Wholesale importers of Italian food products, cousins Stefano de Blasi and Edoardo Perlo brought their range of ingredients direct to the public in 2012 when they opened their food emporium, Salt Meats Cheese, in Sydney’s Alexandria. The shelves are stocked with oils, coffee, pasta, sauces and more, but it’s the delicious mozzarella they make on site that is hardest to resist.
- 2 L organic pasteurised, unhomogenised milk
- 1 tsp citric acid
- 0.6 ml vegetarian rennet (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 3 x 125 g balls
Resting time 1 hour
You will need a thermometer, a small syringe (available from chemists), a slotted spoon, latex gloves and 110 ml boiled, cooled water in a sterilised jug.
Place milk in a large saucepan fitted with a thermometer over medium–low heat. Combine 100 ml boiled, cooled water in a sterilised jug with the citric acid, stirring to dissolve. Stir citric acid mixture into milk, stirring for 1 minute to ensure it is completely dispersed (the milk will begin to curdle very slightly at this point due to the introduction of the acid).
Slowly bring milk mixture to 40°C over low heat. Meanwhile, combine rennet in a sterilised jug with 10 ml of cooled, boiled water. When milk reaches 40°C, turn off the heat and stir in diluted rennet, stirring for 2 minutes to ensure rennet is evenly dispersed. Cover with a lid and set aside for 30 minutes for curds to set.
When the curds have set, cut a cross-hatch pattern in the curds, then holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, cut through the curds to create 3 cm cubes. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes, then place over low heat and bring temperature up to 40°C, gently stirring continuously.
Line a colander with muslin and place over a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, spoon warm curds into colander, then set aside to drain for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to 70–80°C. Place a clean empty bowl and a bowl filled with cold, salted water on your work surface. Wearing latex gloves, divide drained curds into 3. Place one-third on the slotted spoon and lower into the saucepan of hot water. Keeping curds on the spoon, submerge for 1 minute, then remove to check if curds are beginning to melt. You may need to submerge a few more times before the curds are ready to stretch. Once curds are melted and pliable, begin to stretch the strands with your hands in smooth motions over the empty bowl (take care as the curds are hot), folding the curd several times before shaping it into a ball and submerging in the bowl of salted water. Repeat with remaining portions to make 3 mozzarella balls. The mozzarella can be used immediately or will keep in the salted water for up to 4 days.
• Rennet is an enzyme used to coagulate the proteins in milk, causing it to set. We recommend a vegetarian rennet, made from a vegetable or plant source. This can be ordered from speciality cheese suppliers. Rennet must always be diluted in at least 10 times the volume used to in cooled, boiled water; otherwise the curd will not set properly. Dilute the rennet just before using.
Photography Chris Chen
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2013, Issue 25.