This time I tried making mozzarella with raw milk from Cook Farm. It is a local dairy that serves ice cream (try the Inez–coconut with chocolate chips). You have to order the raw milk in advance. Interestingly, before I could order, they wanted to make sure I understood what I was ordering and made sure I knew the pros and cons of raw milk. Above is the Heirloom Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil salad I made with it. Since Hannah’s kids refer to Cook Farm as the Pooping Cows, for obvious reasons, I named the Mozzarella “Poopin’ Cows Mozzarella” and served it as part of a birthday dinner for my daughter-in-law Katie.
Anyway, I made mozzarella last Friday night with it. I used Ricki Carroll’s website recipe, which is a little different from the one we used in the class I took with her. A gallon of the raw milk mixed with 1 ½ tsp of citric acid and heated to 90. Stir in the quarter tablet of rennet mixed with filtered water, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. I went closer to 10 since the curds were pretty soft and the whey wasn’t a good yellow.
In class, we simply worked the curds at that point. On the website, she has you cut the curds and reheat to 105, stirring. The extra heating and stirring let the curds start stretching a little. When I ladled the curds into the bowl for heating, I was amazed at the yield. (I use her microwave method which has never failed.) Twice what I normally get, and even after draining the whey, I ended up with about two softball sized pieces instead of the usual one.
It stretched wonderfully. I tried to form balls, but it kept melting into flat pancakes. It would be the perfect texture for burrata–mozzarella stuffed with the mozzarella curds. We had some at Il Casale, which was also meltingly tender. Some other buratta we had in Seattle was much more firm and not as amazing. The key, I think, is to serve it that day. But I digress.
The taste was milky and pure. I had enough mozarella to form a sheet and roll some of the basil from our garden up into it. I made whey ricotta by adding additional milk (about a quart and a half of Cook’s regular milk—I was out of raw) and another tsp of citric acid and heating to 190. I drained the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. I used small binder clips to hold the cheesecloth in place since without them, it tends to float in the liquid curds and become a mess. After it drained, I twisted the cheesecloth into a ball around the ricotta, twisting it to firm up the cheese. I got a softball sized ball that I scooped into a fresh hot pasta salad I also served for the birthday party.
I am sold on raw milk mozzarella. Perhaps it was the technique, but from now on, I’ll use raw milk whenever I can. For taste if nothing else.
My only question is when the add the salt. Every recipe Ricki publishes calls for it, but neglects to mention when to add it. I’m thinking after the curds are ladled into the bowl so it won’t interfere with the curd formation. I’ll try that next time.