Mozzarella cheese is a mild flavoured and unripened variety of cheese. The origin of this cheese is Italy and it was traditionally manufactured from buffalo milk. But the manufacture of this type of cheese is now spread throughout the length and breadth of the Europe and USA and modifications have been made to produce the mozzarella cheese from cow milk.
The mozzarella belongs to the pasta-filata class of cheese. It involves the technique of stretching the curd under hot water to get a smooth texture and stringiness in the end product. Hence, this type of cheese possesses good melting and stretching properties. It is one of the best options for producing pizza.
How to manufacture mozzarella cheese?
1. Thoroughly clean the equipment and utensils required for cheese making and sanitize them with live steam.
2. Then the percentage of fat, casein and SNF of the milk have to be determined. The milk is generally standardized to 3-4% fat.
3. Then the milk is pasteurized at 72°C for 15 seconds or 63°C for 30 min. and cooled to 30°C.
4. Active fresh starter cultures at the rate of 1-2% is added to the milk and thoroughly mixed. The acidity of the milk is tested before the addition of the starter culture. The temperature of the milk is maintained at 32°C. The milk is incubated at this temperature for 30 min. and again the acidity is tested.
5. Rennet is added after diluting to about 20 - 30 times of its volume with chlorine free water. The amount of rennet to be added is calculated according to the brand and make. The diluted rennet solution is poured slowly and uniformly into the milk and the milk is gently stirred.
6. After setting the milk for 30 min, examine the curd for its firmness. The curd is cut lengthwise with a horizontal knife and breadth wise with vertical knife.
7. After about 10-15 min. of cutting, start stirring the curd slowly and gently. Open the steam valve slowly and steadily and start heating the curd until the maximum cooking temperature of 42 - 44°C is reached. The curd is stirred slowly and continuously until its pieces become firm and elastic.
8. After the completion of cooking, the whey is allowed to drain out through a strainer. A trench is made in the centre of the vat to facilitate the drainage of whey.
9. After giving an allowance of 10-20 min. for whey drainage, the curd slabs are cut into blocks of 15-20 cm wide. The blocks are turned upside down when they are properly matted. The titratable acidity of the resultant whey is tested. The turning of blocks upside down is continued at intervals of 15-20 min.
10. Milling of the curd is done when the acidity of the whey reaches 0.70% lactic acid. The blocks are usually cut into strips by using stainless steel knife and then milled into small pieces.
11. The small pieces of curds are transferred into hot water at 85-90°C. Stretch and knead the curd properly under hot water so that the curd particles tend to fuse together and form a smooth texture and body. After proper kneading and stretching, the curd is moulded into balls or blocks and they are immersed in chilled brine solution.
12. After sufficient time of immersion under the brine solution, the mozzarella cheese balls are taken out, excess water drained and suitably packed and stored in chilled condition.
The mozzarella balls thus prepared can be utilized in its natural form or used to prepare pizza or used as a blend in the manufacture of processed cheese.
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