This mozzarella recipe can really be made in 30 minutes.
If you’ve never tasted fresh, homemade mozzarella, you’re going to love, love, love this article. It seems intimidating and time consuming, but really, it’s so simple you can do it in an hour.
Before you start, make sure you have citric acid on hand (I use lemon juice, but you can buy citric acid tablets at Amazon) and animal rennet (or vegetable rennet).
Citric acid is the same stuff that makes lemons mouth-puckering sour – it’s completely natural, and not dangerous in any way.
Animal and vegetable rennet accomplish the same thing: they allow the milk curds to coagulate into cheese. Don’t be intimidated by this – it’s no more involved than measuring out any other liquid.
How to Make Fresh, Homemade Mozzarella
Start with a gallon of milk – make sure it’s not ultra-pasteurized (there will be a UP on the label, or it will say ultra-pasteurized).
Ultra-pasteurized milk has been heated to a very high degree to kill off any nasties, but it’s also had the good stuff killed off, so it won’t coagulate properly.
For this recipe, you can use 1%, 2% or whole milk. I used 2%. I don’t recommend low fat milk for any cheese or yogurt recipe – I’ve just not had good luck with it.
Pour your milk into a large pot, and add your 1/4 teaspoon citric acid.
Heat your milk to 90º, stirring slowly. Once it’s reached 90º, remove it from the heat, and add 1/4 teaspoon rennet. Count to 30, stirring slowly.
Let the milk mixture rest. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes for it to coagulate, sometimes it takes 1/2 hour. You’ll know it’s done when the milk has solid chunks in it (these are the curds).
Cut the curds into chunks (still in the pot) using a knife. There will also be liquid (this is the whey).
Return your pot to the stove, and heat the curds to about 105º. (I’m not going to lie, when I did this recipe for this article, I accidentally let the curds heat to 140º, and it still turned out ok, so don’t sweat it if you go a little over 105º).
As the curds are heated, the separate more from the whey. This is important, because the curds are what will create your cheese.
Once the curds are heated to 105º, remove the pot from the heat, and let rest so the curds separate even more from the whey. The curds will start to sink to the bottom.
Next, you’ll want to separate the curds from the whey. You can use a slotted spoon, or butter muslin.
I personally use muslin because it’s more efficient. I just place my muslin over a bowl, add the curds and whey, and lift the muslin to allow the whey to drain off.
Place the curds into a microwaveable bowl. You’re going to heat them to 135º, 30 seconds at a time. The curds need to reach this temperature so they become flexible and able to be molded into balls.
Soon you’ll find the curds get more rubbery and solid. Wearing gloves, stretch the curds, and form them into balls.
You’re done! You can either eat your mozzarella fresh, or refrigerate and use for a week.
You’ll be left with a lot of whey after you’re done – in my next article, I’ll tell you what to do with all that whey (more cheese!!)
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.