I like seeing how far back up the food production chain I can go. A pizza recipe may start with a ball of dough, pizza sauce, and mozzarella, but I don’t just want to make the pizza, I want to know how to make the ball of dough, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
I’m not sure it ever occurred to me I could make cheese until I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which led me to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, where I got the ingredients and recipe and learned how easy it is to make mozzarella.
Mozzarella only requires four ingredients, milk, citric acid, rennet, and salt. Of course you can use fresh milk, but whole milk from the grocery store will work too, as long as it’s not ultra-pasteurized.
The process is fairly quick. Heat up the milk with the citric acid, add the rennet, and let it stand. It firms up, and you cut the milk into this cool checkerboard pattern.
The next steps are all about separating the curds from the whey (yep, curds and whey, finally they are more than a nursery rhyme!).
Heating and straining leaves you with a clump of curds which you now heat and strain.
After two go-rounds of heating and straining, you can now pull and knead your cheese, adding the salt, until it forms a lovely, smooth ball of mozzarella.
And all without the benefit of a factory (thanks to Roger Lathbury, who inspired this post)! Find the exact recipe and ingredients at the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.