How To Make Mozzarella Cheese
Learning how to making mozzarella cheese at home may seem like an intricate task for foodies only, but it’s actually not any more difficult than mixing up a batch of cookies. Once you start making mozzarella cheese at home, you can feast on paninis, pasta, and even pizza any time you want. Your guests will be amazed when you start you next dinner party serving up a fresh caprese salad with basil and tomatoes. While you will need both citric acid and rennet tablets to make mozzarella cheese, both are easily available on the internet or in some specialty food shop or organic markets. Just follow these easy instructions, and homemade mozzarella cheese is less than 30 minutes away!
To make roughly 1 lb of mozzarella cheese, you will need:
- 1 gallon milk (be sure it’s not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 ½ cups cool water
- 1 ½ teaspoon citric acid
- ¼ of a rennet tablet
- 1 teaspoon cheese salt
- Seasoning or herbs (like basil or crushed red pepper, optional)
- A 6 quart non-reactive pot
- A large colander
- A slotted spoon
- A cooking thermometer
- A long knife
- A microwaveable bowl
- Before you start to make mozzarella cheese, set out all your utensils and ingredients so they’re at the ready. Dissolve ¼ of a rennet tablet into ¼ cup cool water and set it aside.
- Begin making your mozzarella cheese. Mix 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup cool water until it’s dissolved, then pour it into the pot. Add the milk to the pot and stir the mixture vigorously.
- Turn on the stove. Continue stirring the milk, heating it to 90°F. Then, remove the pot from the burner and add the prepared rennet solution, moving your spoon in a gentle up and down motion for 30 seconds.
- Cover the pot and leave it alone for 5 minutes to let the curds set. When you check it, the curds should look like custard with a clear separation between curds and whey. If the curds seem too soft or the whey looks too milky, leave it alone for a few more minutes.
- Using a long knife, cut the curd. Slice across the pot in long strokes, then slice diagonally the other way to form one-inch squares. If the curds are hard to cut or don’t really form into distinct squares, don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of it the more often you make mozzarella, and your cheese will still come together.
- Return the pot to the stove and cook the curds. Slowly stir them with a slotted spoon until they reach 105°F. Remove the pot from the heat and continue stirring for two to five minutes. The longer you stir, the firmer your mozzarella cheese will be.
- Prepare your mozzarella cheese to be stretched. Ladle your curds into a microwavable bowl and drain off the whey, but don’t press the curds. Microwave the bowl for one minute, then pour out more whey and gently fold the curds into one piece. Microwave for 30 seconds more, and check that the curds have reached 135°F. If not, microwave the bowl for another 30 seconds.
- The final step in making mozzarella cheese is stretching it. Add the salt and any herbs you’re using, and stretch the cheese until it is smooth and shiny. The more you work the curd, the firmer it will be, so fold it into a ball and stretch it again until it’s as firm as you like it.
- You’ve now finished making homemade mozzarella cheese! It can be eaten immediately, or you can store it in the refrigerator.