Author Topic: Mozzarella melting  (Read 5605 times)

Offline Boofer

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 09:08:27 AM »
Douglas, great dialogue on mozzarella. I have never successfully made it although I have attempted it once. A cheese for your inspiration.

So why doesn't your 12-year-old like the better milk mozzarella?

Berkeley Farms = Industrial milk = P/H...white...grain-fed...no beta carotene
Straus Farms = Family farmed = P, not H...cream-colored...grass-fed...good beta carotene

In my area, creamline milk (P, not H) goes for $3.19/half gallon. Whole raw milk comes from 3 dairies, 2 @ $9.99/gallon and 1 @ $11.99/gallon. I initially used industrial milk (P/H) @ $3-something a gallon. Then I persuaded myself to commit to a higher quality milk for my cheeses. It makes a big difference in curd development and final cheese quality and flavor.

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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 02:53:56 PM »
Buttermilk may be your problem with the cultured mozz you tried to make, as it is a substitute for mesothermic culture.  Try using plain yogurt with live, active cultures, as it is a good substitute for thermophilic culture.

Offline douglas

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2012, 01:18:54 PM »
Oh, that is interesting, do you think?  Well, the temps I was using were 95deg. for the inoculation, and ~100deg. for the ripening.  Is that a mesophilic temp?  I thought yogurt bacteria prefer 110-120deg., that mesophilic is around 90-100deg.  But I haven't tried that much on that just yet.  I did make Fromage Blanc (which is a type of cheese I liked in France, and I can't seem to find here, cream cheese isn't that same), and that one was at about 80deg. just to put in the culture, and then left it at room temp over-night.

But in any case, that is something else to try.  I was also going to try with buttermilk and the good Strauss milk, and see how that goes.  But I can also try with yogurt and compare.  I need a pound of mozzarella a week in any case, so there is more chance to experiment.

Offline douglas

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2012, 02:26:27 PM »
Oh, and Boofer - Yes, I agree the good milk was soooooo much better than the cheap milk, I would prefer to use that all the time.  But I've a got a bit of a quest with this, since I can get mozzarella already made for about $7 a pound, and I need about a pound a week to keep the kids happy.  I was looking to see if I could make a better cheese for less than I can buy.  It seems that I can make a better cheese than I can buy, it will just be for $8 a gallon of milk, which will make about a pound of cheese.  So, I'll do that from time to time, but not every week.

Looks like you are in a better place for milk.  The choices I have seems to be $3-4 a gallon of industrial p/h milk, $8 for Strauss p/non-h (which is very-very good), and there are 2 raw milk producers both at $18 a gallon, and I haven't gotten to those just yet (I will get there...).  And that is about it, I'd head to raw milk quicker also if I could get it for $10 a gallon.

As to why my 12 year old doesn't like the much much better mozzarella on the pizza?  I have no idea, but then again I usually have no idea why thinks what she does in general...  You do what you can to point out the better things in life, and for the most part the kids just ignore you while you do it, that's life isn't it?

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2012, 03:56:51 PM »
Haha ...and then they realize when they reach adulthood that you weren't such an idiot as they thought  :)

Optimum range for mesos seems to be mid to upper 80s, while thermo is generally stated as 104F in recipes.

I think you will like the results from using yogurt as your culture a bit better.


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2012, 09:21:57 AM »
One of the compromises you can make is to use the cheaper P/H milk and add a little of the more expensive, higher quality, raw or creamline milk. That has worked for me and others in the past.

There's a distinction to be made concerning cheese you can buy for some price and the cheese you can make that maybe costs a bit more. For my money, I have found that most of the cheese styles I craft either cannot be found in my supermarket or fail to deliver the quality and eating satisfaction that I expect. I don't eat that much mozzarella presently so that's probably why it has remained on my "back burner". I resisted making Cheddar for the longest time because I felt that a local cheese maker met my needs there. I finally decided to make Cheddar, but still haven't tasted either of the two (#1, #2) that I made. I don't want to be hasty, but I hope they satisfy when finally opened next year.

Haha ...and then they realize when they reach adulthood that you weren't such an idiot as they thought  :)
Very true. It really is amazing.

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Offline douglas

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2012, 11:10:54 AM »
Ok, more news on the mozzarella front.  Made more, of course, but still going for soft moist form, that will hopefully melt well on the pizza.  So, I am still making the citric acid version, but this time I used Clover whole milk, p/h for $4 a gallon.  This is a smaller scale producer , better known for their organic milk for $6 a gallon, but I'm going for the non-organic, and see how that goes.  Also I was wondering about any pressure on the curd forming a harder cheese at all.  So, this time I did not scoop out the curd into a strainer to drain.  I cut the curd at about 1inch cubes, and then I put this in a warm water bath at 110deg. for 30 mins.  As the whey separated from the curd, I then just poured off the whey, and left the curd in the pot.  I got as much whey off the curd as I could, and this really only took as long as it took to scoop out the curd with the slotted spoon. 

I then transferred this curd straight to the double boiler, and heated this for the stretch.  This took awhile to drive off the remaining whey, and then get to the stretch.  Once it did get to 190deg., then it stretched just fine, and turned into a smooth ball quickly at that point, just took awhile to get there.

The ball was rather moist, and seemed softer than with the Berkeley Farms milk.  And then I grated it and put it on the pizza, and it is fine.  Again, it melts a bit but not completely.  Maybe a little more than the Berkeley farms milk, but it doesn't become all bubbly and gooey.

But this time at least, both kids liked the pizza, and ate it all.  So, I think I've gotten to the best I can do for the pizza that the kids will really like. 

I still have to try for a good inoculation type of mozzarella, still haven't been able to get that to work yet.

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2012, 12:32:41 PM »
Nice! Great job working through the make and improving your product! 

A cheese for you!

Offline douglas

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 03:59:05 PM »
Ok, so more in the mozzarella story.  Made it again last night, like I do each week.  And this time I went from 1.25tsp to 1.5tsp of citric acid to acidify the milk.  Just to see the effect, and I kept everything else the same.  Used the Clover Stornetta whole milk, p/h at $4 a gallon.  The milk got a little warm on me, and I put in the citric acid and rennet at 92deg., I had been doing this at 88deg.  Waited 30mins, then cut the curd at 1inch, and put in a warm water bath at 120deg. to separate the whey.  The whey I just poured off, and left the curd in the pot.  Then heated this in a double boiler over 195deg. water.  This then started to stretch almost effortlessly, and turned into a ball of mozzarella without much working at all.  It also seemed softer than I had made before, and in a few days I'll get around to putting it on pizza, and I'll see how well it melts.

So, some conclusions, to get a good mozzarella you need a certain range of acid, and it can be too low.  There seems to be some consensus that if the acid is too high, you will get hard crumbly curd that won't hold together and stretch, which is true.  But if the acid is too low, the curd won't hold together or stretch either.  So, along with that, I've decided to get a ph meter and start to record ph as I go on.  I think this one might be a good buy, since it gives temp. and ph, and doesn't cost too much?

http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-Instruments-PH55-Waterproof-Tester/dp/B002SGKE8W/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1352238806&sr=1-1

Also either the temp. doesn't matter that much, since 92deg. made a softer cheese than 88deg., or 92deg. is just better?  And I took mote this time of the sell-by date.  The milk was bought and used on Nov. 5th, and the sell-by date was Nov. 16.  I should record that also for each time that I make the mozzarella to see how that might effect things.

Offline mako

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2012, 02:47:07 PM »
Your sequence of successes and failures reminds me pretty strongly of my own. (Although yours has a stronger focus on success. For me, mozzarella has just been a constant heartbreaker.)

First of all, as for recipes: that Fankhauser recipe is terrible. I threw away gallons of lumpy milk trying to get it to turn out. (Before I found this place.) The cheesemaking recipe is much better, and gives some good insights into what variables really matter in formation of the right type of moz. But the best starting point I've seen for homemade mozzarella comes from our own linuxboy (I think):

http://www.wacheese.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48:traditional-mozzarella-howto&catid=43:moderate-cook-temp&Itemid=66

That is, of course, pretty focused on hitting pH targets. A lot of things that are completely opaque when just going by time become clearer and more repeatable when you know exactly where the acidification process is at any point.

Secondly as for the milk: As far as bacterially acidified goes, It didn't matter what recipe I used... I tried dozens of times, and maybe got one successful ball of cheese out of it. (Not exaggerating. Definitely <5% success rate.) I bought a pH meter (Exstik pH100 -- mixed feelings on that one), I built a PID-controlled cheese vat, I took fastidious notes, and still... hitting that magical pH of 5.15 and getting a good stretch was like landing an airliner on the head of a pin. I'd stick the curd into the fridge for 2 days to make sure it acidified slowly, so I wouldn't miss it... I'd pull it out and try to stretch it and it'd break, and I'd wait some more... and then, one wrong breath and I'd overshoot and have a bunch of mush (or an ersatz feta for salads).

Then my friends brought home some raw milk (~$7/gallon around here if you manage to get to the farms where they sell it) and everything changed. The curd set up like a damn superball, cut and held its shape gorgeously, and when it was time to stretch, it pulled like taffy, even though I'd let it acidifiy too much. When I put it on pizza, it melted perfectly, held up to the liquid in the sauce, and had enough flavor to hold its own. Since then, I've given up on trying to get any of the storebought milks around here to make mozzrella -- which is disappointing, because I'd really like to be able to make something that works well on the cheap.

As far as directly acidified (the citric acid recipe)... it seems pretty bulletproof to me, for what it is. I haven't had trouble with the marginal milks that failed for real moz. And it makes a tasty, quick cheese for slicing and eating. (A bit flat, a bit sweet, but still sort of magical for a half-hour's work.)

But, as mentioned in that wacheese page, for good melting cheese that doesn't burn, you need to break down all the excess sugars. The direct method doesn't do any of that. And the proteins need to be broken down correctly as well (this part I don't even begin to understand). Every time I've tried directly acidified moz on pizza, the 800 degree oven has left me with a layer of brown-black burnt sugar on top of a layer of sort of half-melted cheese.

(Then again, I never did try the direct method with raw milk. It'd kinda seem like a waste, I guess.)


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Offline douglas

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2012, 12:54:03 PM »
Ok, more mozzarella this week, but this time I have a ph monitor.  So, once again I started with what going to be my standard milk it seems, the Clover Stornetta farms whole milk, p/h at $4 a gallon.  Seems to be the best milk for a balance of quality and price.  This was purchased and used on Nov 10, sell by date was Nov 19.  So, I got out the ph meter, and spent a bit of time fussing with it, need to soak it in bottled water first, and calibrate it, and such.  Took a bit, and in the end I didn't become too confident in it.  It has a readout to a tenth of ph unit, but the calibration and reproducibility seemed to show that the accuracy was 2 tenths of a unit.  And there seemed to be some time delay in coming to a stable reading.  But I forged ahead in any case.

The milk was at 6.6ph when put in the pot to warm, which I did with a hot water bath, to 93-94deg.  I added the lipase, and 1.5tsp. of citric acid that was dissolved in 1cup of distilled water.  This brought the ph of the milk to 6.0ph.  This doesn't seem acidic enough.  The recipe mentioned in the previous post suggested a ph of 5.1 for the stretching, so I added 0.5tsp more of citric acid dissolved in 0.5cup of distilled water.  This dropped the ph to 5.6, which seemed like a large change compared to the change for 1.5tsp, so like I said, not sure bout the ph monitor and its accuracy beyond 0.2ph or so.

Anyway, so added the rennet, and waited 30 mins, cut into 1.5inch cubes or so, and started to pour off the whey.  The whey was very clear this time, more so than before.  Transferred the curd to the double boiler to heat for stretching, over 195deg. water.  This took a little while to drive off more whey, but once the amount of whey in the curd fell, it started to stretch just fine, quite quickly.  The mozzarella formed a ball, but it was very soft, almost mushy actually.  The whey after removing the curd was 5.3ph, not sure what to do with that number.

And then I put it on pizza, and not really much difference there.  It melts, but only a little, and does dev. brown spots from the lactose burning.  But it works, tastes good, and keeps the kids happy, and I get lots of mozzarella for about $4 a pound.  So, I'll stick with this, time to get a large pot, and start making more at a batch, and freezing the extra and see how that goes.

So, it seems that the ph for stretching needs to be at least 6.0, and the other recipe suggests 5.1, but here at 5.6 it works, but I think it was going a little too far.  I am going to use 1.75tsp of citric acid per gallon from now on.  And on the other hand, it seems that using these types of milk, larger scale p/h milks, you are just not going to get a mozzarella that melts right on the pizza.  To get a melty cheese you need to start with raw or small scale lower-temp pasturized non-homogenized milks.  Or at least, I think I've learned enough to draw that conclusion for now, unless someone else has found a way to disprove this assumption of mine.


Offline bbracken677

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Re: Mozzarella melting
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2012, 01:39:41 PM »
A cheese for your persistence and analysis!   :)