Jed is what I like to call a farmers foodie. You won’t catch him waxing lyrical about the nutty Edam cheese notes in a chardonnay but spend a couple of hours with Jed and you might be lucky enough to extract a few nuggets of wisdom on vege gardening, composting, or his new favourite local restaurant which will likely be everyone’s favourite in a couple of months. And I’ve never heard him utter the word’s “rustic” or “low food miles” but he does like to quietly position himself as close to the origin of foods as he can, shopping at the Otara markets, making his own sausages and even experimenting with growing his own wheat for bread.
His latest project? Mozzarella. Cheese making is a daunting task for most but Mozzarella is a 2 hour affair, you don’t need a damp cave and 18 months of self-control. We made it after work one evening with cow’s milk and served it up with some basil sprigs – I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted anything fresher. Bravo Jed, all that’s left to do is to wrangle an Italian water buffalo for some added authenticity. This is his first recipe, hopefully he can pry himslef away from his garden long enough to share a few more with us in the future.
Makes about 400g
- 4L non-homogenized milk (or full fat if not available)
- 2 ml calcium chloride
- 2 tsp citric acid
- 1 tablet rennet
- Water as needed
- Salt as needed
- Ice as needed
- Thermometer (ideally one that clips to the side of the pot)
- Large pot (with lid)
- Large sharp knife
- Pipette or measuring spoons (for the calcium chloride)
- Cheese or Muslin cloth
- Cheese ladle or slotted spoon
- Rubber gloves
- Thoroughly clean and sterilise all equipment before use.
- Creating the curd
- 1. Pour milk into the large pot, attach the thermometer to the side so it is measuring the middle of the milk temperature. Add Calcium chloride and stir. In a separate cup, mix citric acid to ¼ cup water. Add this into the large pot and stir. Heat milk slowly to 32°C.
- 2. In a separate cup, add 1 tablet of rennet to ¼ cup of water. Add this into the large pot and stir. Hold it at 32°C for 25mins (you may be able to turn off the heat with the lid on).
- Cutting the curd
- 3. Using the large knife, cut the curd into 3cm cubes (run the knife in parallel cuts 3cm apart, then perpendicular, then angled). Heat the curd up to 42°C. Using the scoop into a muslin lined colander using a slotted spoon. Drain excess whey into a container then return it to the pot.
- Stretching and shaping
- 4. This part turns the cheese from curd into stretchy mozzarella balls. Increase the whey temperature (left overs in the large pot or use new water) temperature up to ~70°C. This will involve handling really hot cheese so with gloves on, place a handful of cheese onto the cheese ladle, and dunk into the hot whey mixture until it starts to soften/melt, about 30 seconds.
- 5. Remove from the ladle and squeeze excess moisture from the cheese, these start trying to stretch it by pulling from each end of the ball. Repeat 2-3 times to get it really glossy and stretchy. Once ready squeeze it into a ball through closed index & thumb, and put it into a salted ice bath. Repeat until all the cheese is turned into balls.
- Serve or store
- 6. Slice thinly and serve immediately with tomato and basil. If storing, strain the whey and add one tablespoon of salt for every cup of whey. Store the mozzarella balls in some of the strained cooled whey salt mixture for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.