Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The General Knowledge Show: How Mozzarella is Made

Contributing Author:  Anastasia Meredith Oh

Mozzarella is made from milk, like all other cheeses. It is transported from the dairy farm to the processing plant in a tank, which is always sterilised, kept at 3 degrees centigrade and can carry up to 30,000 litres of milk! The milk inside the tank is around 4% fat and 3% protein.

When the milk gets to the plant it is stored in huge towers called cyloes, which can carry up to 250,000 litres of milk each! Each type of cheese has certain percentage of fat, and any excess fat can be removed by a milk separator.
In order to stop the milk from fermenting it is sterilised, which kills the bacteria and other microorganisms. As this happens small samples are taken to ascertain the nutritional values of the milk in different vats. These samples are done through microbiological analysis to ensure perfect quality.

A 25,000 litre curdeler is used to turn the milk into cheese. Renict, which is a enzyme which causes the milk to curdle. The milk is constantly heated and stirred by agitators, which also cut the whey into small lumps. This process takes around half an hour. The temperature, like  the fat content varies depending on the type of cheese being made.

After being curdled the cheese is moved onto large tables where the excess liquid is drained off, which takes around 25 minutes. The liquid, known as lacto serum, is concentrated and becomes a milk by product.
Once the cheese particles have been completely dried, and removed of water by the strainer, and stirred they are taken to the moulder, which cuts the cheese up ready for the cooker. When it comes out of the moulder the mozzarella already has its stringy texture. The moulds which the cheese is put into is rectangular in shape, and each one can hold up to 2.5Kg of cheese. Salt solution, also known as brine, is used to keep the cheese cool when it falls from the moulds, and also helps to add some salty flavour. They are kept there for 2-4 hours at a constant temperature of 2 degrees centigrade.

1400 blocks of cheese can be made from 30,000 litres of milk, and it only takes between 8 and 12 hours to do so.