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30 minute microwave mozzarella?

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Talking about fresh sources of mozzarella in SF one poster wrote

"I've been experimenting with cheesemaking and Rikki Carrol's book on home cheesemaking has a 30-minute microwave version that is REALLY impressive. I'm serious -- we had fresh mozzarella in our hands in 30 minutes from a gallon of milk a little citric acid and some rennet.

I'll never buy mozzarella again."

Could someone restate this recipe? These are two of my favorite things .. mozzarella & microwaves.

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  1. Well it's 60 minutes and not 30 but this link gives a fairly detailed description:

    http://www.leeners.com/mozzarella.html

    It's very interesting. I might invest in one of their kits just for the fun of it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheryl_h

      Thanks so much. You probably don't need the kit as they give you the recipe and you could buy the stuff on your own.

      Yeah, this is more than I'd want to tackle. I was hoping it was more like throwing a bunch of stuff in a dish and throwing into the microwave and ... voila ... cheese.

    2. I'm guessing that this is the recipe they were talking about on the LA board. It's not quite as easy as tossing everything in a bowl and nuking it, but still very simple.

      You can probably get all of the ingredients at the local grocery store, though the rennet tablets can be kind of a challenge. You may be able to find them in the pudding/jello section under the name Junket.

      http://www.cheesemaking.com/includes/...

      1. This recipe is certainly the most simple I know of and provides decent results, but it pales in comparison to some of the available fresh mozzarella here in Boston (Purity Cheese, Bob's, Sessa's, etc)... which some say pales in comparison to the imported mozzarella di bufala. Find the freshest, non ultra-pasturized milk around, and give it a shot.

        1. I'm the one who referenced the 30-minute method and it really did only take 30 minutes... From Rikki Carrol's "Home Cheesemaking" pages 134 and 135

          - 1 1/2 citric acid
          - 1 gallon whole milk
          - 1/8 to 1/4 lipase powder dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water -- allow to sit for 20 minutes for a stronger flavor; lipase is optional
          1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
          1 teaspoon cheese salt (non-iodized, Diamond kosher flake salt)

          1. While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk at 55 degrees and mix thoroughly. If adding lipase, add it now.

          2. Heat milk to 88 degrees over medium/low heat. The milk will start to curdle.

          3. Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion, while heating the milk to between 100 and 105 degrees. Turn off the heat. The curds should be pulling away from the sides of the pot; they are ready to scoop out (approximately 3 to 5 minutes for this)

          4. The curds will look like thick yogurt and have a bit of shine to them, and the whey will be clear. If the whey is still milky white, wait a few more minutes.

          5. Scoop the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2-quart microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible.

          6. Microwave the curds on HIGH for 1 minute. Drain off all the excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading bread) with your hand or a spoon. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch (145-degree inside the curd).

          7. Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each; add salt to taste after the second time (optional). After each heating, knead again to distribute the heat.

          8. Knead the cheese until it is smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it is done. If the curds break instead of stretch, they are too cool and need to be reheated.

          9. When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls and eat while warm. Or place them in a bowl of ice water for 1/2 hour to bring the inside temperature down rapidly; this will produce a consistent smooth texture throughout the cheese. Although best eaten fresh, if you must wait, cover and store in the refrigerator.

          Yield: 3/4 to 1 pound.

          TROUBLESHOOTING: If the curds turn into the consistency of ricotta cheese and will not come together, change the brand of milk; it may have been heat-treated at the factory to too high a temperature.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Carrie 218

            See gorboduc's post above for pictures. And the citric acid measurement is teaspoons.

            1. re: Carrie 218

              Can you describe the final product? I can buy decent handpulled mozzarella locally so I'm curious to know how a homemade version compares.

            2. Thanks, Aromatheraphy... trying to type fast and missed that bit.

              Cheryl H, I belive the quality of one's homemade Moz depends on your milk source. I'm here in San Francisco so I get some pretty darned decent milk from Strauss farms that makes for intensely rich, lovely cheese.

              I guess it all depends on your source...

              1. OK. Two nights in a row and no cheese, just a BIG mess. First time, I used 2% pasturized, homogenized milk, perhaps too much rennet and got no firm curds, just speckles. From those speckles, I managed to create four, hard as rocks, pieces of "mozzarella," though my dear husband spit it out immediately. Tonight, I bought local, pasturized, non-homogonized whole milk and got curds, though not terribly firm, and things went well until the pulling/kneading stage. The curds would not melt, and not my hands are a scalded mess. I'm willing to give it another go, but I'm out of ideas. help me? thanks!

                4 Replies
                1. re: green_nest

                  Today was my first attempt at this. I used 1 gal. whole milk from Kroger's, heated slowly to 55F, then added 2 tsp citric acid and 1/2 tsp mild lipase powder in 1/4 c water. Then heated to 88F and added 1 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 c water, and 1/2 rennet tab dissolved in 1/4 c water. The break looked promising but when I tried to scoop it into my bowl to microwave it, I too ended up with smallish, soft curds that just slipped through my slotted spoon. So...not wanting to waste the milk, I tossed the lot into cheesecloth and drained the whey off as much as I could...still a gloppy mess, but when I began to microwave it, it got sticky just like the recipe said, and after several go rounds in the MW, I finally achieved the taffy-like product called for. I think that the kneading and stretching part is important to get the right texture in the finished cheese. Next time, I'll try a different milk...maybe I'll get firmer curds. Anyone else have suggestions?

                  1. re: kapusta

                    Hi Kapusta. I know nothing about making mozzarella at home, but I've worked in a family cheese dairy before. I'm wondering whether it might be to do with your brand of rennet, or how briskly you are stirring the mixture as the curds are forming. Traditionally, the curds are left to form in one giant piece (like a bowl of really soft jello), and then are cut using a long tool with parallel metal wires. So maybe stir as rarely as possible, and treat them very gently. "Gentle" is also the keyword when transferring the curds from the pot to a bowl; try and break them up as little as possible when scooping into the pot. I make ricotta at home (so tiny curds!) and I found the holes in slotted spoons too big; I use a scooper made out of fine wire mesh (usually used for fragile deepfried items I believe).

                    I really hope this works, because I'm tempted to try this myself at home!

                    1. re: Gooseberry

                      Thanks for the tip, Gooseberry. When you caution to limit stirring while the curds are forming, do you mean before or after the rennet is added?

                      1. re: kapusta

                        I mean when the curds are forming/formed. As by now you know, they are very fragile. As far as I know, while the fragility of the 'set' (when the milk coagulates) depends on both your rennet and your milk, the size of the curds depend on how small or large you cut them (either with a blade or by stirring with a spoon!). So more vigorous stirring=smaller curds. So don't stir more than you need to, and as gently as you can when dealing with curds specifically.