The Dave Cooking Series has not ended yet!! There are still quite a few recipes and cooking tips to share from my recent visit with Dave Young in Los Angeles. If you follow our blog, you know Dave and I became best friends when we lived in Los Angeles and Dave also owns an elite event planning and catering company in Hollywood.
(Dave and I at one of Dave’s events October 2011, Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills)
When Dave and I met, we developed a strong friendship immediately. He is one of the most special people I’ve ever met and I’m so fortunate to have him in my life. Now that I live in San Antonio I don’t get to see Dave often and miss him terribly. One of the things I admire most about Dave is that he is a self taught chef. He’s had no formal training yet he works magic in the kitchen and he’s constantly experimenting with new ideas and cooking methods.
Dave is also Italian and can cook some crazy good Italian food. We are talking blow your mind homemade pasta like lobster stuffed ravioli (which I should try to share with you soon – I think I might have some old pics and recipes Dave gave me before). Dave’s grandmother taught him how to make authentic Italian food and he has fond memories spending time with her in the kitchen making Italian cookies and hanging handmade pasta out on the clothes line to dry.
Dave makes everything he can homemade including cheese. He spent some time with me demonstrating how to make mozzarella cheese which I’ll share with you now!
If you haven’t ever made mozzarella cheese before, Dave recommends buying a basic cheese making kit online like this one by Ricki’s.
The reason this is advised is due to the face that locating things like rennet in groceries stores can be quite difficult. Ricki’s cheese making kit is a cost effective option at $24.95 and includes quite a bit of supplies and even includes a cooking thermometer. The kit makes at least 40 batches of cheese and includes a recipe book for more types of cheese.
So here is what I learned about mozzarella with Dave. I found mozzarella is very easy to make but it’s easier to see with pictures than to just read a recipe. Because of that, there are lots of pictures and even some videos I took of Dave in action so you too can master your very own mozzarella.
- 1 gallon of organic milk (cheese will not form with ultra-pasteurized milk. It must be pasteurized at low temperatures or raw to make cheese. Cream-topped milk works well and can usually be found at local farmers’ markets.)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid
- 1/4 tablet of vegetable rennet
- Cheese salt or sea salt
Start with the rennet tablets by dissolving in 1/4 cup of water. If you use the Ricki’s kit, 1/4 tablet makes one batch of mozzarella.
Dissolve citric acid separately (in 1/2 cup water) also until both citric acid and rennet are completely dissolved.
Pour milk into a stainless steel pot, and put the burner on low. Use good milk for better tasting cheese. Organic whole D is best – you will taste the difference.
Stir in citric acid, and slowly heat the milk to 95F. Turn the heat off and pour in the dissolved rennet.
Stir continuously for exactly 30 seconds.
Cover with lid and let the milk sit completely still for five minutes.
At this point, the curds will separate from the whey. Run a sharp knife through the curds horizontally and vertically into one inch cubes. Be sure to cut all the way to the bottom of the pot.
It should look like squares of curds with whey floating in between. (If looking closely at the above pictures, squares can be seen). Lightly agitate and curds can be seen.
Raise curd temperature to 115 degrees. Once raised, use a spoon strainer (with a fine mesh) and scoop the curds into a large glass bowl. (Dave uses a spoon strainer because a cheese cloth is very messy and hard to clean. A few curds might be lost but it’s a much easier method).
Drain as much of the whey as possible.
To form the cheese put cheese curds in bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Remove and drain more of the whey, pressing down on the cheese with your hands to remove as much possible. Microwave again for 30 seconds, and again drain the whey.
Start kneading the cheese until it comes together like dough. While you’re kneading, add a generous pinch of salt. If the cheese isn’t coming together, microwave again for 30 seconds, and again drain the whey. When you can form a ball, shape the cheese with your hands until the outside is smooth and shiny.
Let the cheese sit in a bowl full of ice water to chill.
Once mozzarella was chilled, Dave used in a Caprese salad with homemade dipping oil. I’ll show you those recipes next Wednesday so stay tuned!
To read more about Dave, check out Dave’s blog here. You will find updates on all his Hollywood parties and inspiration for party and cooking ideas.