Lasagna Cheese – All in one pot recipe for Mozzarella and Ricotta
While writing an article for Culture magazine on how to make Burrata, I realized how easy it is to make both quick mozzarella and ricotta at the same time, literally within one hour. An email from a reader mentioned that it was her goal to make all of the ingredients for lasagna, so I put this recipe together for anyone out there who has wanted to do the same. This works great for traditional lasagna as well as spaghetti squash, eggplant, or gluten free noodles.I am giving directions using store bought milk, simply to address the availability for most, but any good quality milk will work. We, of course, use our goat milk. Enjoy!
Ingredients and Equipment
1 gallon whole, pasteurized milk
1 ½ teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1/8 cup cold, non-chlorinated water
1/8 teaspoon double strength rennet mixed into 1/8 cup cold, non-chlorinated water
1 Tablespoon salt
Heavy bottomed stainless steel pot
Large pot for water bath
Large skimmer ladle
Cheesecloth or butter muslin
Large bowl filled with 2 quarts cold water and 1 teaspoon salt
Make the Mozzarella
- Place smaller pot inside of larger and pour 3 quarts of the milk into the smaller pot. Set remaining quart aside for ricotta. Add water to larger pot so that it covers the sides of the smaller pot, but doesn’t make it float.
- Stir in citric acid solution.
- Slowly heat the milk to 95F and turn off heat or remove from burner, leaving in water bath whose temperature is 100-105F
- Stir in rennet solution using an up and down motion, not swirling, and let set without movement for 5 minutes. At the end of this time the milk should have coagulated into a heavy custard.
- Cut the coagulated milk into 3/8 inch columns and a few horizontal cuts at about the same interval. Let set for 5 minutes.
- Heat and agitate or stir the curds, depending upon their firmness (see sidebar), over 5 minutes to 105-108F.
- Line colander with cloth and ladle curds into cloth, cover and let drain, flipping curd mass as a whole inside cloth every 5 minutes.
Make the Ricotta
- Place the pot containing the whey on direct heat and bring temperature up to 175F, stirring. Remove any bits of curd remaining and add to colander.
- When 175F is reached, stir in 1 quart of milk. It should immediately coagulate into ricotta curds. Stir for a minute then use the small sieve to remove the curds from the hot whey. Reserve whey.
- Drain ricotta for about 3 minutes then place in bowl.
Stretch the Mozzarella
- Stir two tablespoons of salt into whey and verify temperature is still 175F
- Cut the mozzarella curd mass into 8 pieces. Drop into the hot whey for several moments. Check a chunk for stretch. When curd is pliable, place the entire mass on aplate and gently work the curd by folding it in toward the center in a circular pattern. Reheat as needed to maintain a pliable texture. Repeat the process about 2 times, just until the curd becomes shiny, then form a ball or loaf.
- Place in the cold water bowl just long enough to firm it up, then serve or store for later. Use within a day or so for the best texture.
Mozzarella Tips and Tricks
Traditional, cultured mozzarella making is an all-day process. Quick “30 Minute” recipes have the advantage in near instant gratification – but at a price. Fast recipes for making stretched curd cheese rely upon a lucky combination of added acid, great milk, and deft craftsmanship. While mastering these types of recipes be patient with yourself and with the milk! Here are some tips for success:
- Measure the citric acid very carefully. If you use too little or too much the curd will not stretch. Often the amount must be adjusted to suit the milk for the next batch.
- Use the freshest milk possible. Do not use ultra pasteurized milk. Most milk available from the grocery store will make quite decent quick mozzarella, but it must be handled very gently. Often it cannot be stirred during step 6, but must instead be agitated by gently swirling or shaking the pot. Farm fresh milk will usually create a much more resilient and malleable curd.
- Think of working pasta filata cheese curd as if it is a delicate pastry, rather than bread dough. Too much kneading and working will result in a tough, rubber like texture.
- Don’t leave the curd in the hot whey any longer than necessary or you will overheat the fat and lose it from the curd.
- For more tips on working with quick mozzarella visit New England Cheesemaking Supply Companies helpful page: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/242-FAQ-Mozzarella.html