Making Mozzarella at Home

If you follow me on Twitter, you were kept updated via tweets on my first attempt at making homemade mozzarella. When I finished, some of you were surprised…but no one was as surprised as me!
Last summer, Jayne, the Barefoot Kitchen Witch made mozzarella at home. Of course, she also makes bread from scratch, pasta from scratch, and makes dolls in her “spare time.” So even though I was intrigued for all these months, I really didn’t believe it could be done at home without a chemistry degree or a farmer to hold my hand. Sadly, I have neither. But I really hate paying so much money for the good mozzarella! At our local Food Lion (the only store within 20 miles that has it, believe it or not) it costs $6 for 8 ounces. When we were in Italy, we were buying it like madmen at 2 bucks. Don’t even try to tell me that the bags of shredded mozzarella are cheaper – they aren’t the same. One of the backwardsass black rooted blonde cashiers at Food Lion didn’t even know what fresh mozzarella was when ringing me up – but informed me that mozzarella was her favorite cheese. She just loves those bricks. Gag.

But anyway. I tweeted. Who knows where I can buy a kit to make my own? I knew Jayne has used a kit, so I just assumed that was the way to go. But I got this tweet back from Allison of A Girl, A Market, A Meal that told me no kit was required! She had made mozzarella using a guide from Animal Vegetable Miracle – and all I needed were two unusual (for me) ingredients!
Luckily, I know where the hippies shop (no offense to hippies – you rock) and I sent the Hub there after work to pick up some liquid rennet and powdered citric acid. All told, the two together cost $10, and there’s enough to make, oh, 14 more batches? (and no, I do not know what either of these products are for or do I really care to know.) I also had to buy a gallon of milk – not Ultrapasteurized – just regular old pasteurized. That was $3. I am going to spell out the directions for you here, but please visit this link for the “official” way to do it just in case you think I am full of it.
  • 1 gallon Pasteurized Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Citric Acid, diluted in 1/4 cup cool bottled water (use ceramic or glass bowls)
  • 1/4 tsp. Liquid Rennet, diluted in another 1/4 cup cool bottled water
  • Salt to taste

Pour the milk into a big pot and put over low heat. I kept mine on level 2-3. It took several minutes to get it up to temp. Once the milk reaches 55 degrees, pour in the diluted citric acid and stir. Keep stirring now and then until temp reaches 88 degrees. You’ll see that it is starting to curdle – this is good. At 88 degrees, add the liquid rennet and stir in an up and down fashion. Just keep doing this until the milk is 100 degrees, then turn off the heat. See all the curds? You want the liquid to be almost clear, so if it isn’t, just let it sit there for a couple of minutes.

At this point you want to use a slotted spoon to remove all of the curds from the whey. (Reminds you of Little Miss Muffet, doesn’t it?) I put all of my curds in a glass bowl with a pour edge, that made it easy to drain off the excess liquid. Put on rubber gloves as this gets hot. Now push and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can.

Put the curds in the microwave for one minute. Take it out and squeeze and knead it some more, removing the excess liquid. Do this twoce more, but microwave it for only 35 seconds these two times. Squeeze, knead, drain. You should now be able to pull and knead and stretch the cheese, so add salt to it as you knead – however much you want. If it doesn’t seem stretchy enough, just reheat it again and keep on going. When you can stretch it into a rope (like candy or taffy) – it’s done and ready to be rolled into little balls. You’re done!

I hope you’ll get the guts to try it yourself. Really kind of rewarding, if I do say so myself. Please let me know if you give it a go – I will surely want to see your results! It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s…cheap?At $3.66 for a pound of mozzarella, well, now you’re talking. And that’s even cheaper than The Brick.

Stupid Food Lion Cashiers.

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