Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese, with its yummy melty ooey-gooey goodness. I love how mozzarella stretches off a slice of pizza. I love to peel little pieces off of string cheese and eat them. I love mozzarella cheese. One day I got to thinking, is mozzarella something that I could make myself? Yes! It turns out its incredibly easy and you only need a handful of items, and about half an hour until you have ready to eat fresh mozzarella. I used the recipe for 30 minute mozzarella from cheesemaking.com. Fresh mozzarella is amazing, and this turned out perfectly stringy, stretchy. I can only imagine how well it melts on a pizza (I must test this soon…).
Surprisingly, making mozzarella isn’t too cost inefficient. The fresh milk comes to about $7. The end product is almost exactly 1 pound of mozzarella. Considering the freshness and nature of the product, that’s not far off what you’ll pay for in the store. I’ll definitely be making this again, but not as a replacement for buying it at the store.
To start off, whenever I have something with so few ingredients, I feel that the quality of those ingredients really matters. I got the gallon of milk from a regional dairy, it comes in lovely glass containers the bonus is that it’s 100% Jersey milk. I chose to get vegetable rennet tablets, so I can share my cheese with my vegetarian friends. Besides, calf rennet just kind of grosses me out!
- 1 gallon, pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized) milk
- 1 1/2 tsp citric acid
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tablet rennet
1. Have a clean non-reactive 6 – 8 quart pot ready to go (stainless steel or coated pot, you don’t want to use aluminum). You will also need a thermometer that can read as low as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In 1 cup of water, mix the citric acid until it is completely dissolved and set aside. In 1/4 cup of water, mix the rennet until the tablet is completely dissolved and set aside.
3. Pour your gallon of milk into your pot and add the dissolved citric acid. Mix very well. Turn your stove to medium and slowly heat the milk mixture to 90 ̊F. Stir consistently to avoid hotspots and ensure an even temperature reading.
4. Move the pot to a cold burner and very slowly mix in the dissolved rennet using an up and down motion. Cover the pot with a lid and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes (no peeking!). Check at 5 minutes to see if you have a firm curd and clearly separated whey. If you not, replace lid and wait another 3 minutes.
5. Once the curd is well set, cut it into 1 inch cubes using a long knife. It’s a little tricky to cut as the curd moves on they whey, it doesn’t need to be exact though.
6. Move your pot back onto the hot burner and turn your flame to medium. Slowly bring the temperature of your whey and curd mixture to 105 ̊F. Stir things gently while you are heating. The curd will begin getting stretchy and sink as you approach 105.
7. Once you hit 105 ̊F. move the pot to a cold burner. Continue stirring things gently for another few minutes. Transfer the curd using a slotted spoon to a colander and then from the colander to a microwave safe large bowl. At each transfer point remove as much whey as you can while keeping the curd.
8. Once all of the curd is in the bowl microwave it on high for one minute. Pour off the whey and sprinkle the curd with the teaspoon of salt. Knead salt in and then reheat everything for 30 seconds on high. Drain off the whey and continue heating and draining in 30 second intervals until the curd is 135 ̊F.
9. Knead the curd until it forms together smoothly and will stretch under its own weight. Form into a large ball, tucking the bottom into the middle until the surface is smooth and takes on an almost pearlescent shine.
10. Eat warm or store for up to a week in the refrigerator with a little water.