Homemade mozzarella cheese is one of those things you have to try at least once in your life. It is as simple as it looks. And the taste and texture is amazing.
When I first came across the recipe for homemade mozzarella cheese I couldn’t fathom using a microwave to finish the cheese off. I watched a few YouTube videos, ordered some rennet and citric acid online, and waited impatiently.
I was eager to see for myself. The end product did not disappoint.
- 1 non-reactive pot (ie: stainless steel) large enough to fit milk
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Glass bowl (microwave proof)
- Slotted spoon
- Strainer / cheesecloth
- Rubber gloves (optional) Cheese curds get HOT
- 1 gallon of milk (NOT ultra-high pasteurized)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Citric acid
- ¼ teaspoon Liquid rennet
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
Mix citric acid into milk and pour into a non-reactive pot (ie: stainless steel)
- Heat milk until it reaches 95F, stir occasionally to make sure it is not scalding, and that citric acid is dissolved.
- Take off heat
- Mix rennet in ½ cup water before pouring into the pot.
- Gently mix in rennet using a slight up and down movement for 30 seconds.
- Cover and leave for 15 minutes so that curds can form
- With a long knife (or offset spatula) cut the curds into 1” squares all the way to the bottom of the pot.
- Reheat to a temperature of 110F – stir very gently to evenly distribute heat, try not to break up the curd.
FORMING THE CHEESE
- Take off heat and spoon curds into strainer. Using gloved hands or wide wooden spoon get as much of the whey out as you can, and gather into a clump.
- Put into a glass bowl and microwave for 1 minute.
- Add salt and continue pulling/folding, squeezing and kneading. It should be starting to form a ball. It may be getting a little shiny. Continue until the cheese can no longer be easily handled and return to the microwave.
- Microwave in 30 sec bursts and repeat the stretching/folding process until you have a consistency that will stretch without breaking, is shiny and forms a ball easily.
- To harden quickly, place into a bowl with ice cubes in it.
- After 15 minutes or so, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate.
- This will last at least a week.
My favorite way to eat mozzarella is generous slices, a touch of olive oil, liberal fresh ground pepper, and chopped chives and/or basil. Add some fresh sliced bell pepper and sliced tomato straight from the garden… yum.
Homemade mozzarella does not melt as easily as store bought. It gets soft, and hot, and stringy, and yummy… but it just does not melt all the way if used in slices.
Another great use is sliced or cubed on top of a big salad with all the fixings.
This is a soft cheese, to grate it, pop it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes before hand. It is usually too soft to grate straight from the fridge, it crumbles and squishes.
DON’T THROW THE WHEY OUT
Whey may look ugly, but it a nutritional winner. It has high levels of protein in it. Use it in baking, bread making, smoothies, stock… or feed it to your acid loving plants. Blueberries and tomatoes love it.
If your curds are small, lumpy, and more like cottage cheese, try another brand of milk. I have had this occur using Dairy Pure, which poses no problems for others. Now, I buy whole or 2% organic clover brand for homemade mozzarella and greek yogurt. Never had it fail.
Depending on where you live in the US, your local brands of milk will differ. Raw milk is nearly $14 gallon here… that is crazy, goat milk is also really expensive. Finding a local co-op might prove difficult. There is nothing better than fresh milk (think dairy farm… always pints of fresh milk in the fridge, and all that floated heavy cream!).
What is your favorite way to use homemade mozzarella?
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The perfect accompaniment to your homemade pasta.
- My favorite mozzarella cheese making video is by Jess over at Roots and Refuge : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMm8CJuDUQw&t=912s