We think the best recipes are those passed down through generations, where years of love, trial and happy mistakes have perfected the process that make food so great!
When it comes to enjoying olive oil and balsamic vinegar, one of our favorite foods to enjoy dipping, drizzling and dunking with is mozzarella; and it just so happens our Grandma has shared her recipe.
This recipe is a BLAST to do with the kids – but heads up, while just a few ingredients and 30 minutes of your day will probably turn a passion for dairy into an addiction, first-time-cheese makers can have a tough go of it if you don’t get the measurements exact. So don’t feel downtrodden if try one doesn’t work.
Grandma’s Mozzarella Recipe:
Along with the ingredients below, you’ll need—
- A thermometer
- A colander
- A medium-sized bowl
- A large (needs to hold 6 quarts comfortably) size cooking pots
- Two small bowls
- Rubber gloves
- 1 gal. Fresh milk. While Grandma’s recipe calls for raw milk, it’s not for everyone. She insists everyone tries goats milk mozzarella at least once in their life, as it’s her favorite. But a gallon of cow’s milk is just as great. Remember, it cannot be ultra-pasteurized and it must be whole milk.
- 2 tbs. Kosher Salt. There are many different types of salt, and contrary to popular belief, not all salts are the same. Double check it’s non-iodized salt.)
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Liquid Rennet (Grandma’s recipe says liquid but we say whatever’s easiest to find – if you find tablets, just use 1/4 of a tablet)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Citric Acid
What to do—
- Start with patience, if you move the process too fast you can end up with crumbly mozzarella.
- Mix 1/2 a cup of water and citric acid in one of the bowls.
- Mix 1/4 cup of water and the rennet in the other bowl. Just a heads up, rennet can be tough to find in your typical grocery store.
- Pour your citric acid – water mix into your cooking pot, along with all your milk. Then turn the stove on medium heat.
- Stir slowly and take it off the burner once it reaches 32ºC/90ºF.
- Add the rennet mixture at this moment, slowly stir it a few times & then cover the pot with a lid. (A note on stirring – we encourage an “up and down” motion rather than a “swirl around” motion – you both want to mix while also not rapidly moving the milk).
- Let sit for 5 minutes. When you take the lid off, try cutting the mixture with a knife – if it’s rigid enough to hold a line through it, then it’s ready. If there is too much liquid for that action, set the lid on for another five minutes.
- Whether it’s ready at 5 minutes or 10, when your milk is holding that slice, go ahead and cut a grid into the mixture (there will still be liquid in there) – now you have curds.
- Turn the heat back on and bring the cheese to 106ºF. Slowly stir the curds, during this time, so they break as little as possible.
- Remove the pot from the heat as soon as the cheese reaches 106ºF. Continue to stir the curds for another 5 minutes while the curds separate from the whey.
- Line your colander with a cheese cloth and scoop the cheese curds into the cheesecloth to drain. Capture at least some of the whey, as you will use this in the next step for shaping the mozzarella.
- Fill up the medium sized bowl with the heated whey you just drained from the cheese. You’ll want it around 170ºF (this is where the gloves come in.)
- Squeeze the cheese in the cloth then place the curds into the heated liquid and check while they reach an internal temperature of 135ºF.
- Once this temperature is reached, remove the curds and sprinkle with salt before you stretch the cheese like taffy. Grandma calls for 6 large folds & says don’t panic if it comes apart, just place them back in the hot liquid and wait for them to firm up again.
- Allow the mozzarella to cool before you store it. Rarely does it make it into the fridge in our house (nothing is better than fresh mozzarella) but sometimes we have enough self control to fill a container with olive oil and fresh herbs to keep it in.
What we love to drizzle over top—