Originally Posted by dok9874
I used the citric acid from the canning section also with mixed results, but I noticed that it has added ingredients - it's not pure citric acid. I've tried regular store bought milk, organic pasteurized (but not homogenized - it still had cream on the top), combos of powdered milk + cream + regular milk, microwave heating vs. heating in a water batch, tried extra rennet, and I've yet to get a decent result. I've either gotten ricotta, rubber, or nothing. I also purchased some "pure" citric acid on Amazon, and the attempt using that was actually the worst results, but I think I may have forgotten to half the CA as I was only using 1 gallon of milk.
I have some lovely homegrown tomatoes that I'd love to pair with some homemade mozzarella, but I'm about giving up on mozzarella at this point and trying some other cheeses instead.
Here are a few questions I have for you.
1) Do you have a decent thermometer, one that you can safely rely on?
2) Are you using vegetable rennet?
3) Are you using whole milk?
4) What recipe are you using?
5) What temps are you heating the milk to?
6) Is the water you're using chlorinated?
7) Are you using a nonreactive pot?
After getting a little more mozzarella making experience under my belt, I can safely say the milk is the most crucial part of making mozz. Organic milk, to my understanding, is typically least favored because they generally pasteurize either at a) higher temperatures or b) for longer time periods, rendering it more difficult to make good mozzarella with. I have found that local milk is the best(though there are still some local milks that just don't form good curd) so experiment with different ones. Your "big box" store brands are not very good for mozz making for the same reasons that organic milk is not very suitable for making mozz...higher heat/longer times.
I know it seems silly, but ever since I started stirring in the rennet with an "up and down motion" I have been able to consistently get a "custard-like" curd formation within 5 minutes. I use to NEVER get this consistency before!
A good way to get a nonrubbery mozz is not to overstretch your cheese. I like to heat it to an internal temp of at least 135, pick it up and let it fall into my other hand. Then I lightly stretch it a few times, knead it and put it in just below room temp water.
The new recipe I use is:
1.5 tsp of citric acid
1/4 tab of rennet
1 gallon of milk
Put your citric acid in your pot and pour a 1/4 of water over it, dissolve. Pour milk over citric acid(I like to use milk that's between 50 and 60 degrees for this stage). Stir well and bring it to 90 degrees over the course of about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring on occasion.
Dissolve the 1/4 tab of rennet in a 1 cup of water. Once milk reaches 90, remove from burner and stir in your rennet for 30 seconds with the "up and down" motion. Use your stir spoon to stop the circulating milk and cover. Check curd formation after 5 minutes. If it's custard-like and gives you a "clean break", then cut one inch cubes into the curd. If there is no clean break or it's not custard-like, don't sweat it. Just cover and give it another 5 minutes and see if it's ready then. Let the cut curd rest for 5 minutes undisturbed!
Over the course of about 10 to 15 minutes, bring pot up to 105 degrees..no higher then 110. Once curd has reached desired temperature, drain and begin working the mozz.
^Once cubed, it's tough to get an accurate temperature for me. Seriously, it will bounce around a lot because I think there are a lot of heat pockets between curds. The best way to combat this is to use an appropriate sized pot, and as it is getting close to the desired temperature, slowly and constantly stir it to distribute heat. Try to keep the curds intact if you can!
Hope this helps