30 Minute Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

May 29, 2010

I made my own mozzarella cheese!  I’m still excessively proud of myself.  I used it to make some fabulous grilled pizza, and some yummy white pizza.  It was great, the cheese actually tasted like it was supposed to!
The first (and possibly most important) step is, if you have children in your kitchen, to distract them with something entertaining and educational.  Like their favorite ABC show.

Then you may safely proceed with the recipe:

¼ t liquid rennet (or ¼ tablet)
¼ c cold water (non-chlorinated)
1 gallon whole milk (7 pints reconstituted milk from powdered milk + 1 pint cream)
2 t citric acid
1-2 t salt, to taste
Dissolve the rennet in cold water (if using the tablet, crush first).
Pour milk into stainless steel pan (cast iron or aluminum will interfere with the cheese-making process).  Place over medium heat.  Sprinkle citric acid over milk, gently stir while milk heats to 88-90 degrees (use an instant-read or candy thermometer).  Milk will begin to appear slightly curdled.
Add rennet solution to milk, gently stir in an up/down motion to evenly distribute.  Continue heating milk to 105 degrees.  Remove pan from heat and allow to stand undisturbed while curds form (approx 5-15 minutes).  To test curd, press the back of a spoon gently on the surface of the milk next to the pan edge.  Whey will separate from the curd and appear greenish in color while curd will feel firm.

Place stainless steel or plastic strainer over a catch bowl.  If curds are fine and/or soft, line strainer with cheesecloth).  Gently scoop curds from pan into strainer.  Place curds in a microwavable bowl.

 Microwave curds on high for 1 minute, drain off excess whey.  Work cheese quickly (with a spoon or hands) into a ball until cool.  Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each as curds cool down.  Continue to drain whey and work cheese into a ball.  When cheese is almost too hot to touch, knead it quickly like bread dough until smooth and stretchy, sprinkling salt into cheese as you knead.  When cheese stretches like taffy, is shiny, smooth & elastic, it’s ready to eat!  Enjoy warm, or roll into balls, cover and refrigerate for later use.

And then make something delicious, like grilled pizza!

*1 pint = 2 cups.  7 pints = 14 cups. 

14 cups milk made from dry milk powder + 2 cups cream = 1 gallon whole milk
* Whey may be used in baked goods, smoothies, soups, or as a cooking liquid.  Store covered in the fridge for 10 days, or freeze for later use.  (I don’t recommend using it to cook brown rice.  I steamed it to death and couldn’t get it done all the way)
* Citric acid (it’s a powder) can be found in the pharmacy.  It’s pretty pricey.

* Rennet (Junket tablets) may be found in the Jell-O section at the grocery store.   In Salt Lake, Smith’s did NOT have rennet; Macey’s DID have rennet (for $1.79/box).  Good Earth in Sandy also carries cheese making supplies.  For best results, use commercial-grade rennet from a cheese-making supplier. 

*I used a gallon of fresh whole milk.  It was on sale for $1.67 a gallon, so it was cheaper to buy it that way than to reconstitute dry milk and add cream.
*Mozzarella cheese is currently $1.92 /lb at Costco.  At that price, it’s not cost effective to make your own.  Even if you can get your supplies for a few pennies less, consider the time it takes to make the cheese.   More economical?  No.  Whey cooler (ha ha)?  YES!  People are duly impressed when you tell them you made mozzarella cheese!
*This took me a lot longer than 30 minutes, but I hope that’s just because I had a big learning curve.  Next time I know I could do it faster.  I’m not sure if I could do 30 minutes, but under an hour for sure.

By Becky

Becky is a mom to 4 kiddos and wife to an awesome guy. She's a food fanatic and loves creating and improving recipes. Bread is her weakness and delicious food is her passion!