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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alphabe Thursday: M is for Mozzarella

One of the great aspects of blogging is all the inspiration and motivation gleaned from other bloggers.  Recently, I was inspired by a post written by Yvonne at Stone Gable.  She wrote a very informational post, complete with beautiful photography, about making mozzarella.  

I didn’t even know you could make mozzarella cheese at home.  Yvonne provided a link to the New England Cheesemaking CompanyThe company offers cheese making tools and specialty ingredients.  Because I am a novice, I chose one of their beginner mozzarella/ricotta cheese kits.  The kit includes citric acid, rennet, cheese salt, a dairy thermometer, and instructions.  

Rennet: There are two types of rennet used for cheese making purposes.  One is a substance made from the inner lining of the fourth stomach of calves and other young ruminants (any cud-chewing hoofed mammal with an even number of toes and a stomach with multiple chambers) which contains the enzyme rennin.  The second type is a vegetarian substitute made from plants.

Citric Acid:  A weak colorless acid used in flavorings.

Ok, now that we know what we are working with, here's what you will need.

Stainless Steel, or any other non-aluminum or non-cast iron pot with 1 gallon capacity.
Dairy thermometer
Slotted spoon
Long knife
Microwaveable bowl

1 Gallon Whole Milk
¼ Rennet Tablet dissolved in ¼ Cup Non-chlorinated Water
1½ Teaspoons of Citric Acid dissolved in 1 Cup Non-chlorinated Water
1 Teaspoon Cheese Salt

Please note
  • Do not prepare any other food while you are making cheese.
  • Put all food products away
  • Move all sponges, cloths and dirty towels away from your work surface, wipe your sink and stove with soap and water.
  • Finally use your antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.

Crush 1/4 tablet of rennet and dissolve in 1/4 cup of cool non-chlorinated water and set aside to use later.
Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid to 1 cup cool non-chlorinated water and pour into pot.  Add milk to pot while stirring vigorously.  (This will bring the milk to the proper acidity to stretch well later.)  Heat milk to 90*.  As you approach 90*, you may notice the milk beginning to curdle.
At 90*,  remove the pot from the burner and slowly add the dissolved rennet to the milk and stir in a top to bottom motion for about 30 seconds.  Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Check the curd, it will look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey.  If too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.
Cut the curds into a 1" checkerboard pattern.

Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 105*, while slowly stirring the curds with your slotted spoon.  
Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese)
Drain the curds in the colander and place the curds in a microwave safe bowl.  You will now press this curd gently with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. (You may reserve this whey to use in cooking.)
Next microwave the curd on high for 1 minute. You will notice more whey has run out of the curd. Drain off all whey as you go.  Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch (rubber gloves will help since the cheese is almost too hot to touch at this point)  Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each and repeat the kneading.  Knead quickly now as you would bread dough until it is smooth and shiny. Add salt near the finish.

I am sharing this adventure in cheese making with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe Thursday and Michael West’s Foodie Friday


Google Image
At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch like taffy.   I am not talented enough to stretch the cheese and take pictures simultaneously so I borrowed an image from Google. 
Form cheese into a ball or log and drop into ice water to cool and refrigerate.  When cold you can wrap in plastic wrap and it will last for several days but is best when eaten fresh.


  1. La, it looks delicious and I was weaned on mozzarella, the whey runs in my blood, but that is some labor of love to do at home, and I am a wimp. I think I will continue to buy it ready-made at the Italian store. :) xo,

  2. I am impressed! That looks like a big project, bet it tasted great! Now that you've practiced you'll be able to make caprese salad when your tomatoes ripen:@)

  3. You go! I'm so impressed with you willingness to take on a new food challenge. With yummy results.

  4. La, I am telling you, that is absolutely amazing! I could do that right in my own kitchen! I'm not saying I WOULD, but I COULD! Anything that requires exact temperatures and a lot of stirring is really lost on me. Kind of like fudge--everything has to be just right. But I just can't make it work. Either it so runny that we have to eat it with a spoon, or it hardens into a clump on the way from the pan to the dish.

    I loved this post!!!

  5. GOSH! made Mozzarella cheese!..that is fantastic...Have you cut the cheese?teehehe.
    I want some right now!..I love Mozzarella.

  6. Wow! I'm impressed with you making mozzarella at home! It looks great!

  7. Oh my goodness - who knew? I'll bet my daughter would love to do this!

  8. Interesting. But think I'll still get mine at the local Piggly Wiggly.

  9. I didn't know that you could make cheese either. I would love to make some too! I remember when we went to NYC and got fresh mozzarella in little Italy....yummy!

  10. Hey there!! I'm stoppin' by from Alphabe-Thursday. I love Mozzarella in any way. :) I'm amazed that you made it homemade.I bet it tasted wonderful freshley made. Im having Christmas in July starting July 24th. I hope you can join in the fun. I'm still so amazed that you made Mozzarella at home. Enjoyed your post!

    aprons & Old lace

  11. Wow! I didn't realize you could make it at home. I bet it tastes wonderful!

  12. I love fresh mozzarella cheese. I make it with my goat's milk. Your directions are a tiny bit different, and I might try this method because I struggle with consistency in the finished product. I think I don't get enough of the whey out sometimes and it crumbles. Thanks for this great tutorial!


  13. I had problems just making breakfast and you're making job La.

  14. Awesome! Cheese making is on my list of things to explore (along with wine making). You've inspired me to give it a whirl...

  15. WoW! Definitely a labor of love, but the outcome looks yummy.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. I didn't know you could make it at home either! Thanks for sharing!

  17. My grandmother used to make butter, but never mentioned whether or not she made cheese. Probably not as they would had to kill one of the calves for the rennet.

    I'm glad their are options these days to allow you to keep the calf and have the cheese!

  18. How cool is that? I never knew that you could make cheese at home either! It's amazing what we learn from each other through our blogs, right? The cheese you made looks good :) So did it taste like mozzarella you'd buy at the store or much, much better?

  19. Oh wow, I didn't know you could make cheese at home!! WOW! and it looks so good too!!

  20. You did this! I'm so impressed! Could you totally tell the difference? Does prepackaged mozzarella just turn your stomach now?

    What a fun thing to try. I would like to give this a whirl with my Grandkids. Then we could make homemade dough and sauce and do a pizza start to finish!

    Thanks for a marvelously delicious and creative post this week.


  21. La, I am so happy you ventured into the wonderful world of mozzarella making! Isn't it fabulously delicious... and quite easy!
    My garden tomatoes are now producing like crazy so I am making mozzarella cheese for caprese salads.
    Great tutorial! Thanks so much for the shout-out!

  22. I want to try this, it looks like fun. Great job!


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