How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese - Delishably - Food and Drink
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How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese with Cracked Black Pepper

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese with Cracked Black Pepper

Making Fresh Mozzarella From Scratch

Making cheese at home is easier than you might think. Homemade mozzarella is creamy in texture and mild in flavor. You can add herbs or black pepper to the cheese curd during stretching or sprinkle herbs over the chilled cheese ball and serve with crackers. Or freeze the mozzarella ball, grate it and make a delicious homemade pizza.

It's best if you can find fresh cow's milk from a local farm. If fresh milk isn't available, try a reliable source of pasteurized milk. Commercial brands of milk can be unreliable since they may be super-heated, which breaks down cheese proteins. Milk pasteurized at high heat may not yield a good-quality mozzarella cheese.

You will need to buy a couple of specialty ingredients: rennet and citric acid. Both can be found in most modern grocery stores. If they're not available in your area, you can easily purchase them online. You'll also need a food thermometer.

Cheesemaking is an art. It becomes easier to make cheese with practice. Once you understand how the curd feels and looks when it's ready to cut, you'll turn out delicious balls of mozzarella cheese every time.

Vegetable or Animal Rennet?

Rennet is an enzyme used in making most cheese. Vegetable rennet is obtained from special types of mold or plants. Animal rennet comes from the stomachs of calves, lambs or baby goats. Rennet can be purchased in tablet or liquid form. Either type works well and should be diluted before introducing it into the milk. This enzyme prefers temperatures from 85–105 degrees Fahrenheit and will become deactivated at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Make Mozzarella Cheese Photo Gallery

After mixing in the diluted citric acid, heat pasteurized milk to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If using raw milk, heat to only 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

After mixing in the diluted citric acid, heat pasteurized milk to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If using raw milk, heat to only 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the rennet, which has been pre-dissolved in water.

Add the rennet, which has been pre-dissolved in water.

Let the milk rest for 5-20 minutes, or until it has thickened. It will look similar to yogurt, with the whey separating from the curd.

Let the milk rest for 5-20 minutes, or until it has thickened. It will look similar to yogurt, with the whey separating from the curd.

Use a long knife to cut the curd in a criss-cross pattern

Use a long knife to cut the curd in a criss-cross pattern

Stir and heat the curds gently until the whey reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit (for pasteurized milk) or 90 degrees Fahrenheit (for raw milk).

Stir and heat the curds gently until the whey reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit (for pasteurized milk) or 90 degrees Fahrenheit (for raw milk).

Take the pot off the heat and stir for another 2-5 minutes. Stir it 5 minutes if you like firmer cheese, less for softer cheese.

Take the pot off the heat and stir for another 2-5 minutes. Stir it 5 minutes if you like firmer cheese, less for softer cheese.

Drain off the whey.

Drain off the whey.

Save the whey for another use.

Save the whey for another use.

Heat cheese curds in microwave on high heat for 1 minute.

Heat cheese curds in microwave on high heat for 1 minute.

Stretch and pull the cheese, like taffy. Be gentle. More whey will drain off.

Stretch and pull the cheese, like taffy. Be gentle. More whey will drain off.

Heat the cheese another 30-60 seconds and stretch, until cheese can be formed into a ball.

Heat the cheese another 30-60 seconds and stretch, until cheese can be formed into a ball.

Shape cheese into a ball.

Shape cheese into a ball.

Chill fresh mozzarella in cold water (15 minutes) then ice water (1.5 hours). Drain off water and store the cheese in the refrigerator in a tupperware or plastic bag.

Chill fresh mozzarella in cold water (15 minutes) then ice water (1.5 hours). Drain off water and store the cheese in the refrigerator in a tupperware or plastic bag.

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min

1 hour

2 large balls of mozzarella cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water + 1/4 tablet Vegetable rennet, Dissolved
  • 1/2 cup water + 1 1/2 teaspoons Citric acid, Dissolved
  • 1 gallon Cow's milk, Preferably unpasteurized
  • 2 teaspoons Non-iodized salt, Optional

Instructions

  1. Dissolve citric acid in 1 cup water. In a separate bowl, dissolve the rennet in 1/4 cup water.
  2. Pour dissolved citric acid and water into a large pot. Pour one gallon of milk into the pot, stirring vigorously so the citric acid is distributed evenly throughout the milk.
  3. Heat milk to 88 degrees Fahrenheit for raw milk or 90 degrees Fahrenheit for pasteurized milk.
  4. Take off heat and add dissolved rennet, using up and down motions to stir the rennet into the milk. Stir for no more than 20 seconds. Stop as soon as you notice the milk is thickening.
  5. Let the milk sit for 10–30 minutes, or until the curd is firm. It will look similar to yogurt, with the yellow whey separating from the solidified milk mass.
  6. Slice the curd with a long knife.
  7. Stir curd and whey very gently for 1–2 minutes.
  8. Put the pot back onto the burner and heat slowly, stirring gently but constantly, until the whey reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit for raw milk or 110 degrees Fahrenheit for pasteurized milk.
  9. Drain the whey off and save for another use.
  10. Heat the drained curd in a microwave on high for 1 minute. Stretch and knead the curd like taffy. Heat another 30–60 seconds and pull until it's glossy and can be formed into a ball.
  11. Chill the cheese ball in refrigerated water for 15 minutes. Add ice and chill another 1 1/2 hours. Drain off water and store the cheese in a plastic bag or Tupperware.

Stovetop or Waterbath Method

For those of you who don´t use a microwave, you can also heat the curd on the stovetop.

  1. Heat pot of water or whey (you can use the whey you drained off the curd) to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Transfer the curds to a colander, folding and draining off the whey.
  3. Dip the colander with the curds into the hot water a few times, folding with a spoon, until stretchy. Curds much reach 160–170 degrees Fahrenheit before you can stretch them.
  4. Remove curd and stretch it like taffy. You may need gloves to do this. If the curd isn´t stretchy enough, return it to the water bath.
  5. Add non-iodized salt, if desired. Stretch the cheese more, until it is soft and shiny and can be formed into a ball.
how-to-make-homemade-mozzarella

What Can I Do With Leftover Whey?

Whey is high in protein. Freeze it in ice cube trays and store the cubes in the freezer for use in smoothies. Or dilute it 50-50 with water and pour on acid-loving plants. Tomato plants flourish when watered with diluted whey. Don't use whey on plants until they're mature. You can also use whey to make homemade ricotta cheese.

Marinated Mozzarella Cheese

Marinated mozzarella cheese is delicious with crackers. Or stick marinated mozzarella cubes with toothpicks and serve as hors d'oeuvres. Combine:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, dried italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine ingredients. Chop 1 pound of mozzarella cheese in cubes. Marinate in olive oil and herbs for 8 hours or overnight.

How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Questions & Answers

Question: Will adding a bit of cornflour to homemade mozzarella remove the water in it so that we can use it on pizzas without the pizza becoming soggy?

Answer: Your question about cornflour is interesting. I’ve never heard that cornflour decreases the water content of fresh mozzarella. Please let me know if you try it and it’s successful. I do know that freezing the mozzarella for a week and then draining on towels while thawing can help remove some of the water. You can also slice it and leave it in a sieve so some of the water drains off before dressing the pizza. I hope that helps!

© 2016 Vespa Woolf

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 04, 2018:

Janisa, mozzarella is delicious and fun to make at home. I recommend buying it online if you can’t find it in stores. Culturesforhealth.com has a nice variety of cultures to choose from.

Janisa from Earth on April 02, 2018:

This looks so much more delicious than the store bought versions. Where can I find rennet? Never seen it before. I'm really enjoying your recipes

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 26, 2017:

The way you did this, it just looks like fun. And oh the results of my own homemade cheese. This is going into a place and won't my family be surprised and delighted to find it in their stockings!

Stella Aligizaki from Greece on November 22, 2017:

Very descriptive article. Thank you. I love mozzarella.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 08, 2017:

Rebecca Graf, by reliable milk source I mean a local farm that processes milk hygienically. You can also used store bought milk, but I don´t recommend UHT milk common in European countries.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on October 12, 2017:

What do you mean by reliable milk source? We cannot purchase fresh milk. :(

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 29, 2016:

I'm glad you're going to try this AudreyHowitt!

Audrey Howitt from California on November 27, 2016:

Yum--I love love making cheeses but have never tried making this--but your steps look very clear and easy--so I think I will give it a go!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 25, 2016:

I like the way you presented this hub. Making Mozarella cheese sounds challenging and exciting!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 28, 2016:

HotBer, that´s an excellent question. Here are the steps for using the stovetop, or waterbath method:

1. Heat pot of water or whey (you can use the whey you drained off the curd) to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Transer the curds to a colander, folding and draining off the whey.

3. Dip the colander with the curds into the hot water a few times, folding with a spoon, until stretchy. Curds much reach 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit before you can stretch them.

4. Remove curd and stretch it like taffy. You may need gloves to do this. If the curd isn´t stretchy enough, return it to the water bath.

5. Add non-iodized salt, if desired. Stretch the cheese more, until it is soft and shiny and can be formed into a ball.

Enjoy!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 28, 2016:

Thank you for your kind comment, AliciaC.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 28, 2016:

Thank you for your comment Kyriaki Chatzi!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 27, 2016:

Your instructions and photos are great, vespawoolf. Thanks for sharing another interesting recipe article.

HotBer on September 27, 2016:

Excellent Hub, thank you! Wondering if you have a work around for folks without a microwave oven?

Kyriaki Chatzi on September 27, 2016:

I simply LOVE cheese. Mozzarella is my go-to cheese for pizzas.

To be honest, though, it never crossed my mind to make some at home. But, you never know...

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 26, 2016:

Thank you Kristen Howe!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 26, 2016:

Thank you for your kind words sallybea!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on September 26, 2016:

This is very interesting to know on how to make mozzarella cheese, though I never heard of rennet before. Great lens.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on September 26, 2016:

Wonderful hub with great images and instructions. I would love to try this one day but don't really have access to milk which would be suitable. Nevertheless, I think you have done a fantastic job on this Hub.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 26, 2016:

Carb Dive, I'm happy you're going to make your own mozzarella cheese! It's so worth the effort and tastier than the cheese you buy in the grocery store.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 26, 2016:

With your encouragement I m-i-g-h-t just have the courage to give this a try. I love cheese, and I make a lot of my own food, but have never attempted making cheese. Will definitely give this a try. Thanks for the great instructions.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 26, 2016:

FlourishAnyway, thank you for your thoughtful comment!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 26, 2016:

This really amazes me. I've always bought mozzarella at the store (usually pre-sliced or shredded) and never thought about what it takes to make it. Your step-by-steps are insightful and helpful to those who will be trying and interesting even for those who just want to look to see what's involved. Well done!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 26, 2016:

Patty Inglish, MS, I'm glad you found this information useful and understandable. I hope you enjoy making and eating your own homemade mozzarella cheese.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 26, 2016:

ChitrangadaSharan, I'm so glad this article inspired you to make your own homemade mozzarella cheese!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 26, 2016:

Excellent hub and you presented it so well with detailed instructions and helpful pictures!

I am always fascinated by the cheese making process and have watched it on food channels on television though never tried it on my own.

Now you have inspired me to do it myself.

Thanks for sharing!

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 26, 2016:

I like this recipe, because the photos are useful and the instructions are understandable - much more so than a recipe I tried a few years ago! I'll be trying this soon.