Say CHEESE!!!!!!

After months of researching and experimenting, I am finally happy with my mozzarella making process. So..... time to share! So, get ready for some easy to make yumminess, which will make you refuse store bought mozzarella. Now this is more complex than some methods I found (one celebrity chef's recipe for "home made mozzarella started with instructions to purchase curds from your local dairy. WTF???), but it is still stupid easy. You can do this without a microwave, by using a salted hot water bath to melt your curds.... but I am basically pretty lazy, and the microwave makes is quick and easy. So gather your supplies, and get ready for the goodness. You will need:

Heavy non-reactive pot (I use a lined cast iron dutch oven)
instant read thermometer
colander (I use a pasta pot insert) with a large bowl to catch the draining whey
1 gallon non-homogenized milk (also called cream-top, I purchase mine from a local creamery- they deliver!)
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp liquid rennet (I use vegetable rennet- do NOT use Junket brand tabs)
2 tsp cheese salt (fine grain, non-iodized salt. Any non-iodized salt really will work. Iodine will make your cheese green!)
Flat blade long enough to reach bottom of your pot. I use an icing spatula.
Microwave proof plate
ice bath

Mix citric acid with 1/4 cup of water and pour into pot. Add the milk, stir, and place over low heat, slowly bringing the milk to a temperature of 90 degrees. Remove from heat. Mix the rennet with remaining water, add to milk, and stir for about one minute. Cover, set aside, and let it rest for about 10 minutes
You now have curds! If you stick a clean finger into the curds, it will "break" over your finger, leaving the greenish whey visible. Using the knife, cut your cheese (**snort**) into a checkerboard pattern. Place the pot back over low heat, and bring the temp up to 110. Remove from heat, and gently pour into the colander.  Make sure to catch the whey as is drains as it is super high in protein, and can be used in baking, etc. It will keep for several days. Drain as much of the whey as you can.
Take a large handful of the curds, and place on a plate. Put it in the microwave for 55 seconds, or until melty.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Use the spoon to knead the hot curds, much like you were kneading bread. Once it cools and becomes more solid, drain off the excess whey, and return it to the microwave for a final 20 seconds. Knead it again until cool enough to handle. Pick it up and let it stretch out of your hand several times. Finally, gather it into a ball, and place it into the ice bath until fully chilled. Repeat with remaining curd.
That's it! So easy! Now go forth and make cheese!
 Ingredients gathered....
 citric acid slightly curdles the milk....
 Rennet makes it separate into curds and whey....
 Checking the temp- see the whey?
 drain away the whey-
 put the curds on a plate zap it
 melty goodness!
 work it with a spoon
 stretching is important before exercise.... and in making mozzarella!
polar bear plunge for da cheese!

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