So 5 litres of milk, a day of curds and whey later and then some serious kneading after work tonight and I have managed to make pizza and mozzarella from scratch. Two days work to make a simple and cheap meal is not exactly time efficient, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On Sunday I indulged myself with a cheese making workshop, where I learnt to make mozzarella, a couple of soft creamy cheese (one which I will turn into a brie, the other a washed rind) and ricotta. The cheese making process in a magical one, turning a enormous amount of milk into the smallest amount of cheese takes a bit of science and whole lot of love, care and attention. You’ll love your cheese more than you do your partner or children by the end of the day.
Then you bring them home and they need tending to with brine solution before the maturing can begin, a secondary process that can take at least another three weeks. Next time you are in the deli wondering how they can justify $80 a kilo or more for a decent cheese, the answer is that it is totally justified. Magic doesn’t come cheap.
I got seven fist size balls of mozzarella from five litres of top quality, full fat milk. It takes about 4 hours to make all up and I was taught by Giorgio of That’s Amore Cheese in Melbourne a legend!
The milk is first gently heated and the culture added. Once the culture begins to work the curd separates from the whey and you can eventually turn the curds into mozzarella through a warming, mixing, waiting and stretching process. Patience is required.
I brought home the whey and will be turning that into ricotta over the next couple of days, nothing gets wasted.
What better dish to cook with my homemade mozzarella than homemade pizza?
Pizza dough is pretty easy to do and anything homemade always tastes special.
This quantity makes enough for six personal pizza bases.
- 1 Cup ’00′ Plain Flour
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
Make a well in the flour on your worktop and pour in the oil and little bit of the water, mix gently round with your finger. Work in a little more water and add a second finger. Continue to add the water, adding more fingers until you have added all the water and are using you whole hand. You shouldn’t have to get both hands messy as there won’t be enough dough to warrant both getting involved. Continue working and kneading the dough for at least ten minutes, maybe fifteen. A few practice attempts and you’ll get the hang of it. You end up just knowing when it’s done.
Leave the dough to rest for thirty minutes before spliting it in six and rolling out. You need the oven really hot, 250c is perfect.
For the tomato sauce I combined a couple of cloves of garlic that had been fried off in olive oil with a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and a lunchtime tin of tuna with sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.
Thinly slice the mozzarella lay on the babies, cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, serve with beer.