Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Easy Cheesy! Let's Make Some Mozzarella!

This last Christmas my friend Deb from the Bradley forum sent me a wonderful gift box containing cheesemaking supplies, a cheesemaking cookbook and a even some gifts for Emma, too. What a sweet lady! She gave me everything I need to start a new hobby and another "If I Can Do it Myself..." to share with you all.

The book is entitled Home Cheesemaking by Ricki Carroll and it is all you need to get yourself starting in making your own cheese. Ricki's recipe for 30 Minute Mozzarella is posted at the New England Cheese Making Supply Company. The cheesemaking supplies sent to me by Deb were purchased there.
Here's what you will need:
  • 1 gallon milk (not ultra-pasteurized!) We used 2% fat milk
  • 1 1/4 cup cool water (chlorine free)
  • 1 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 1/4 tsp liquid rennet (or 1/4 of a rennet tablet)
  • 1 tsp cheese salt
Dissolve the rennet in 1/4 cup of cool water and set aside.Dissolve the citric acid in 1 cup cool water.Pour 1 gallon of milk in a stainless steel or glass pot. (no aluminum or cast iron). Add the citric acid solution to the milk while stirring.
Heat the milk to 90F while stirring.Remove from heat then slowly stir in the rennet and water mixture. Stir with an up and down motion for 30 seconds. Then cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Check to see if a curd has formed. It will be like custard and there will be a clear delineation between the soft solid curd and the watery whey. The whey should be pretty transparent when the curd has formed. If the curd has not separated completely the whey will still look a little milky. If this is the case let it rest for a few more minutes.Cut the curd with a knife that is long enough to reach the bottom of the pot. Slice the curd, all the way to the bottom of the pot in a checker board pattern. The cut again another checker board pattern but this time with the knife at a 45 degree angle with the surface of the curd. This will cut the curd into little chunks.Now return the pot to the stove and heat to 105F all the while gently stirring the curds with a spoon. The goal is to break the curds as little as possible. Once it reaches 105F remove it from the heat and continue to stir it gently for 2-5 minutes. The longer the time you stir, the firmer your cheese will be. I wanted a softer cheese so I only stirred for 3 minutes.Now pour off the whey that is on top. Now you should see these lovely curds at the bottom of your pot.Using a slotted spoon transfer your curds to a microwaveable bowl. Gently drain off more of the whey but do not press or squeeze it out of the curds.

Place the bowl in the microwave on "high" for 1 minute. This is when you might want to put some gloves on or if you have very clean hands that are used to handling hot stuff you can do this bare-handed.

After microwaving it take drain the last bit of whey and add the 1 tsp of cheese salt to the curds. Gently fold in the salt. Return it to the microwave cook it on "high" for another 30 seconds.
Drain the curds again and start stretching the curd. It needs to be 135F to stretch properly. If it's not at this temperature put it back in the microwave on "high" for another 30 seconds.

Stretch and pull the cheese like taffy until it is smooth with a shiny surface. The more the cheese is worked the firmer it will end up.
Form the cheese into a ball or any shape you like. A log, oval or even a braid...from what the recipe says!

Once it's shaped the way you like it, place it in a bath of ice water.Once chilled, it is ready to do what ever you wish eat it!!! I was really pleased at how our cheese turned out. Though it was a low fat cheese it had a wonderful taste and texture.

We're looking forward to trying out more cheese recipes and we promise we will share it with you all!


  1. How neat! I hear real Mozzarella comes from Water Buffalo - We were actually tempted to get some ourselves, but the fact that they are hard to find in the US made us go for Yaks instead. We like rare things.

  2. From what I read water buffalo has the highest butter fat content of any bovine milk so it makes cheese really rich and creamy.
    If you are getting yaks you need to get Ricki Carroll's book for sure ;)