Making Soft Mozzarella Question.....
I am using the book Home Cheesemaking by Ricki Carroll, and did two batches of the 30 minute Mozzarella. The first was a little to firm for our tastes but was all in all very yummy though. I made a second batch and felt I was over stirring the curds when reheating them and wouldn't knead it as much during the microwave process. It was not as firm but still not soft.
After adding the rennet in both cases I had waited 10 total minutes for the curds to set and also felt that I wouldn't wait as long thinking that would keep them from getting too firm. I also planned not stirring the curds (as I read stirring them can break them up too much), as well as not over kneading them during the mircowaving.
So, I added the rennet and waiting 7 minutes as opposed to the 10 minutes I had in the previous two batches. I cut the curd and put the pot back on the heat to raise it to 105. For some reason the temperature zoomed up to 105 which I usually had a slow raise in the temp.
When I went to scoop out the curds there was very little whey and the curd went nearly to the bottom of the pot, which it hadn't done before so I am not sure which is the way it should be.
The curds were very soft and it took a lot more time to scoop them out and trying to pour off the whey. So there was a lot of cooling time here that there hadn't been in the previous two makings.
Finally it got into the microwave and it was much much more curds then the previous times.
It took 1-1 minute mircowaving and three 35 minutes microwavings to get stretching and shiny in the previous two batches.
We poured of whey, and mircowaaved perhaps 10 times to get the curd to get feeling right but they never got stretchy and the internal temp was about 155 degrees not the 145 recommended.
We took them out and molded them into balls, which was fine in flavor but was a bit gritty in texture and not soft, but not overly firm either.
So, was the rapid temperature rise the culprit? Did the cooling off curing the scooping of the curds, or should the curds still have set longer? Or.......
Anything you might consider to helping my make this cheese softer would be appreciated.