Okay, new hobby folks (surprise, right?): cheese-making. I was pretty stoked when my husband suggested that we try our hand at making our own cheese. We jumped into it full force –like pretty much everything else that tickles our fancy– and got a cheese making kit and a book on how to make cheese (Making Your Own Cheese by Paul Peacock, for those of you who are curious) I had pinned a recipe for mozzarella months ago, so we decided to try that one out first. I tried to take lots of pictures, much to the consternation of my husband, as I’ve been taking pictures nonstop since I got my new camera. Anywho, here is the recipe and some pictures of our efforts from tonight:
Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 gallon whole milk (make sure it is not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 tsp citric acid*
- 1/4 Rennet tablet*
- 2 tsp cheese salt* (It’s really un-iodized salt, so you don’t necessarily have to purchase it from a specialized store)
- Large pot (we used a 12 qt)
- Slotted spoon
1. Pour the milk into the pot and secure the thermometer so that is partially submerged. Sprinkle the citric acid over it and stir to combine it. Turn the burner to medium-low heat and heat the milk to 90 F.
We had to jerry-rig the thermometer with some string but it worked!
2. While the milk is heating up, dissolve the rennet tablet in a 1/4 cup of cool water.
3. When the milk reaches 90 F, turn the burner off and then pour the rennet water over the slotted spoon into the milk. Stir for 20-30 seconds and then let the milk rest for about 10 minutes.
4. After the 10 minutes, the curds and the whey (the yellowish liquid) should have separated out and it will have a more gelatinous texture. Cut the curd into a grid pattern and then transfer them to a microwave safe bowl using the slotted spoon. Try to keep as much of the whey out as possible. We ended up getting a second bowl with a sieve resting on it and pouring the curds and whey through it to get better separation. We did this many times to get as much of the whey out as we possibly could.
5. Now, after you have gotten a lot of the whey out of the way (hehe, get it?!) microwave the curds for 1 minute. Stir, pour off the liquid and then microwave 35-40 seconds more. Stir and pour off any liquid. The cheese should start to look, well more cheese-like. It should be sticking together and be a bit stringy when you pull on it. If not, microwave 35-40 seconds more until it reaches the desired consistency.
6. After the curds have started sticking together a lot better, knead the cheese salt into it. It’s going to be hot so wear gloves if you need to. Once the salt is incorporated microwave for 35-45 more seconds. It should be more tacky and stretchy, like bread dough. If not, microwave in 30 second increments until it reaches the desired consistency.
7. Pull and stretch the cheese until it is shiny and smooth.
Here’s me trying to be artsy fartsy with my camera. I love it so much!
8. Form cheese into a log and then submerge into ice water so it retains its shape.
And there you have it! Your very own homemade and delicious mozzarella cheese! Ours wasn’t quite as smooth as we would have liked, but we were probably too impatient to simply knead it longer. We’re still trying to decide if we should make a pizza with it or use it in a lasagna. Also, this made about a pound of cheese.
*Note, some of these are specialized items that are best purchased from beer and wine supply stores. We use Austin Home Brew.