Thank you so much Kelly. I would love more than anything to try mozz from fresh raw milk. I bet it is fantastic.
When considering temperature and mozz cheese making we really have to make a distinction between water temperature and cheese temperature. I believe that when the experts talk about temps of 170F-200F, they are really talking about water temps and not cheese temps. The water temps that I was adding in the video is 185F, so that definitely falls in the range the pros are using if they are referring to water temps.
There is no way in hell they are talking about actual cheese temps. There is a simple test for anyone to do next time they are making cheese to see this for themselves. Drop a few pieces of curd directing into a pot of hot water at 180-200F, stir it around and witness the curd almost disintegrate. This is true cheese temp of 180-200F. It would be practically impossible to stretch cheese at a cheese temp of 180-200F. I have tried and wasn't able to do it. If anyone can, please make a video and post it here. In my video, after the cheese had absorb the heat from the water and the temps had drop down to below 150F (true cheese temp), you can see at 5:15 - 5:18, the outer layers of curd that is in contact with the hot water is almost liquid. It is stringing off readily even at these "low" temps. And this is even a tad too hot for me. For stretching, I'm really stretching at a cheese temp of 135-140F and an initial water temp of 185F. You can see how the cheese reacts at a true temp of 135-140F. The higher the cheese temp, the more liquid and fluid it will be. At a true cheese temp of 180-190F, the cheese would likely be very runny and oozing out between the fingers, no matter how much cheese you are making.
For a bigger curd mass, I can definitely see adding water temps of 200F+, BUT I'm pretty sure that temp drops fairly quickly as the large mass of cheese absorbs much of the heat. It would stand to reason that the water temp would drop to below 150F as the cheese absorbs the heat. I believe true cheese/stretching temps are much lower than what is reported by the pros, and they are reporting initial water temps not stretching.
Yes, the higher temps are more applicable to larger batches of cheese.....like 20+ pounds at a time. Otherwise, it is very difficult to work that much cheese at lower temps.
I agree Kelly. At 20lbs at a time, you definitely need to add higher temp water, but again that temp will drop way down as that mass absorbs much of the heat. I just don't believe the pros are stretching at temps of over 150F and actually closer to 135-140F. All process curd should react to heat in a very similar fashion. I think we can actually predict with some accuracy the true stretching temps just by seeing how the cheese is stretching itself.
I just watch the Polly O videos again. After the curd was gone through the first cook and cooled for 5 minutes, he discards 2/3 of the cooled water and adds in water that is 160F. Mixing with the previous 1/3 cooled water, the temps would drop to somewhere in the 140 range. Judging by the look of the way the cheese is stretching in that bowl, I would estimate the water temp to be no higher than 140F at time of stretching. The only thing I don't like about his technique is that he actually pulls on the cheese and handles it a bit roughly rather than letting the cheese stretch itself. http://www.polly-ofoodservice.com/videos.asp
Here are a few other excellent videos brother Bobino shared with me that has helped me greatly. Much of my current technique is based on these videos.
As with the Polly 0 video, Sean also speaks to the importance of warming or heating up the curd slowly. To prevent lost of butterfat. I didn't speak about the disadvantages of stretching mozz at high temps yet but there are several.
First, if the water is too hot, you will likely have to wear gloves or not be able to handle the cheese for any length of time. This is a great disadvantage b/c you when you lose contact with the cheese you don't get a proper feel of how the cheese is reacting to the water, how the cheese is stretching, and you don't get an accurate assessment on the proper feel of the cheese.
2ndly, the higher the temps the more butter fat you will lose to the water. You will always loose some butterfat when stretching even at 135-140F, but the less you lose the creamier the cheese. The more butterfat you lose due to excessive high stretching temps, the less creamy a product. The goal is a creamy tender cheese, not the opposite.
3rd, the higher the water temp, the more liquid the cheese becomes and the harder it is too handle. You will inadvertently overstretch or overfold the cheese to redevelop the strength. It's just like making dough. If the hydration is too high it can be easier to over develop the gluten by overcompensating and kneading too much. Over stretching cheese makes for a tougher cheese especially after the cool down. It becomes almost like rubber. There are certain store bought brands that are very rubbery after the cool down.
I personally don't like this. I like a cheese to give easily to the the teeth even after the cool down.
The one disadvantage to under handling the cheese as I do is that it has a hard time retaining it's ball shape. I get around this by dropping them into salted ice water, and then wrapping the balls in plastic after they have cooled a bit. This still allows for a creamy tender cheese that stays round.