Provolone cheese is an Italian cheese that is somewhat like mozzarella cheese, with a little more flavor. Learning how to make provolone cheese at home can be a challenging task. Once accomplished, buying cheese is no longer an option.
Pour whole milk into a large pot on the lowest heat. Bring the temperature of the milk to 97° F, and stir slowly to equalize the temperature throughout the liquid.
Pour in thermophilic starter culture, and whisk and cover the mixture. Allow the mixture to cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until the pH level is at 6.0. Thermophilic starter culture is what puts the bacteria in the milk that allows it to become more acidic and flavorful.
Pour in lipase, whisk the mixture slowly, and cover it for 10 minutes. Lipase is an enzyme that halts the breakdown of the fats in the cheese and allows maximum flavor.
Dilute the rennet in 1/4 cup of water per the packaging directions. Pour rennet into the mixture and set it aside to allow curd to form. Rennet is the enzyme that allows solids and liquids to separate.
Check the curd after 40 minutes to see if it has a clean break through it. Once the break is obtained, cut the curd into small cubes. Allow the cubes to rest for 10 minutes.
Place the colander on top of the pot of water, like a double boiler. Place the curds into the colander and allow them to sit covered for 45 minutes.
Take a small piece of the curd and place it into hot water to perform a "stretch test." If the curd becomes pliable and shiny, your provolone cheese is almost finished. If it will not stretch, place it back into the colander for another 15 minutes or until it is stretchable.
Place all of the curds into hot water. Once the curd stretches easily, begin to stretch and combine the curds into a ball form. Once you have the curd formed into a ball-like mass, place it into ice cold water for one minute.
Mix 6 cups of room-temperature water and 1/2 cup of salt in a large bowl. Place the ball of Provolone cheese in the water and allow it to sit for two hours. The cheese will be ready to eat after two hours. Store the cheese submerged in water in a sealed container.
- If you would like your cheese to have a sharper taste, allow it to age for three to four weeks at a temperature of 45 degrees. Keep the humidity at between 80 and 85 percent.
- Use back burners when scalding your milk to keep from getting burned.
- While forming your cheese, wear thick rubber gloves to keep your hands from burning.