Recipe 54: Homemade Mozzarella


I’m back! Thank to everyone for being so patient. I decided to take a little hiatus as I was transitioning to a new work schedule as well as beginning training for an upcoming 12k race.

Lets get to the goods: Homemade Mozzarella. It only takes a half-hour and is an easy “instant gratification” recipe. While it’s always easier to just go to the store and pick up a ball of this cheese, there’s something very satisfying in making your own, not to mention the obvious health benefits of making something so fresh.

This recipe is thanks in large part to this site. Please take a moment to visit that site and check out the notes/tips. They’re great and will help very much in this recipe.

I’ve augmented it to adjust for the preparation, and substituted lemon juice for citric acid, as not only could I not find any at the store, but felt that it was a lot more flavorful that way.

Recipe 54: Homemade Mozzarella

Total Time: 30 minutes+

Yield: 1, 5″ diameter ball of mozzarella

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole milk (2% okay)
  • 1/8 tsp Vegetable Rennet; dissolved in 1/4 cup water (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice (strain it, and should be the juice from one medium lemon. You want fresh because it’s more acidic and has other enzymes otherwise not present in pasteurized lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

Process:

Prepare and gather your ingredients. The rennet I’m using in extra strength, (see link), which is why I only used 1/8 tsp. Pour your gallon of milk into a large pot and turn the stove on to low-med setting. Attach a digital thermometer (it’s way more accurate than an analog one), and slowly heat. There are a couple phases here you should be mindful of:

  1. At 55F-58F, add your lemon juice and stir well. You’ll start to see some micro clumps.
  2. At 85-90F, add your rennet/water mixture and stir well. Continue heating.
  3. At about 100F, you’ll start to see larger clumps of the cheese forming. Less is more when it comes to stirring at this point so large clumps of curd can form. Stop heating the pot once the cheese starts to pull away into a large mass under a layer of whey.
  4. Let the curds and whey rest for 5 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove large chunks of curd, pressing out the whey. Then use a large sieve over a large bowl, covered in cheese cloth to pour the remaining mixture through to separate out all of the curds. Wrap up the curds by gathering the cheesecloth and twist the slack to press the whey out. Transfer the pressed cheese into a large enough microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 40 seconds. Put on 2 layers of clean dishwashing gloves to protect your hands from the heat. This gets pretty hot, so be careful.

After 40s, sprinkle your salt into the mixture, and knead with gloves on, pressing out more of the whey.

Microwave another 40 seconds and knead again to create a smoother texture by distributing the heat from the microwave. Microwave another 40 seconds, knead a bit longer, and transfer to cheese cloth. Gather in the sides of the cloth and twist to form the cheese into a nice round, or any shape you desire.

At this point, you can start to eat it. The original recipe talks about heating it to a consistency that can be stretched, but I didn’t have that luck in the two times I tried, so I just stuck with kneading and gathering into a round. Just as tasty!

 

To store, place into a container and cover the cheese with reserved whey so it doesn’t dry out. Cover and refrigerate for up a week!

 

Enjoy!

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