9:58:00 PM
As a part of my continued learning cheese has been the one thing that I love to work on whenever I can. About three weeks ago I did my first attempt at the "30 minute" mozzarella. I completed the first two phases, created and cut the curds, and started the process of microwaving to get the curds to stretch and followed the instruction to the letter.... But that last 35 seconds in the microwave was just too much and turned my beautiful shiny and almost there mozzarella to one pound of ricotta. Yes, 35 seconds of extra heat destroyed my batch of cheese. The ricotta was good as well, but I was so looking forward to my balls of mozzarella.

Cindy Ratcliffe, a new follower on Facebook, was having problems making the same recipe but couldn't get the curds to form. She was looking for some help and I knew exactly how to get her beyond the curds and give her some great tips about the final stage. I was truly excited to see if her third try would make a difference following my instructions. A couple of hours ago I received a picture of Cindy's third and fourth attempt. Ricotta and Mozzarella! 

Cindy's Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese

Here are the instructions for making this super easy cheese in 30 minutes! The recipe does have some adaptations which will be highlighted in red! Thank you Cindy for sharing the picture with me!

30 Minute Mozzarella 

1/4 rennet tablet (you can also use liquid vegetable rennet - use 1/4 t. of the liquid)
For rennet tablet: 1/4 cup cool, chlorine-free water (using distilled water is best)
1 gallon milk whole milk (homogenized not ultra pasteurized)* (2%, 1%, or skim will not yield as much and will be dryer)
1 1/2 level teaspoon citric acid (this is a powder and is also used in canning to preserve color in fruit)
For Citric acid: 1/2 cup cool, chlorine-free water (using distilled water is best)
Salt, optional

Equipment Needed: Slotted Spoon, Thermometer, pot
* Usually Organic milk is Ultra Pastuerized 

Crush the rennet (or add the liquid) into the water and stir to dissolve.  Pour milk into a non-reactive pot (no aluminum or cast iron). Place over medium heat. Once the milk gets to 55 degrees pour the citric acid dissolved in water over the milk and stir a few times.

Continue to heat the milk to 90 degrees F, stirring constantly. Milk will begin to curdle.
Milk is at 90 degrees
Next I lay a large towel on the counter after I got the milk to 90 degrees. This keeps the pot warm while the curds are forming.
I move the pot onto the towel and add in the dissolved rennet. Key to the rennet is to mix with bottled or distilled water. The chlorine in the water will kill the rennet ability to culture.

Stir in the rennet using a "up and down" motion for about 30 seconds. Cover the pot and let the milk set undisturbed for about 5 minutes. (I then cover everything with the towel)
Cut curd one direction with a long knife

Large curd will appear and begin to separate from the whey (the clear, greenish liquid). If the milk does not look like custard texture let set a few more minutes.

Cut the curds with a knife that reaches all the way to the bottom of your pot. 
Curds cut now in cubes.
Greenish color liquid is whey.
 White is curd.

Cutting the curds is taking the knife and slowly making passes from the top to the bottom of the pot in one direction like you are making a "tic tac toe" board and then making passes the other direction to make a cube pattern. Now taking the long knife cut the curd at an angle so you make the cubes smaller. After you are done, let it rest for a minute.

Place the pot back on the stove and heat the curds to 105 degrees F, gently moving the curds around with your spoon. Remove from the heat and continue to stir slowly for 2 to 5 minutes. When you do this you are releasing some additional  whey out of the curds and you are keeping your curds firm which also helps the cheese.

Removing curds with
 slotted spoon
With a slotted spoon, scoop the curd into a microwaveable or large glass bowl. Press the curds gently with your hand or spoon and pour off as much whey as possible. You should pour the excess whey back into the pot to use for ricotta or save to use for bread making.

Microwave for one minute
and press out more whey.
Microwave curds on high for 1 minute, then drain off all the excess whey. With a spoon or your hands with rubber gloves, press curds and fold them over themselves releasing more whey.  Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each, (two more times was too much and the curds turned to ricotta, do this once!) and continue to drain the whey and work cheese into a ball.

To make Ricotta with the left over whey: Place the whey over medium heat and let it heat to about 200 degrees F. For complete directions see Ricotta recipe coming soon!

When cheese is cool enough to touch, knead it like bread dough until smooth. When you can stretch it like taffy, it is done. You can sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons salt into the cheese while kneading and stretching it. The cheese will become stretchy, smooth and shiny. If it is difficult to stretch and breaks easily, dip it into the hot whey for a few seconds to make it warm and pliable. Then pick it up again and stretch it into a long rope. Fold over and stretch again. Dip in hot whey as needed to make the cheese pliable.

When the cheese is smooth and shiny (this takes just a few minutes), it is ready to eat. Shape it into a log or golf-size balls, then store in a solution of 2 teaspoons salt to 1 cup water.

Note: Citric acid and Rennet are available through mail order, some pharmacies or health food stores.

Yield: about 3/4 - 1 pound

Here is the comment from Cindy about her experience:
I DID IT!! The 1st batch I did this morning did not result in mozzarella cheese but we did salvage it & now I can say I have made my 1st batch of ricotta! Delicious! I, um, did not listen to you and reheated it 1 too many times at the 35 second intervals! :( But, on the bright side, we have homemade ricotta!
The 2nd batch this morning resulted in beautiful mozzarella cheese! I did follow your directions this time! Now trying to turn the whey into ricotta following a recipe found online. Hope this turns out too! Thanks for your help! My husband and I had a good time! Will be making more thanks to you! :)

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