Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

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Sarah Kirschbaum
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Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#1 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 7th, 2020, 9:32 am

We're not really bakers in this house, so while everyone else is making bread, we've decided to try our hands at making cheese.

We got a starter kit and basic coaching from the guy who used to make Valley Shepherd's amazing fresh mozz daily at the Reading Terminal, and we have 4 gallons of raw milk coming from a terrific local farm this afternoon.

Anyone been through this process? Any tips?
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#2 Post by T. Altmayer » May 7th, 2020, 12:07 pm

Never done Mozz, but we do Ricotta all the time and that could not be more simple. We spread that over nice bread (often homemade) with some roasted cherry tomatoes.

That being said, I would imagine Mozz would be a bit more time consuming and complicated. Would love to hear how it goes!
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#3 Post by Lee Short » May 7th, 2020, 12:29 pm

I have, but only a couple of times, and it's been a few years. My biggest tip is to have a large bowl of ice water on the counter to cool your hands. And have 2 people ready to pull, because then you can take turns pulling the hot cheese. We used silicone kitchen mitts to pull the cheese -- we should have had some insulation inside them, they didn't seem to insulate much once they heated up.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#4 Post by Chris Blum » May 7th, 2020, 12:44 pm

I’ve tried and failed.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#5 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 7th, 2020, 1:10 pm

Lee Short wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 12:29 pm
I have, but only a couple of times, and it's been a few years. My biggest tip is to have a large bowl of ice water on the counter to cool your hands. And have 2 people ready to pull, because then you can take turns pulling the hot cheese. We used silicone kitchen mitts to pull the cheese -- we should have had some insulation inside them, they didn't seem to insulate much once they heated up.
Thanks, Lee. That sounds like great advice.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#6 Post by Adam Noble » May 7th, 2020, 2:47 pm

I have but it’s been years. Also from a kit. The most important thing is ultra pasteurized milk won’t work. You’ll end up with ricotta, which isn’t bad but it’s not mozzarella.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#7 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 7th, 2020, 3:04 pm

Adam Noble wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 2:47 pm
I have but it’s been years. Also from a kit. The most important thing is ultra pasteurized milk won’t work. You’ll end up with ricotta, which isn’t bad but it’s not mozzarella.
Yep - we have raw milk.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#8 Post by Peter Metzger » May 7th, 2020, 8:10 pm

The mozzarella in our neighborhood (Carroll Gardens) is too good to pass up and readily available. Good luck though.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#9 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 8th, 2020, 4:54 am

Peter Metzger wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 8:10 pm
The mozzarella in our neighborhood (Carroll Gardens) is too good to pass up and readily available. Good luck though.
Oh sure - I can easily get excellent mozzarella here in Philly, too, made daily.

What I can't get, since Valley Shepherd closed, though, is fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated. It has a subtle texture difference before it contracts in the fridge that I adore, and which it never regains even after coming back up to room temp. I got to love that "alive" feeling when I could get it that way at Valley Shepherd if I came in before a certain time.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#10 Post by mattcitrang » May 8th, 2020, 5:11 am

Do any of these places make mozzarella from scratch?

Most commercial establishments use ready made curd for their mozzarella.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#11 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 8th, 2020, 6:16 am

mattcitrang wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 5:11 am
Do any of these places make mozzarella from scratch?

Most commercial establishments use ready made curd for their mozzarella.
To my knowledge, any commercial operation not linked to a dairy will use curd. I'm sure there are some exceptions somewhere.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#12 Post by ybarselah » May 8th, 2020, 8:27 am

it's actually pretty easy and as you can imagine, if you're using great milk which you are, the results are sublime.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/10/how ... ratch.html
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#13 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 8th, 2020, 9:04 am

ybarselah wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 8:27 am
it's actually pretty easy and as you can imagine, if you're using great milk which you are, the results are sublime.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/10/how ... ratch.html
Good article, especially the link to an explanation of why mozz that's never been refrigerated is better. I once did a blind test with the guys in my office and they were shocked by the difference.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#14 Post by alan weinberg » May 8th, 2020, 3:38 pm

never would have o-curd to me to try. Looks whey too hard. Let us know how it comes out and we need pictures.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#15 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 8th, 2020, 5:28 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 3:38 pm
Let us know how it comes out and we need pictures.
I have too many old Jewish relatives to repost the puns...

Here's our first attempt. While the process is technically easy, it's clear it will take a lot of practice and temperature /stirring tweaking to get the texture exactly right. Our first attempt was a little dry and dense, not silky. We used a gallon of the milk, so have 3 more batches in the next few days.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#16 Post by alan weinberg » May 8th, 2020, 8:41 pm

Outstanding. Japanese plate?

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#17 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 9th, 2020, 4:15 am

alan weinberg wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 8:41 pm
Outstanding. Japanese plate?
Thanks! Yes, these are from Nagoya, purchased when Jonathan was a poor student/chef there and just getting into pottery. We work with much more serious artists now, but still love these early acquisitions.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#18 Post by alan weinberg » May 9th, 2020, 8:22 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 4:15 am
alan weinberg wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 8:41 pm
Outstanding. Japanese plate?
Thanks! Yes, these are from Nagoya, purchased when Jonathan was a poor student/chef there and just getting into pottery. We work with much more serious artists now, but still love these early acquisitions.
would love to see a thread of some of your pottery.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#19 Post by Paul Jaouen » May 9th, 2020, 9:14 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 4:54 am
Peter Metzger wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 8:10 pm
The mozzarella in our neighborhood (Carroll Gardens) is too good to pass up and readily available. Good luck though.
Oh sure - I can easily get excellent mozzarella here in Philly, too, made daily.

What I can't get, since Valley Shepherd closed, though, is fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated. It has a subtle texture difference before it contracts in the fridge that I adore, and which it never regains even after coming back up to room temp. I got to love that "alive" feeling when I could get it that way at Valley Shepherd if I came in before a certain time.
I don't know if we are talking about the same Valley Shepherd but the one I know in Long Valley is open.

I used to think fresh mozzarella sucked but that was because I had only had the refrigerated versions. I have an Italian place down the street from me that makes it daily and never refrigerates it. Really good stuff!
Best,
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#20 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 9th, 2020, 10:01 am

Paul Jaouen wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 9:14 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 4:54 am
Peter Metzger wrote:
May 7th, 2020, 8:10 pm
The mozzarella in our neighborhood (Carroll Gardens) is too good to pass up and readily available. Good luck though.
Oh sure - I can easily get excellent mozzarella here in Philly, too, made daily.

What I can't get, since Valley Shepherd closed, though, is fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated. It has a subtle texture difference before it contracts in the fridge that I adore, and which it never regains even after coming back up to room temp. I got to love that "alive" feeling when I could get it that way at Valley Shepherd if I came in before a certain time.
I don't know if we are talking about the same Valley Shepherd but the one I know in Long Valley is open.
Same operation, different location. I'm talking about the one in the Reading Terminal (see my OP), which closed a while ago.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#21 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 9th, 2020, 11:23 am

alan weinberg wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 8:22 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 4:15 am
alan weinberg wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 8:41 pm
Outstanding. Japanese plate?
Thanks! Yes, these are from Nagoya, purchased when Jonathan was a poor student/chef there and just getting into pottery. We work with much more serious artists now, but still love these early acquisitions.
would love to see a thread of some of your pottery.
Let's see what I can do. Appreciate the interest! I post pictures occasionally on Instagram, but don't have them all in one place. The insurance company has been on me to put together a book with pictures and details of the significant pieces, so maybe this is a good time to do that.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#22 Post by alan weinberg » May 9th, 2020, 2:20 pm

we did a thread once on what else one collects. I showed my artisan turned bowls, Tom Reddick some antique quilts, lots of interesting hobbies.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#23 Post by Paul Jaouen » May 10th, 2020, 7:35 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 10:01 am
Paul Jaouen wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 9:14 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 4:54 am


Oh sure - I can easily get excellent mozzarella here in Philly, too, made daily.

What I can't get, since Valley Shepherd closed, though, is fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated. It has a subtle texture difference before it contracts in the fridge that I adore, and which it never regains even after coming back up to room temp. I got to love that "alive" feeling when I could get it that way at Valley Shepherd if I came in before a certain time.
I don't know if we are talking about the same Valley Shepherd but the one I know in Long Valley is open.
Same operation, different location. I'm talking about the one in the Reading Terminal (see my OP), which closed a while ago.
Hah! I didn't see that. I just got back from one of our local farmers markets where they have a stand. Really didn't need any cheese today but I was glad to see they were there.
Best,
Paul Jaouen

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#24 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 14th, 2020, 5:02 am

So my update after another two batches is that, while something that looks and mostly tastes like a ball of mozzarella is very easy to make, something that tastes and feels like great mozzarella is decidedly NOT easy to make. I guess sort of like anyone can throw together the ingredients for sourdough bread and get something that looks like a loaf and tastes pretty good, but getting the chew/crub/crust/tang all right is an art.

We've watched dozens of videos, read dozens more instructions, tweaked temperature and process here and there, and each successive ball has been better than the last. We're still not there yet, though. We think it's possible our rennet is too old (the kit was ancient) since we know the milk is superb, so we've ordered new rennet for the last two gallons. I've been nicking a few tablespoons of the milk for my coffee in the meantime. :)
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#25 Post by ClarkstonMark » May 14th, 2020, 6:22 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 5:02 am
So my update after another two batches is that, while something that looks and mostly tastes like a ball of mozzarella is very easy to make, something that tastes and feels like great mozzarella is decidedly NOT easy to make.
That, in a nutshell, is why I do not see myself ever attempting what you are. I just don't think i have the patience for it either.
And I do not have access (or haven't found it yet) to the level of fresh mozzarella you have where I live in suburban Detroit.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#26 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 14th, 2020, 6:37 am

ClarkstonMark wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:22 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 5:02 am
So my update after another two batches is that, while something that looks and mostly tastes like a ball of mozzarella is very easy to make, something that tastes and feels like great mozzarella is decidedly NOT easy to make.
That, in a nutshell, is why I do not see myself ever attempting what you are. I just don't think i have the patience for it either.
And I do not have access (or haven't found it yet) to the level of fresh mozzarella you have where I live in suburban Detroit.
It's a fun project during SIP, and even the worst batch was very tasty. I am sure we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't have access to the exquisite raw milk we can get here in PA. There's just no point unless you can get great milk.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#27 Post by alan weinberg » May 14th, 2020, 6:55 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 5:02 am
So my update after another two batches is that, while something that looks and mostly tastes like a ball of mozzarella is very easy to make, something that tastes and feels like great mozzarella is decidedly NOT easy to make. I guess sort of like anyone can throw together the ingredients for sourdough bread and get something that looks like a loaf and tastes pretty good, but getting the chew/crub/crust/tang all right is an art.

We've watched dozens of videos, read dozens more instructions, tweaked temperature and process here and there, and each successive ball has been better than the last. We're still not there yet, though. We think it's possible our rennet is too old (the kit was ancient) since we know the milk is superb, so we've ordered new rennet for the last two gallons. I've been nicking a few tablespoons of the milk for my coffee in the meantime. :)
keep trying. It’ll click eventually.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#28 Post by alan weinberg » May 25th, 2020, 3:16 pm

update.

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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#29 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 26th, 2020, 6:39 am

alan weinberg wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 3:16 pm
update.
Nothing past the last post. It's easy to get something edible, really hard to get something good. Never got anything like the results we wanted. Might try again someday, but my advice is don't bother.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#30 Post by Chris Blum » May 26th, 2020, 10:22 am

Yeah that was kinda our experience. I think it’s one of those things that you need the light to come one before you can figure out why things are working or not. I’m taking another stab this week
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#31 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » May 26th, 2020, 10:57 am

Relatively good access to fresh made mutz and lack of patience also puts me in the "wouldn't make my own" camp.
My real awakening to the importance of fresh made came during my trip to Campania in 2016. We were at two separate buffalo farms, including Vannulo. Mind Blown. The milk went almost straight from the buffalo to the cheese room, and we tasted samples right out of the vats. The refrigerated stuff wasn't even close.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#32 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 27th, 2020, 4:46 am

Chris Blum wrote:
May 26th, 2020, 10:22 am
Yeah that was kinda our experience. I think it’s one of those things that you need the light to come one before you can figure out why things are working or not. I’m taking another stab this week
Good luck, Chris. We tried so many different tweaks and approaches, and because the milk was outstanding, pretty much every batch tasted good. The only thing we can think kept going wrong with the texture is that our rennet may have been old since the kit we used had been sitting on the shelf for a while. We may try again with new rennet when tomatoes are in season.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#33 Post by Chris Blum » May 27th, 2020, 6:07 am

Thanks, Sarah. We ordered fresh rennet from a place in Wisconsin so I hope to eliminate that as a bad input.

It didn’t come as fast as I’d planned so no I’m using *whole* milk in my morning latte. 😁
"Well, wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit" -- Lucille Bluth
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#34 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 27th, 2020, 6:21 am

Chris Blum wrote:
May 27th, 2020, 6:07 am
Thanks, Sarah. We ordered fresh rennet from a place in Wisconsin so I hope to eliminate that as a bad input.

It didn’t come as fast as I’d planned so no I’m using *whole* milk in my morning latte. 😁
I stole some of the whole, raw, unhomogenized milk for my coffee, too. Tasted fantastic, and I only use 1/2T or so.
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Re: Has Anyone Made Mozzarella?

#35 Post by Chris Blum » May 27th, 2020, 2:08 pm

yeah, reminds me of being a kid and drinking milk out of the bulk tank at my Uncle's farm. It'd settle if you left it in the fridge so we'd have to shake it up.
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