Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Homemade Mozzarella with Nigella Seeds

Blog's Category: DK Challenges

Homemade Mozzarella with Nigella Seeds

It's again the time to show up what everyone made for this month's Daring Kitchen  challenge. It was such an awesome subject for challenge - homemade cheese. Although I'm not a newcomer to homemade cheese (ricotta type), I'm am a complete "stranger" to higher level cheese making which would involve such a special ingredient like rennet. So, deciding to step up and make mozzarella, I ordered my rennet tables from lovely Amazon and lay my choice on braided Armenian style mozzarella cheese with a nigella seeds. To cut my excitement down - I didn't get my cheese stretchy enough to make it braded but I ended up with a plain, but still delicious, mozzarella with nigella seeds.
From my own culinary history: I discovered nigella seeds, which sometimes called black cumin seeds, many years ago when I tasted my first braded armenian cheese and, right away, fell in love with this tiny but mighty, flavor-wise, seeds. Since then I was experimenting adding seeds to various recipes and come to conclusion that nothing makes nigella seeds flavor to shine as simply putting it in a dairy - yogurt, cheese or just on top of any food with a melted cheese. There must be some special "agreement" between nigella seeds and cheese about making each other better, more flavorful and more delicious.
Homemade Mozzarella with Nigella Seeds

  • 1/4 tablet of rennet (bought on amazon, do not buy Junket)
  • 1 gallon whole milk, pasterized (not ultra-pasterized)
  • 1.5 tsp citric acid
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • cold, drinking quality, water
  • thermometer
- Dissolve 1/4 tablet of rennet in a 1/2 cup of cold water and set aside.

- In a separate dish, dissolve 1.5 tsp citric acid in 1 cup of water, set aside.

- In a large stainless steel or enamel pot, pour milk, add dissolved citric acid. Place pot on a medium heat and start to stir. Keep stirring. When temperature reaches 90F (it will happen quickly), remove pot from a heat and add rennet solution, slowly stirring into a milk. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Now milk will look like one large curd.

-  Keeping thermometer in a pot, place pot back on a medium-low heat and start carefully stir curds to break them into smaller curds. When temperature reaches 105F, remove from heat. Continue to stir carefully for 2 more minutes. Keep in mind that stirring and breaking curds into smaller ones, makes your future mozzarella firmer. So, adjust your stirring according to your taste.

- Drain cheese curds into colander covered with your cheese cloth (dedicate 50"x50" piece of clean, thin cotton fabric especially for cheese making). Leave it alone for about 15 minutes.

- Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring some 1 gallon of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Keeping your cheese curds in a cheese cloth, dip it into a pot with a hot water for 10-20 seconds. Then drop cheese curds onto clean wooden cutting board.

- Knead your cheese, how you would knead a dough, for about 5 minutes. Then transfer it back into a cheese cloth and dip it into a pot with a hot water again. Let it soften there for another 20 seconds and repeat kneading.

- Repeat dipping/kneading for a couple more times until your cheese become stretchy, smooth and shiny. Re-heat your pot with water during the process if needed. Water should be very hot to melt cheese curds.

- Some time during kneading process add a little bit of salt and nigella seeds. Knead to distribute them evenly.

- When your cheese reaches consistency you like, dip it in a cold water, pat dry a little bit with a paper towel. Store it in a glass container in a fridge. Enjoy!

(My apology - I've lost all my pictures from making this mozzarella with an exception of a few. I know that I'll be making mozzarella again and will be taking pictures again to post them here)
this is how my rennet tablets look - I got them from Amazon
rennet is easily dissolved in a water
Important Notes
- watch temperature of your milk carefully - it will raise very quickly. Do not allow curds/milk go over 110F or you'll end up with a tough cheese.

Blog-checking lines: Sawsan from chef in disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!

1 comment:

  1. This is great - I have always wanted to try making mozzarella.


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