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First time poster here. So, I have always been a fan of homemade food and I wanted to try my hand with cheeses.

I live very near a milk farm and I could get some raw milk.

I am posting after 2 failed attempts at getting curdles to form to make quick mozzarella (and even ricotta). I tried making ricotta and paneer in the past and it worked flawlessly. I have another 1.5L of milk available and I would like to succeed with that at least.

Here is my recipe, I'd love to understand what's wrong...

  • 1L Raw Milk
  • 2-3 Tbps Lemon Juice

Instructions:

Heat Milk to 44-46C and add slowly the lemon juice while stirring. Keep stirring until curdles are formed, keep the temperature constant.

That's it! I don't see absolutely nothing happening even after 30min of stirring gently.

I tried adding more acid (like a lot more) and even getting near to boil. I tried adding rice vinegar and red wine vinegar (at that point I didn't care about the taste anymore).

Can someone teach me?

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  • You said that you can get raw milk, but what kind of milk are you using for this trial? Ultrapasturized milk will not form curds, so if you're using that ... – FuzzyChef Aug 16 '20 at 17:51
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    Well I can get raw milk and I asked for raw milk. I expect to have received raw milk :P – N3sh Aug 16 '20 at 19:08
  • I'm not sure your recipe is for mozzarella, mozzarella requires lower temperature and rennet. Rereading your third paragraph, do you mean you want to make ricotta? – mbjb Aug 17 '20 at 0:50
  • ... in which case he should heat it to 85C, if he's making ricotta. mbjb, you should post that as an answer. – FuzzyChef Aug 17 '20 at 5:07
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Looks like the rennet is missing in your recipe. You also might want to consider to skip the shortcuts and the vinegar and to start off with a more authentic/original formula as you usually can assume that each step and ingredient in them is there for a reason.

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  • I found some recipes which didn't require rennet so I wanted to try without it for starters. I will be able to purchase rennet in a couple of months, so I will try again then! – N3sh Aug 17 '20 at 12:12
  • I followed this video and it seemed to at least work for the lady: youtube.com/watch?v=Zx4SRnl2VTQ – N3sh Aug 17 '20 at 12:14
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Your post was a bit confusing, because you say your recipe is for mozzarella but then you say...

I tried making ricotta and paneer in the past and it worked flawlessly. I have another 1.5L of milk available and I would like to succeed with that at least.

..which I interpreted as meaning you were making ricotta, not mozzarella.

Your recipe does not work for mozzarella nor ricotta. As @FuzzyChef mentioned in the comments, ricotta* is usually made with milk heated to 85C (185F), to which acid is then added to form curds. Mozzarella, on the other hand, uses a smaller amount of acid to enable stretching, then rennet at 30-32C (86-90F) to form curds. You cannot make mozzarella without rennet.

Your milk not coagulating might be caused by the raw milk, method, lack of acid/coagulant, or temperature. Since you brought it to the boil as well as added more vinegar, we can eliminate the last two. There might be something special about (your) raw milk that prevents it curdling (I have read that milk has some ability to buffer pH), or the jumbled method that you used (adding acid at low temperature then boiling with more acid) that prevented it from curdling, but I would expect at least something to happen.

*@rumtscho pointed out that "true" ricotta starts with whey, but most online recipes (e.g. this one) tell you to curdle milk with acid for ricotta, which is the cheese that I call ricotta in this answer.

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  • 44-46 C is a temperature for yogurt making. Yogurt needs a lot of time to set, and needs to sit undisturbed (stirred yogurt exists, and is not very firm), so I think we don't need to expect "something to happen". Also, this might be a terminology issue, but I wouldn't say that you are making ricotta when heating milk to 85C. For me, that would result in something from the tvorog/quark family, while ricotta would start with whey. – rumtscho Aug 17 '20 at 9:50
  • @rumtscho 1. Yes, 44C is around the incubation temperature for yoghurt but I'm not sure this is relevant as yoghurt is made with a starter, not acid, and this question is about cheese. 2. I agree, the many milk + acid recipes for ricotta on the internet are not really true ricotta. I will edit my answer to reflect this. – mbjb Aug 17 '20 at 10:19
  • Yogurt is indeed made with a starter, but the starter's job is to produce acid - and because we don't see curds during yogurt production, only a very slow thickening to a soft state, this for me is an indicator that maybe, at these temperatures, fresh milk + acid doesn't curdle, but at best gets into a very soft state after many hours. Although I admit this is just a conjecture. – rumtscho Aug 17 '20 at 10:31
  • I followed this video and it seemed to at least work for the lady: youtube.com/watch?v=Zx4SRnl2VTQ – N3sh Aug 17 '20 at 12:13
  • Yeah, technically that's called "whole milk ricotta" or even "farmer cheese", but it's the ricotta recipe that most people know and follow. – FuzzyChef Aug 17 '20 at 20:38

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