Mozzarella Cheese

Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and homemade mozzarella cheese

Fresh made Mozzarella cheese, served here with tomato and basil


Mozzarella Cheese

makes about 1  1/2 pounds of cheese

1 gallon whole milk
2 teaspoons citric acid
1 rennet tablet
kosher salt to taste

About 2 hours prior to starting, remove milk from the refrigerator. (You need milk over 50 degrees F. before you begin) Pour milk into a large non-reactive pot. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of citric acid in 1/4 cup of non-chlorinated water (boil it first, then let cool before using. Boiling will get rid of the chlorine in tap water). Dissolve the rennet tablet in another 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water and set aside.

Pour the dissolved citric acid into the pot of milk, stirring for 1 minute. Add the powdered  citric acid and stir another minute. Slowly heat milk to 88 – 90 degrees Farenheit. NO HOTTER! (This will take 15 minutes or so) Remove pan from heat, pour in dissolved rennet, and stir for 30 seconds. Cover pot and let sit undisturbed for about 30 minutes or so, until you get a clean break*.

Mozzarella cheese after clean break

Mozzarella curds after clean break

When you get a clean break, cut the curd with a knife into 1 inch cubes, then cover and let sit for another 20 to 30 minutes. Add heat, gently stirring often, until you reach 108 degrees Fahrenheit. (Curds will shrink and drop so stir gently often to avoid scorching.)

Remove pan from heat. Let curds rest for a few minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer to catch curds, catching the whey in a separate bowl or pot if desired for making ricotta cheese later.

Let curds drain, then press gently to expel any more whey. Place curds in a glass bowl, breaking them up gently with your fingers. Sprinkle with salt and microwave for 10 to 15 second intervals for a total of 1 minute, pressing between each heating session to extract more whey. Pour off whey each time. After 1 minute of heating, you should be able to start kneading the curds, stretching them.  It should form into a shiny ball. Place mozzarella balls into cool water and use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days, replacing water daily. Enjoy!

*A clean break is when a finger inserted into the surface of the milk breaks the curd and the liquid whey is separate from it. Time is not the important part, but you need a clean break before proceeding.


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