Whole Goat Milk Mozzerella Cheese might be my new favorite food. Oh my goodness, it tastes exactly like high quality mozzerella, only CREAMIER! It can be grated, melted, or sliced and eaten fresh (YUM!). I'm getting two gallons of milk a day right now from Josie and Amelia, so I've been making mozzerella about every other day. It only takes about an hour to make, plus half an hour to cool in ice water. That's FAST cheese! And I gotta be honest, it's fun (you get to stretch the cheese out like taffy)! And so rewarding. Yes, I totally get a kick out of making cheese for my family. It's my favorite goat cheese I've eaten or made. The whole family loves it, and all our friends we've shared it with have loved it as well.
2 gallons whole goat milk
1 Tablespoon citric acid
1/2 tsp rennet (I use liquid rennet because it's super easy, but if you have rennet tablets, you can use those)
1/2 Cup cool water
1/2 Cup salt (NON-Iodized, AKA Pickling Salt)
2 tsp flake salt (AKA cheese salt), divided
So, yeah, citric acid, rennet, and flake salt aren't typical household ingredients, but they're rather inexpensive, and once you have them on hand, they last a long, long time.
Start with your milk in a big pot. If it's fresh from the goat, let it cool a bit. If you've had it in the fridge, warm it up a bit. When it's between about 55 and 65 degrees, slowly pour in the citric acid while stirring. Getting your milk to the right acidity level is an important first step.
Warm the milk up on Med-High setting to 90 degrees, stirring frequently. When you get to 90, turn off the heat, and take out both your spoon and your thermometer. Wait a minute or two for the milk stop swirling around. This is important because your next step is to add the rennet, which will separate the curds from the whey. This can't be done if the milk is swirling round and round.
Pour the 1/2 tsp rennet into the 1/2 Cup cool water, then pour both into your 90 degree milk. Dip your stirring spoon up and down in the milk SLOWLY about 10-15 times, and the pull it out (don't swirl it around!). Put a lid on your pot and set a timer for 10 minutes. Don't touch the milk anymore!
While you're waiting for your curds and whey to set up, get a bowl of ice water ready. You'll put your mozzerella balls in there to cool as your last step.
Okay, ten minutes is up. Now take a long knife and make a few slices into your curds. It should feel about like cutting through yogurt.
Stick your thermometer back in there and heat up your curds and whey to 100 degrees. This will toughen the curds up a little bit. It only takes a couple minutes.
At 100 degrees, you're ready to scoop the curds out. I like to use a slotted spoon to lift the curds into a colander (which is over a bowl, to catch any dripping whey).
Pour 1/2 Cup non-iodized salt into your pot of whey. (Careful: I've read that iodized salt will ruin your cheese, but I haven't tested that. I'm not planning to either.)
Now crank up the heat and get the whey up to 160-170 degrees. You might want to start with 170, but if it's too hot for your hands, let it cool just a few degrees until you can handle it. You'll eventually find that balance between hot-enough-for-the-cheese but not-too-hot-for-your-hands. Stir the whey occasionally as it's heating.
When you've reached 160-170, turn off the heat. Divide your curds into two. Use a big spoon to lower the first chunk of curds into the hot whey, and stir it around a little bit until it's beginning to melt.
Lift the slightly melty curds out of the hot whey and grab onto it (if your hands can handle the heat --- if not, wait a few seconds before grabbing it). Begin stretching, pulling, and folding the curds, dipping them back in the hot whey as needed. The curds will gradually (after just a few minutes) change into shiny, stretchy mozzerella cheese. I actually get a thrill out of this part!
When you've achieved glossy, stretchy cheese, sprinkle 1 tsp of flake salt on your cheese, then fold and stretch a few more times.
When you're satisfied that the salt is incorporated into your cheese, form a ball and set it in your ice water to cool for 30 minutes.
Guess what? You did it! You made mozzerella cheese! Now do the same thing with the second portion of curds, and you're set! You can use the whey to bake bread or feed to the chickens or pigs. Or google other uses for whey.
But most of all: Enjoy that mozzerella!