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Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

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Homemade mozzarella cheese is super easy. No, we’re not kidding. It’s amazingly easy and really delicious. Does it take awhile? Yes. Would it be easier to buy some at the store? Probably. But, this is better. We promise.

This was our second time making the mozzarella, so it went smoother than last time. If it doesn’t go smoothly your first time making it, just remember this: if you follow the instructions, it’s pretty hard to mess it up too badly. You will end up with cheese and you’ll probably learn what to do better the next time.

Before we jump into the recipe, there are a few special ingredients you need: whole milk (neither of us normally have this), liquid rennet (we used vegetable rennet), and citric acid. Once you have those special ingredients, you’re set!

For this post, because it is a very involved process, we’re going to list the ingredients, then have step-by-step instructions. One of the hard things for us was not knowing what any of the steps were supposed to look like, so to help, we took pictures along the way!

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Adapted From: The Homemade Pantry

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/3 teaspoon rennet
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt (plus more to knead into the cheese)
  • 1 1/4 cup cold water
  • Any additions for flavored mozzarella (we used fresh basil for one batch!)

 

Step 1: Combine 1 cup of water with the citric acid and set aside.

Step 2: Combine milk and citric acid/water mixture in a large pot. Stir for 30 seconds. Put the pot over medium heat and heat until it reaches 90 degrees. While the milk is heating up, stir it about once every minute. This could take up to 10 minutes.

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Adding the citric acid/water

Adding the citric acid/water

 

Step 3: While the milk mixture is warming up, combine 1/4 cup of water and the liquid rennet. Set aside.

 

The milk mixture warming up

The milk mixture warming up

 

Step 4: Once the milk mixture reaches 90 degrees, remove it from the heat. Pour the liquid rennet and water into the milk mixture and stir continuously for 30 seconds. Cover the pot and let it sit 7-10 minutes. When you open the lid the milk will have become more solidified (though still quite soft and easy to break apart).

 

Stirring the rennet into the milk mixture

Stirring the rennet into the milk mixture

 

Step 5: Cut up the milk mixture (now separated into curds, the solid, and whey, the liquid). You should try to cut it into 1 inch cubes, though it tends to move a lot. Don’t worry if this isn’t perfect, it’s all going to break up anyways.

 

Cutting up the curds

Cutting up the curds

 

Step 6: Put the pot back over medium heat and heat until the mixture reaches 110 degrees. When it reaches 110 degrees, remove from heat and scoop out the curds with a meshed ladle into a strainer. You want the curds to be able to continue to drain.

 

This is what the curds and whey will look like

This is what the curds and whey will look like

 

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Straining the curds

Straining the curds

 

The whey will start to pool on the curds - this is ok

The whey will start to pool on the curds – this is ok

 

Step 7: Put the curd-less whey over medium to high heat and heat until the whey is at 170 degrees. From this point forward, you want the whey to be between 170 degrees and 180 degrees. Keep an eye on the temperature because it can change while you’re doing the other steps and you might not notice.

Step 8: Split the curds in half, forming each into a loose ball.

 

Splitting the curds

Splitting the curds

 

Step 9: Take one of the curd balls and lower it into the whey (we used the meshed ladle, a metal colander might also work). Leave the curd in there for 1 minute. Take the curd out and squeeze it to form a compact ball.

 

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Step 10: Put the curd (now cheese!) back into the whey for another minute. After one minute, take the cheese out and stretch it many times. At this point, you should add another 1-2 tablespoons of salt directly to the cheese. Repeat this process (1 minute in whey, stretch, back into the whey) at least 5 more times.

 

STRETCH!

STRETCH!

 

Step 11: Once you have finished the stretch process, transfer the cheese to cold water, with a few ice cubes. Leave the cheese in there for about 30 minutes. Transfer to fresh water and store in the refrigerator.

 

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Step 12: Repeat Steps 9-11 with the second curd ball. If you want to add in extras, such as basil, add it in the second time you take the cheese out to stretch (i.e. the time after you add the salt).

 

Adding in basil to the second batch

Adding in basil to the second batch

 

There you have it – homemade cheese! Long, yes, but quite easy!

Might we suggest you also bake some bread to go with that cheese? (Recipe to come!)

 

The finished products

The finished products

 

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So good, Susie couldn't help herself!

So good, Susie couldn’t help herself!

 

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