This is a twist on Ricki Carroll’s 30-Minute Mozzarella. Skipping the final microwave heating and stretching steps results in a soft cheese–firm enough to slice but too soft to shred–that is very similar to the soft mozzarella served at Soho’s Italian Restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia. It’s also a very good melting cheese.
Servings: 1 poundPrep Time: under 30 minutes, not counting draining Cook Time: about 10 minutes
1 1/2 level teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
1 gallon whole milk
1/4 teaspoon lipase powder (Italase) dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water (for 20 minutes prior to using)
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
If you’re using pasteurized store-bought milk, you may need to add calcium chloride. For a one gallon recipe, use 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride added directly to the milk as you begin to heat the milk. This will help the curds set properly. Also, if using store milk, do not use lipase. (It will make your curds too soft.)
Step 1. Add the citric acid solution, mixing thoroughly.
Step 2. Begin heating the milk, continuing to stir, until it reaches 90 degrees.
Step 3. Stir in the diluted lipase. Mix thoroughly then stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion. If using raw milk, continue heating (stop stirring) the milk to 100-105. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a colander.
If using store-bought milk, after adding the rennet at 90, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Check the curd. If it’s too soft, let it sit a few more minutes. Cut the curd into 1-inch squares with a knife that reaches the bottom of the pot. Place the pot back on stove and heat to 105 while stirring slowly. Take it off the heat and continue stirring slowly for 2-5 minutes before transferring to a colander.
Step 4. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon, transferring to a colander set over a bowl (to collect the whey). As you ladle the cheese from the pot to the colander, sprinkle cheese salt in the layers of curds.
Step 5. Work with the curds as little as possible while still allowing as much whey to drain as you can. Use a slotted spoon to just sort of lift up and move around the curd mass without disrupting it. (Don’t stir up the curds or knead them.) Within about 5-10 minutes of draining, the curd mass will become small enough that you can move it to either a small ricotta basket or a 1-2 pound cheese mold.
Set the cheese, in the mold, back in the colander to continue draining.
Now the cheese is ready to eat, or store in the fridge for later. Restaurant-style soft mozzarella curd cheese–that’s it! Easy!
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