I have been making Mozzarella for five years now! Boy does time fly! I started thinking about the little things that I have learned over the years that have helped improve my Mozzarella and thought maybe I should share that with my readers.
First, I learned that milk straight from the cow makes the best tasting Mozzarella. Something about that milk that has never been refrigerated just brings out the best flavor in the Mozz. However, I found that the temp of the milk being around 100 degrees when it comes out of the cow, just did not lend itself to adequate absorption of the citric acid that makes the Mozzarella stretch. I make my Mozz in four gallon batches. (I have been told it can't be done that way, but no one told me that until I had been doing it for years that way. ;-)
So, the first thing I do is pour three gallons of milk into my big, sterilized, stainless steel pot and then I add the secret ingredient. What is the secret ingredient? Don't tell anyone, but it's yogurt. How much yogurt? That's a good question since I am one of those cooks who just "dumps" in what looks good. I would say I probably use about a quart to a four gallon batch. I then let the warm milk and yogurt incubate for a while. How long you ask? That's a good question! It depends on what I am doing, how many times I get distracted, and what kind of mood I am in! I would say to let it set for at least an hour.
Right before I get ready to make the Mozzarella, I take a gallon of cold milk from the refrigerator that has had the cream skimmed off and pour that into the pot with the warm milk. This seems to bring the temp of the milk down enough that the citric acid disolves better. (Or maybe it's all my imagination, but as long as it works, I am going to keep doing it this way!)
I then proceed with the recipe and directions that are given in my previous post about making Mozzarella.
One other tip, for tweaking the Mozz: Put your Mozzarella in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then transfer to the frig. Cooling it down quickly helps give it a smooth, creamy texture.
And here is a side note: Did you know that what the cows are eating will affect the taste of the cheese? The best cheese comes from cows that are on green grass. I can tell a big difference between the cheese I make in the summer when we have a good stand of grass and in the winter when we are feeding hay. I can also tell a difference when we feed more Alfala vs. Timothy or Orchard Grass Hay. Some Artisan cheese makers only make their cheese during the specific time of the year when the cows are eating a specific type of feed. (ie: grass)
Enjoy your Mozzarella and let me know if you try any of these tips and if it makes a difference in your cheese!