Homemade mozzarella? Yes! Here's your how-to picture tutorial.
Great for gifting or impressing your friends, this homemade mozzarella cheese recipe is fun and so delish.
Sometimes you tackle a recipe project because it saves you time or money, but sometimes you make something because it’s just so fun!
In the case of this homemade mozzarella, it also brings back the feeling that cooking is magical. You start with a few basic ingredients and tools, and just an hour later you have a completely delicious finished product. It’s really amazing.
But, there are a few steps that seem intimidating, so let’s walk through them and get you on your way to making your first batch of homemade cheese.
First, you’ll need some equipment (nothing fancy):
- Non-reactive (stainless steel, for example) 5 quart pot
- Good thermometer
- Slotted spoon
- Microwave-safe bowl
- Rubber gloves
As far as ingredients go, the list is very short: whole milk, citric acid, rennet, and salt. (Make sure to check out our full recipe for homemade mozzarella cheese for the measurements.)
I’m assuming two of those ingredients are very familiar to you and two might be completely new. Have no fear. Citric acid and rennet are easy to find and will most likely be in the baking/canning section of your grocery store. In fact, you might get lucky and find a little kit that includes all this stuff together.
Probably the most important step in this process is making sure you start with the right kind of milk. While you can use 2% milk, it really won’t work that well.
Whole milk will give you much more product. Also, make sure that the milk is pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized. The ultra variety will never separate correctly and you’ll end up with a soupy cottage cheese situation.
As long as you have a thermometer, making this cheese is really easy. Just add the milk to a pot and heat it to about 85ºF.
Then mix the citric acid with a cup of water and stir that into the milk. The curds will start to form a bit, but continue to heat the milk until it reaches 100ºF.
Then dissolve the rennet in 1/4 cup of water and stir that into the milk. When you add the rennet, stir the milk continuously in an up and down motion for 30 seconds to make sure everything is combined well.
When the milk reaches 105-110ºF, remove it from the heat, cover it, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
That should be long enough for all your curds to separate out from the whey.
Use a slotted spoon to carefully pick up the curds and transfer them to a colander to continue to drain. You can even lightly press on the curds in the colander to press out some extra whey.
Hey, speaking of whey, there’s no need to throw it out. Even though it might look a little funny, there are tons of cooking uses for it. Google around and find something to do with it because you’ll have a lot left over!
When the curds are drained, transfer them to a microwaveable bowl and microwave them on high for about a minute.
This will heat the curds, melting them, and making them easier to work with. Your goal now is to get them combined into a smooth ball.
You can either use your hands for this...
...or a stainless steel spoon (my preference).
As you fold the cheese over itself, sprinkle on your salt and continue to work the cheese until it’s silky and smooth. Don’t be afraid to microwave it for another 30-60 seconds if it isn’t hot enough.
While you're working with the cheese, continue to drain off any extra whey that pools in the bowl.
Now you should be able to easily work with the cheese with your hands. The cheese will still be really hot, so it helps to wear rubber gloves. If you pull the cheese up, it should slowly melt down into a strand.
Or, when you get it the right consistency you can carefully push it up through your fist to form a tight ball.
Whatever shape you go with, once you have it, dunk it in an ice bath to set the shape of the cheese.
And that’s all there is to it! You can serve the cheese slightly warm (my favorite) or store it for later.
Go forth and make cheese!
Nick isn’t sure if this is practical, but it sure is fun! Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.