If you are new to my articles, I try to make things as fun as possible while also teaching you a new life skill.
Today we are diving into the art of cheese making. More specifically, mozzarella cheese making. Remember, recipes are only a place to start. You can add or create your own once you get the hang of things.
Preparations For Mozzarella Cheesemaking
- Stainless steel, glass, and enamel are fine.
- When cleaning, rinse first in cold water to remove all milk residue and then proceed to wash it.
Cleaning Your Butter Muslin
- Butter Muslin is first rinsed in cold water and then washed right away. If periodically boiled with a little baking soda, it will stay fresh and clean for cheesemaking.
- Keep your rennet tablets in the freezer. (They will keep for years.)
- Citric Acid and cheese salt may be stored indefinitely at room temperature in a dry, cool place. (Moisture will lower the shelf life.)
The Option of Pasteurizing Raw Milk
- Heat in a stainless-steel pot to 145° for 30 minutes. Cool quickly.
What Type of Milk Can You Use?
- You can use cow’s milk (raw or pasteurized).
- Goat’s milk
- Whole or skimmed
Try to use the freshest milk possible and support your local farmers’ market if you do not have your own animals ;). Also, ultra-pasteurized, meaning over 172°, milk does not work in this particular recipe as the high treatment denatures the protein. The more butterfat in your milk, the tastier your cheese will be.
How to Make Mozzarella Cheese
This recipe yields approx. 3/4 pound and takes around 30 minutes once you’re ready. The recipe is from the New England Cheesemaking Company.
- One gallon of milk. You can do up to three gallons at a time and is what we do on our farm. Simply triple the recipe.
- 1 1/4 cup of cool water (chlorine-free).
- 1 1/2 tsp. Citric acid.
- 1/4 rennet tablet (1/4 tsp. if using liquid rennet, which is what we use.)
- 1 tsp. cheese salt
- One-gallon stainless steel pot or any non-aluminum or non-cast iron pot.
- Dairy thermometer
- Slotted spoon
- Long knife (optional)
- Microwaveable bowl if using a microwave oven.
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet or liquid into 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. If using the liquid rennet, store it back in your refrigerator.
- Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.
- Pour 1 gallon of milk into your pot and stir vigorously while adding the citric acid solution.
- Heat the milk to 90°F while stirring.
- Remove the pot from the burner and slowly stir in the rennet solution with an up and down motion for approximately 30 seconds.
- Cover the pot and leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Check the curd. It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd and the whey. (See picture below). If the curd is too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes. If your milk did not form a curd at all, it could be your choice in milk.
- Cut the curd with a knife that reaches to the bottom of your pot. You cut so you make a design such as a square grid. Note: if the curd is not firm enough and is bunchy or moving around when you try to cut it, that’s okay. It’s not ruined. Simply follow the next step and stop cutting the curd.
- Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 105°F while slowly moving the curds around with your spoon. Remember an up and down motion. (Note: If you are stretching your curds with the waterbath method instead of the microwave, heat the curds to 110°F in this step.)
- Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese.)
- Pour off the floating whey or scoop out the glob of mozzarella cheese and proceed to the next step.
- This is the Microwave Method we use. However, if you plan to use the waterbath method, skip down to number 19. Ladle your curds into a large microwaveable bowl and drain off as much whey as you can without pressing the curds too much. Put on your rubber gloves or use your freshly washed hands.
- Place the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute to 1 minute 15 seconds.
- Remove and drain off the whey as you gently fold the curds into one piece. Add 1 Tbls. salt (optional).
- Microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain again and stretch the curd. It must be 135°F to stretch correctly.
- Stretch the mozzarella cheese by pulling like taffy until it is smooth and shiny. The more you work, the cheese, the firmer it will be. You can taste it at this point :).
- Now form your cheese into a log or ball or braid it, make it into bite-sized morsels, or even make it into string cheese. We put ours in a container and let cool in the refrigerator.
- When finished, submerge it in ice water. This will cool it down and allow the cheese to hold its shape. This step is critical if you are forming balls, string cheese, and braids as it protects the silky texture and keeps it from becoming grainy.
- Waterbath Method. Heat a pot of water to 185°F.
- Ladle your curds into a colander, folding the curds gently as you drain off the whey.
- Dip the curds in the colander into the hot water. After several times take a spoon and fold the curds until they start to become elastic and stretchable. This happens when the curd temperature reaches 135°F (You may want to do half the curds at a time in this step to ensure even heating).
- When it is stretchable, remove the curd from the liquid and pull like taffy. This stretching elongates the proteins. If it does not stretch easily, return it to the hot water for more heat.
- At this point, you can add 1 tsp more or less salt and or herbs and work it in into the cheese. Stretch the cheese until smooth and shiny. Now we usually slice off a few pieces and eat it hot ;).
- You can now form your cheese into a log, ball, bite-size morsels, or even make it into string cheese.
- When you’re finished, submerge the cheese in ice water immediately and leave for 10 minutes. This cools it down and allows your cheese to hold its shape, protecting the silky texture keeping it from becoming grainy. Refrigerate or eat.
That’s it! You can use this homemade mozzarella cheese to make pizza, use on a meat and cheese tray, shred for any pasta dish, etc.
Are you interested in making your own yogurt? If so, Click Here.