Nothing is better than homemade mozzarella cheese! Don’t let this recipe scare you! Once you master this, you will never return to store bought cheese!
1 Gallon Whole Milk
1 ¼ tsp. Citric Acid Powder + 1/4 c. Room Temp. Water
1/4 tsp. Liquid Rennet
1 tsp. Cheese salt (microwave method only)
- Long, Slotted Spoon
- Microwave-safe Plate or Bowl
- Large Stainless Bowl
- Cheese Vat or Stainless Pot (1 gallon)
- Long Knife
- 2 Large Wooden or Stainless Spoons
BRINE (Hot Water Method Only)
- 1 1/2 c. Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Gallon Cold Water
- Put the cool milk into the vat or pot. Dissolve the citric acid into 1/4 cup of cool water. Stir this combination into the cool milk. Bring the temperature of the milk to 88° F and remove from heat. Mix the rennet into another 1/4 cup cool water and stir into the milk for about 10 seconds.
- Allow the milk to sit for 15 minutes to coagulate. When it has coagulated enough, it should be firm, and when you dip your finger into the curds, it will break cleanly. Cut into 1-inch cubes and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Using a stove-top cheese vat or sink of hot water, slowly bring the temperature of the curds to 108° F. Hold at 108° F for 35 minutes. Stir gently with the long, slotted spoon every 5 to 10 minutes to keep the curds from matting (sticking) together. Pour the curds into a colander and allow to drain for 15 minutes.
- Once the curds have drained, you will need to heat treat them. This can be achieved using a microwave or hot water. Directions for both methods are below. I prefer the microwave method and find it less messy.
MICROWAVE METHOD (to stretch)
Keep in mind that the time in the microwave can vary depending on how powerful your microwave is.
- Break a cupful of curds into a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of cheese salt over the curds and heat in the microwave for 50 seconds. Remove from the microwave and work with a spoon mix the curds together.
- Place back into the microwave and heat again for another 25 seconds. Work quickly pressing and folding with the back of a spoon until you can handle the curds. Using your hands, knead and shape the curds into a ball.
- Place the ball into ice water to hold its shape or place into a container you want the cheese to take the shape of and refrigerate. The cheese will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
HOT WATER METHOD (to stretch)
- Cut the cheese curds into 1-inch pieces and place into a large stainless bowl.
- Heat enough hot water to cover the curds to 170° F. Pour the hot water over the curds and quickly use 2 large wooden or stainless spoons to work and stretch the curds until you can shape them into a ball. (This is where I pour the hot water over the curds, then pour it off before I try to stretch them. The first “stretch” is more of a kneading. Subsequent stretches should have the cheese getting stretchier and stretchier. Pull and twist to stretch it using your hands. It’s done stretching when it pulls very long without cracking.)
- Once shaped, place into a cold brine solution for 30 minutes. This will cool the cheese quickly, hold the shape, and salt it all at the same time.
- After 30 minutes, remove from the cool water, wrap, and refrigerate. The cheese will keep for about 2 weeks.
For information on cheese making basics, please go here.
Excerpt taken from A Cheesemaker's Journey by Mary Jane Toth
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