Author Topic: Mozzarella Help  (Read 3844 times)

Offline avaserfi

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Mozzarella Help
« on: April 24, 2009, 11:45:15 PM »
So, I have been trying to get a batch of 30 minute mozzarella made - my first attempt I had one issue, the second I had a different problem. I am following this method: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/123.html

First off both times I used this milk which claims to be VAT pasteurized and non homogenized: http://www.farmersallnaturalcreamery.com/products/wholemilk.html

The first time I had pretty good curd formation - it was a little loose, but not bad. Everything was going well until I started heating up the curd to stretch it. At that point it completely dissolved into the water I was heating it in. I thought that maybe the water was too hot, but by the time I realized what was going on it was too late. I also heard that this could mean the curd was not acidic enough?

The second time no curd formed. I used 2tsp of citric acid rather than 1.5. Also, the rennet tablet and acid were dissolved and added in warm/hot water, not cool. After adding the rennet, I let it sit for 5 minutes then another 5. The whey and curd separated and the curd fell to the bottom of the pot. I reached my hand in and it was a bunch of little globs of curd. No good formation.

I am trying to decide if I should give up with this milk or if it is something in my process... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: Also, the second time I used an iodine (1%) /water solution mixed at 1tbs iodine/5 gallons water for sanitation as I do with brewing. I didn't do this the first time - some of the solution (an ounce or less) likely made it into the milk could this be part of the problem?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 11:53:34 PM by avaserfi »


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Offline mako

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2009, 04:24:50 PM »
I would suggest finding some way to measure pH. Forming a curd that falls apart when you try to stretch it sounds like a case of under- or over-acidification. pH strips for beermaking (which you should be able to find at a homebrew shop -- I've found some with a range of 4.6-6.2) are not great for real exacting measurements, but should at least let you know if you're in the right range.

I'm not sure what to say about your second try.

And as for the milk, it couldn't hurt to try something else (except in terms of wasted time), but it sounds like for the purposes of making mozzarella, that's exactly what you want. (Even if you got raw milk, making mozzarella usually involves vat pasteurizing at 145F at the start of the make, anyway).

As for the iodine, I know the folks around here tend to prefer Star-San for sanitizing, but I don't imagine that a very small amount of iodine would affect the process -- just the flavor. But I am not at all sure of that.

Good luck. Sorry I can't give any more conclusive advice.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 12:37:00 AM »
I have had very good luck over the years using this method. It never failed for me. And I always get a good 12 to 16 oz. per gallon of whole milk.

http://www.junketdesserts.com/cheeserecipes.aspx

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2009, 06:59:39 AM »

The first time I had pretty good curd formation - it was a little loose, but not bad. Everything was going well until I started heating up the curd to stretch it. At that point it completely dissolved into the water I was heating it in. I thought that maybe the water was too hot, but by the time I realized what was going on it was too late. I also heard that this could mean the curd was not acidic enough?

The second time no curd formed. I used 2tsp of citric acid rather than 1.5. Also, the rennet tablet and acid were dissolved and added in warm/hot water, not cool. After adding the rennet, I let it sit for 5 minutes then another 5. The whey and curd separated and the curd fell to the bottom of the pot. I reached my hand in and it was a bunch of little globs of curd. No good formation.

I am trying to decide if I should give up with this milk or if it is something in my process... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: Also, the second time I used an iodine (1%) /water solution mixed at 1tbs iodine/5 gallons water for sanitation as I do with brewing. I didn't do this the first time - some of the solution (an ounce or less) likely made it into the milk could this be part of the problem?

I'm really thinking that your problems are from the process you are using to make the cheese itself.  I know that many people are successful using pasteurized and homogenized milk from the grocery store, so I really don't think your milk is the problem at all.  I use raw milk and don't pasteurize it ahead of time and it turns out great with good yield.

I'm thinking you may be stirring the milk too much after adding the rennet, as that can break up the curd or prevent it from forming.  Also, you must use cool water to dissolve the citric acid and the rennet.  You may have damaged the rennet by using warm water in your second batch.  It is pretty delicate, especially the liquid stuff.

I liked Ricki Carroll as a starting point with cheesemaking, but I have to say that every time I see her "30 Minute Mozzerella" recipe, it is different.  I've probably seen about 5 permutations of the recipe, all on her website and in her books.  There's a reason the recipe keeps changing, methinks!

Here's how I make mozzerella using citric acid:

1 gallon milk
2 teaspoons citric acid, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water OR 1 Junket rennet tablet, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water (I've used both rennets and had good results)
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)

I use a double-boiler method to heat my milk.  Place a 2 gallon pot inside a slightly larger pot, with hot water in the outside pot.  This helps prevent scorching your milk and helps the milk heat up more evenly. 

Dissolve your rennet in cool water before you start to warm the milk.

Set another pot of water to heat up to 170-180 degrees.  It will form bubbles on the surface of the pot, but won't actually be simmering (breaking bubbles).

Put your cool/cold milk in the 2 gallon pot and mix the citric acid in thoroughly.  Heat the milk to 88* F - it will start to curdle.  Stir while heating so that the milk is evenly warmed. 

Gently stir in the rennet with an up and down motion (don't swirl your spoon through the milk, as it can break the curd up/prevent good curd formation).  Quit stirring once it is well blended, but continue to warm the milk to 105*.  Remove the inner pot from the double boiler once the milk reaches 105*.  If you do not have clean break yet, allow the pot to set undisturbed.  This can take 5-10 minutes with the curd being the consistency of thick yogurt and the whey should be fairly clear, though yellowish-greenish.

I then scoop the curds out into a pyrex bowl.  Ladle some of the almost-simmering water over the curds and using a slotted spoon, gently, very gently, lift them around and fold them over each other as they warm.  The curds are tender at this point and you don't want to break them up at all.  As the water cools, dump it off and add more hot water.

The curd will start to change from a yogurt-like mass to a warm taffy-like substance.  At this point, you can start taking it out and stretching it.  If it is too hot to handle (use a pair of rubber gloves or two pair of latex exam gloves), I will use two spoons to lift and stretch it until it has cooled enough to handle.  If the curd strands break, return them to the hot water (replace this as it cools), then try again.

Sometimes I have to heat them several times until the curd is stretching like a taffy pull.  While it is still stretchy, I place it on the countertop and sprinkle the cheese over it, knead the salt in, then heat and stretch some more.  The cheese is done when it is smooth and shiny.

Like kneading bread, it is a feel thing.

You can also use your microwave to do the heating.  I nuke the curds/work them, in 2 batches.  The first heating is for about a minute, then I do 30 or less seconds for 3-4 more times.  Whatever it takes to get the curd stretching well.

Don't give up on mozzerella.  IMHO, it is one of the funnest cheeses to make (I love being up to my elbows in the stretching!), and one of the most gratifying, as you can be eating on a pizza the same day you make it.

Offline avaserfi

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2009, 10:06:51 AM »
Thanks for the help. I will try out that recipe soon. I have vegetable rennet tablets and Rickie's recipe calls for 1/4 a tablet for 1 gallon of milk - yours calls for a whole tablet. Should I use a whole one? That seems excessive...

These are the tablets I have: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/108-Tablet-Vegetable-Rennet-10-Tablets.html

Thanks again.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 10:32:35 AM by avaserfi »


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Offline mako

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2009, 06:50:02 PM »
I believe you should use 1/4 tablet of that, if it's good and fresh. 1 tablet = 1 teaspoon. Lots of people are wary of junket rennet in particular, and suggest avoiding it entirely, or using 4 times the recommended dose, just to be on the safe side. I assume that's how the recipe above got to look like that.

Personally, I've had varying success with it, and more consistent results with liquid rennet. Who knows how long a given packet of junket has sat on the grocery shelves -- I've certainly never noticed anyone else buying it.  :)

Offline avaserfi

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2009, 07:52:18 PM »
Thanks for the tips. I had success tonight!

« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 08:01:10 PM by avaserfi »

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2009, 10:24:12 PM »
Yes sir that looks like a total sucess! Congrats hon!

Offline mako

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2009, 01:12:18 AM »
Gorgeous! Did you get any sense of what went right that might've gone wrong before? Good to get it down while it's fresh -- could be helpful to the next person.

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2009, 03:30:49 AM »
congratulations on your success!

Re: the rennet question, the one you bought is probably much stronger than the Junket brand.  I use Junket because I can buy it locally, where I have to order anything else.  For some cheeses, I have had really good results.  It is also cheap enough that, if the cheese doesn't coagulate, I can just add another tablet.

And yes, please post any differences in the process or your observations.


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Offline avaserfi

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2009, 07:39:55 AM »
I used Central Market organic whole milk which I found out is not UP. Also, I made sure not to get the rennet in hot water. The last big difference was I used the microwave to heat the curd for stretching, I was a little gun shy with a water bath. As I get more comfortable I will move toward using a water bath though...

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2009, 01:32:18 AM »
Thank you Mrs KK. for the first time ever I am now geting consistentlly good results

Offline Baby Chee

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2009, 02:24:06 PM »
Thanks for the tips.  I want to try this sometime soon.

Can you still use the whey from Moz to make Ricotta?  I also want to try making Ricotta from whey when I make my next cheeses.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2009, 07:18:36 PM »
Yes you can still make riccotta

Offline huffdaddy

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Re: Mozzarella Help
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2009, 05:16:35 AM »
Great thread, as it probably answered my question.  I made mozzarella two weeks ago and got good curds.  This weekend the curds massed together and sank like in the OP.  It looks like I'm stirring the rennet too much - whisked it pretty vigorously for a few minutes.  I'll try it more gently next time. 

The last big difference was I used the microwave to heat the curd for stretching, I was a little gun shy with a water bath. As I get more comfortable I will move toward using a water bath though...

I use cloth gloves with plastic food service type gloves over them.