One of my Christmas presents from my very lovely partner Adam was a Mozzarella cheese making kit, containing sachets of citric acid, Rennet, salt and a thermometer, with a view to producing our own cheese for our weekly Pizza-Sundays. So, on New Years Day, I decided to give it a whirl. To my great surprise, it only took about an hour to convert a pan of milk into a reasonably passable Mozzarella ball!
I started with ~4 pints of semi-skimmed milk in a large saucepan, mixed it with citric acid and heated it up to 32 degrees Celsius, which caused the curds to separate from the whey. Next, I added a vegetarian Rennet, and left the curds to set. After 10 minutes, the curds had solidified and I was able to cut them into rough 1 inch cubes. Next, the mixture is heated up to 41 degrees Celsius, and then I transferred the curds into a colander, allowing the whey to drain away. I pressed the curds together gently by hand, then microwaved the cheese ball for 30 seconds to remove more whey, pressed it together again and then repeated. The final step is to knead in a sprinkling of salt, to taste.
To my delight, and to the credit of the kit, I managed to produce something that both tasted and looked something like Mozzarella, and happily it grated easily and melted nicely when sprinkled over our pizzas. As it only took an hour or so, it could easily be made on the same day as the pizza dough. Incidentally, I reserved some of the whey as I read that it can be used to enrich sauces, and I tried pouring a small amount into a pan of chicken/veg/fajita spices which I chucked together for tea that day, and it did indeed make the fajita sauce more rich and velvety.