Butter is Jesus. Eggs are the Holy Spirit. Nutritional yeast is the devil, and oh my GOD, when are Vegans going to go away? What? You can’t you eat amazing animal-based foods like foie gras? Well, some Spaniard that’s not my husband just figured out how to make geese gorge themselves, so throw that argument out the window, VEGANS.
You guys are making my dinner parties difficult. I really only make a 66% effort when I have to entertain you. Maybe I’ll serve Tofurky. But there will also be butter and cheese, and today I’m going to teach you how to make thirty-minute mozzarella in a couple of hours.
I use whole milk because I’m French, but 1%, or 2% works in a pinch. Gather a stainless steel pot, a candy thermometer and something to dissolve citric acid and rennet. Don’t worry, they’re harmless. You’ll need a strainer and a microwave, which is château BLASPHEMY but I love this recipe, so I let Pepito buy one.
Go out and milk your cow until you have a gallon of milk. Raw milk is always preferred. Let it sit on your counter until it’s about 50 degrees (an hour or so). Crush a rennet tablet. You can find them in the pudding aisle at your local épicerie. Add 1t of citric acid into 1/4 c of unchlorinated water. I live out in the middle of nowhere so my water’s already unchlorinated, but you can use bottled water if you live somewhere there are rats and graffiti. Oh, and you can get citric acid and health food stores where you will see a lot of vegans massaging kale.
Next, toss the crushed rennet into another 1/4c of water and pour the milk into your pot. Add the citric acid, stirring for one minute. Don’t go lounge because timing is everything here. Add another 1t of citric acid to the milk and stir for exactly 60 more seconds. It will start to curdle and things are getting exciting.
This step is important. You need to heat your milk to about 32 degrees C (88-90 degrees F), while stirring it gently over low heat. It will take exactly 10-15 minutes. Right at the 88-90 degree mark turn off the heat, add the rennet solution and stir for precisely 20 seconds. Drink a shot of whiskey. Put the lid on and let it sit completely undisturbed for 15 minutes. Back away slowly. You cannot move the pot or you won’t get a clean break. Wait for the clean break.
Wait, you need to know what a clean break is. When you stick your finger in an inch or so, wiggle it around and then lift it out, the curd and whey should separate. If it sticks to your finger you need to wait. Read some Proust. Once it’s set, it’s time to cut the curd, which is the start of a joke that I don’t have time to think up right right now. Take a knife and make a criss-cross pattern to form 1/2 inch cubes. Now you can go lounge for 10 minutes. Maybe smoke a Gitanes because you deserve it.
Turn the heat back on until it reaches 108 degrees F. Stir the curds periodically to keep them separated. After 12-15 minutes they will shrink and sink beneath the whey. Turn off the heat and exhale. Keep stirring for 20 more minutes while you hunt for a strainer. Drain them and let them sit for another 15 minutes. You want to wait until all of the whey has expelled. If you’re ambitious and not dripping in sweat you could save it to make ricotta, which would really impress your friends. Pour the curds into a smaller bowl and break them up. And now for the fourth tricky part. This is where the microwave comes in. Cook them on high for 30-45 seconds and then gently squeeze the curds to release the whey, which is very fun and a great tension release. Microwave again for about 15-20 seconds and repeat the squeeze. It will start to form into a ball, and you’re getting close. Have your husband dab your brow.
Now the fun part that makes it all worth it. Microwave one last time for 20 seconds. Add about 1-2t of salt and start pulling it and stretching it apart. Knead it a bit. Stretch some more. Really get in there, she likes it. Keep doing this until it’s shiny and then work it into a ball. DONE.
This may take some practice before you can do it effortlessly in someone else’s kitchen during cocktail hour. Try it at home first.