room temp (or warmer) until it reaches the proper acidity. There are several discussions and recipes in the Forum that use this technique.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
www.boonecreekcreamery.com


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 12:32:55 AM »
Hmm... not a bad idea.  I found another method for inoculation type mozzarella on-line also:

http://www.cheesemaking.com/Mozz-Culture.html

Where you make this over the course of one day, waiting for various stages over 5-7 hours or so.  I was going to try this next weekend.

But - and this is your big but - I still needed mozzarella for the week.  So I decided to take it up a notch, since I've been able to get mozzarella consistently using Berkeley Farms p/h whole milk at $3 a gallon - I went and got Strauss Family whole milk, past., but non-homog., for $8 a gallon.  This is a small dairy farm locally producing milk from grass fed (mostly) Jersey cows.  Boy this is good milk.  So, make it the same way, 1.25tsp citric acid, 1/4 tablet rennet at 88deg., sit for 30 mins.  Right away it was different, curd already setup, and pulling away from the sides, very clear whey all around the curd and on top.  It was almost tough to cut, the curd was so thick.  I didn't even need to scoop out the curd, after I cut it, I was able to just pour off the whey, until I had moist curd left in the pot.

This I then heated with 195deg. water.  And right away, thick, strong gooey mass.  Took a little while to heat, but then stretched, and stretched.  Texture completely different, more protein-like, like meat almost.  Also it was a light yellow, where the Berkeley farms milk was pure flat white.  Got it into a good ball, and salted it.  It stayed moist the whole time, never dried out at all.  Cooled the ball down in cold water, and it looked good.

Then I tasted it.  It is the best mozzarella I have ever had.  Wow - this is good stuff.  Much better than any mozzarella you could buy around here.  I've even had mozzarella in Napoli, and this is better.  Did I mention this is really good cheese?

Ahhh... but $8 a gallon milk... oh well.  Next I'll get the inoculation method working for me.  But if it makes better cheese, I'm not sure I could take it.  And after that I need to try the $18 a gallon raw milk...  Wow - this was good mozzarella.

Offline mnmaxg

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Minnesota
  • Posts: 12
  • Cheeses: 0
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 09:44:48 AM »
Douglas, thanks for providing detailed updates; I'm trying to learn about pasta filata cheeses before i hop in, and seeing your experience has been very helpful. That quality milk sounds excellent! I can't wait to get my skills to a point where I can make the most of good ingredients :)

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2012, 01:43:12 PM »
And, a quick update.  Put the mozzarella from the good milk on a pizza, and it melted!  Spread out and got all gooey, and melted.  Maybe almost too much, since it melted in with the tomato sauce also, making a yellow-red pizza.  Using the not-fully-melting mozzarella from the cheap milk the pizza was white with brown spots.  And it was very good, I think I've fixed all mozzarella issues there, except the cost.  I've got some other ideas to try still, but good milk - melts, cheaper p/h milk - doesn't melt well.

But, then when I put the pizza in front of the kids, my 12 year-old takes a look at it, and since it is different, she decides right away - I don't like it, and refuses to eat her share.  Ah, well, I can't win.  On the other hand my 7-year-old who is much, much pickier about what he eats, decides it is the best pizza he has had, and eats it all down quickly.  So, still haven't quite come up with the perfect pizza that saves money, and pleases everyone.  Still searching on that one it seems.  Looks like I'll have to go back to working with the cheap milk to please the 12-year-old.

Offline george (MaryJ)

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Rhode Island
  • Posts: 521
  • Cheeses: 22
  • Home of the Velcro Ocelot
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 04:07:13 AM »
Or make a batch of each and mix 'em half and half on the pizza.   ;D
If I have to be a grownup, can I at least be telekinetic too?

Offline douglas

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Bay Area, California
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2012, 12:37:49 AM »
Ok, more mozzarella testing.  This time I tried making mozzarella using an inoculation method, and then testing the curd over the course of a day to see when is the proper time to stretch.  I started with a gallon of Berkeley Farms p/h/ whole milk ($3), since I have experience getting mozzarella from this with citric acid for acidification.  Also because I want to see how good a mozzarella I can get using cheaper more common milk, if possible.  I heated this to 95deg. in a hot water bath, and inoculated with 1/4cup butter milk (also Berkeley Farms).  This I left for an hour, then mixed in the rennet, and left for another hour.  The curd was quite good at this point, solid, and smooth.  I then cut at 1inch and stirred a bit gently to break up the curd a little more.  This I left for an hour, until the curd reduced in size and there was a good layer of whey on top.  This I scooped into a colander, reserving the whey.  I then left this colander back in the pot, and back into a hot water bath at 100deg. for 2 hours.  At that time I tested a teaspoon of the curd to stretch in hot water, it didn't quite stretch, but held together nicely, it was rather solid.  So I waited one more hour, and tested again.  I seemed to stretch at this point, getting about twice as long before breaking, so I went for it.  I heated the whole curd in hot water (190deg.), and went for the stretch.  I couldn't quite get it.  The ball was quite gummy, a bit rubbery, felt fairly good, but stayed a rough group of curd really. I kept heating and working the ball, and it would hold together, but would not become a smooth ball of mozzarella.  After awhile of this, I just left it, it is a ball of cheese, tasted kinda ok, but looks more like a brain (all bumpy and wrinkly), than a smooth ball of mozzarella.  Oh well.

And it feels rather stiff and rubbery, not sure it will melt.  I kinda think at this point, I've now gone as far as I can go with the cheaper p/h milk.  I can make a nice tasting mozzarella, but it isn't going to be really soft ever, or melt well.