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April 10, 2023
Additional tools needed: cheesecloth and a thermometer
Mix the tartaric acid with 1 cup filtered water and add to the cold milk. Add the mixture to a clean 8+ quart sterilized pot set over medium heat. Bring to exactly 88°F, while stirring frequently. Mix the rennet with the remaining ¼ cup of cool water and add to the heated milk. Stir continuously for another minute. Remove from heat and allow the curds to sit, undisturbed, for 15 minutes, until set to the consistency of soft jello. Use a long knife that reaches to the bottom of the pot and cut a 1" cross-hatch pattern in the curds.
Line a large colander with cheesecloth and gently ladle the curds in to it. If desired, you can retain the liquid whey and use it for making baking bread, milkshakes, or just drinking as it is very nutritious and delicious.Once the curds have drained for 2 minutes, place them in a microwave-proof bowl and heat them for 30 seconds. They will be very hot, so you may want to use gloves at this stage. Salt the curds with sea salt and then knead them until a smooth mass begins to form. Drain off any extra whey that the curds give off, and repeat the heating one or two more times ,until you have formed a shiny smooth ball of mozzarella.
Place this ball (approximately 1 pound) into a bowl of cold lightly salted water until completely cool and then it will be ready to use immediately. If not using right away, store it submerged and refrigerated in lightly-salted water in a sealed container. Use within four days . . . although fresher is better!
When you are ready for salad, arrange sliced tomatoes on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk the balsamic and extra virgin olive oil together. Place a slice of mozzarella on each slice of tomato and sprinkle with basil chiffonade. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.
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