Mozzarella is one of my favorite cheeses to make, in part because it’s ready on the same day. It takes a few tries to get right, but fortunately we make it quite a lot since we got Melody, and even more since I’ve been on furlough. Today we are making it into string cheese for snacks.
Stretching it one way.
We start with milk from Melody, but it should work well enough from a different cow or a store or a yak or a water buffalo or a friend.
We cool the milk to ninety degrees or so, and add some fresh yogurt. It sits for an hour or so until the milk has a nice yogurt fragrance. Some of the lactose has been broken down into lactic acid, which is why this recipe doesn’t use citric acid, and why the resulting string cheese tastes so good, and why it is incidentally lower in lactose for anyone who’s counting. Some rennet (according to the instructions on the rennet, not the instructions on a recipe) goes in, and it sits for another hour.
Now we cut the curds into half inch cubes and let them settle. We slowly warm them up to about a hundred degrees, stirring so the curds stick don’t stick together. We drain the whey and return them to the hundred degree heat from whence they came for around three hours. At the end of this part of the process, we have a nice, fragrant mass of curd.
And the other.
The curd mass gets cut up into cubes and dumped into a big mixing bowl. The cut up curds have hot (160 or 170 degree) water poured over them, after which we smoosh them together with wooden spoons or salad tongs or spatulas, depending on what we’ve got handy. Then we streeeeeeeeeetch and fold, stretch and fold, stretch and fold. This part looks fun, in no small part because it’s fun. Also, since I’ve been asked a few times how far this would stretch, I counted this time. I folded it twenty-nine times, and stretched it fourteen inches each time, which means, by my count, that the curds are somewhere in the range of a hundred thousand miles long, or enough to circle the planet about four times.
At this point we stretch out a long rope, cut the rope into lengths, and dump the pieces into a bowl of icewater for a few minutes, followed by a bowl of saltwater for a couple hours:
Marinate on that during furlough.
Our yummy string cheese is now ready to eat, just like storebought except without all that hassle of, y’know, going to the store.