Homemade: Mozzarella Cheese

The past month or so I have been trying my hand at homemade cheese. I first heard about making cheese from Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – which is a fantastic, five-star read. Before that I never would have thought of making cheese. I always thought about cheese as a base product, like milk or salt, you can’t make it. You just have to buy it. But, oh buddy, I was wrong.

I bought Ricki Carroll’s book, Home Cheese Making, and flagged some of the first cheeses I wanted to make. Things I learned first: (1) Softer cheeses, like ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream, and mozzarella, are the easiest to make. (2) You must use milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized. Other than that, any kind of milk is okay. (3) Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients first. You can get the oddball ingredients like calcium chloride, citric acid, and rennet from Leener’s ( I – HEART – LEENER’S).

The only recipe I’ve mastered (or tried, for that matter) so far is 30-minute mozzarella. And really, I did make mozzarella in thirty minutes today. Yay! Once I got it down (took about three tries because I didn’t add salt to the first two batches) it’s very simple. Start with a large pot and one gallon of milk. You will need a thermometer as well:

Heat the milk slowly to 55 degrees Farenheit. Then add the citric acid (dissolved in cool water). Heat to 90 degrees Farenheit and add the rennet (dissolved in cool water). Then stir every once in awhile and keep heating to 105 -110 degrees. At that point, turn the heat off but keep stirring every once in awhile until the mixture looks like this:

Curds separated from the whey. The whey should be yellowy and translucent. Scoop out the curds into a bowl.

Then press down the curds and pour off the whey. Microwave the curds for 20 seconds and then knead them like dough (in the bowl). Also, at this time add about 1 tsp. or salt (sea salt or kosher salt, not iodized salt).

Once the cheese/curds cool off a bit while you are kneading them, microwave again for 20 seconds. The cheese gets pretty hot so be careful. Knead again and microwave again until the cheese can stretch out like taffy and not break. Then roll into balls and place in ice water for 30 minutes or so.

You can store this in the refrigerator for several weeks. It is a bit softer and more difficult to slice and great than store-bought mozzarella, but dare I say, more tasty than the store-bought. Plus, you can tell friends you made it and they will revere you as a great domestic queen (or king). Oh yeah. 🙂 Something like that.


5 Responses to “Homemade: Mozzarella Cheese”

  1. Melanie Says:

    Glad to see you are back…sorry you have been having a funky time. I will continue to keep you in prayers…esp for selling that house!
    You are getting me in trouble…I ordered the books you recommended and cheese making ingredients from Leeners. : ) You’re cheese lookes amazing! Can’t wait to try!

  2. shannon Says:

    I do revere you as a domestic queen… Hail Kristen!
    Thanks for the food and fellowship tonight, you and Brad are such great friends.

  3. misty Says:

    this is misty from ravelry (secretsoforual) and i just popped over.. i LOVED velvet elvis and that quote about being dust… so well, i’m glad i “found” you on here too!

  4. Melanie Says:

    I tried the mozzarella….delicious!!!! Thanks for the inspiration! I will never eat it store bought again!
    : )

  5. Melanie Says:

    OK – the way I rolled it is taken from how I learned to make flour tortillas – I pinched off three equal sized lumps – the cheese has to be warm and workable, I guess you could zap it for a few more seconds to get it to the right temp…anyway, working with both hands, quickly tuck the edges under – go around and around till you get it into a ball shape – the underside won’t be rounded, you’ll see where it gets tucked under…just put that part down on the plate. : ) I tried looking on youtube for tortilla making, but no one does it like my DH’s Grandma, where I learned it. I hope you can “see” what I am talking about.
    I wasn’t trying to one-up you!!!!

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