Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Today I am blogging about making homemade mozzarella cheese. Yes it can be done. Yes it's very easy. Yes it will save you tons of money if you're into buying lots of mozzarella cheese at the grocery store.

First things first - yes I know this is kinda weird. Who makes their own cheese? We do. Sometimes. that is. We first made homemade mozzarella about a year or two ago and did it a few times then forgot about the activity until this weekend. You just need a few ingredients and supplies most of which can be bought at regular grocery stores or online. Mozzarella is a soft cheese and the easiest of cheeses to make at home for beginners (like us!). It takes only about an hour and you can eat it immediately. 

For beginners I recommend this site. It's Ricki Carroll's site and she is the Cheese Queen. You can buy her book which is excellent! I am not going to spell out the entire recipe here today but please check her site out or hit up your library (hint that is what I did). 

Ingredients & materials: 
  • 1 gallon of whole milk
  • Citric Acid 
  • Rennet tablets
  • tap water
  • thermometer - preferably digital or candy
  • cheese cloth 
Ideally we'd use 1 gallon of organic whole milk but since we're on a budget we got Fresh to Frozen milk which was pretty cheap. Whole milk is ideal for this since it gives you the best tasting mozzarella and something to do with the fat content works best. I think you can use 2% or skim but it yields less and is more bland.

We got our citric acid at a local independent Indian grocery store. For very cheap. You may be able to find it at Whole Foods, speciality health stores, or of course online. You use 2 tsp. per gallon of milk so you don't need a lot. The rennet tablets we got at a regular grocery store. They usually have them on the top shelf by the jello. There is also such a thing as liquid rennet but I have no experience with that. I'd say just look up the conversion from tablet to liquid online.

This is one of the tools we've got to make DIY mozzarella. It's a fine, mesh, low, wide scooper. We've experimented with other spoons and such but this works great for certain steps.

This is the first step. Pour milk into non reactive pot (no aluminum or cast iron). See photo. Just milk at first. Then add citric acid.

For our milk batch we used 1/2 a rennet tablet. I just cut it and saved the rest for later. Dissolve the 1/2 tablet in 1/4 cup of water and stir.

You use a thermometer and put the stove on low/medium heat until it gets to the magical number of 88F. Our digital thermometer's battery died so we pulled out the old fashion regular one.

After adding the rennet solution, stir until it reaches 105F.

The real magic happens here. You start to see clumps of stuff when you stir. It's crazy and cool at the same time. Why did we not do this in high school chem class?

Turn off the heat and all the curds separate from the whey. You basically wait, then scoop the curds into another bowl.
See how the whey is now more of a clear color. Bingo. This is where a slotted spoon and our fancy scooper come in handy. You gotta get all the little curds floating around for maximum cheese yield.

Then you have to strain out all the whey liquid from the curds (aka mozzarella). First drain the large portions then use the strainer and cheese cloth to get it all dry.

The goal is to kneed it to get it to a texture where it is soft and pliable. Like taffy. See in this photo it is certainly not like taffy. It was crumbly and still moist. You put the cheese in a bowl and microwave it to warm it up. Then kneed it to evenly distribute the heat and kneed more. Then repeat those steps 2-3 times. You can put the cheese in cheese cloth and dip into the existing whey at a temperature of 175F. This was perfect!

After dipping the curds (aka mozz) in the warmed whey on the stove, it started to get perfectly soft and pliable. Yay! You could indeed stretch it like taffy. Very cool. Also during these steps you can add some salt. It says 1-2 tsp and I put about 1.5 but it was a little too much. I would have liked to add less; well next time anyway.

You can finish in a couple fancy ways - form it into a cool shape... or just eat it. You've probably seen those cool braided/woven mozzarellas in the store. It is pretty easy when warm and soft to braid it. You can divide it into smaller balls or just leave it as one giant ball. Store in a baggie with some salt water in the fridge. Again  you can just eat or serve it now since it's done.

We of course did taste test this at the end (and perhaps along the whey (HA!)) and it was great! Slightly too salty but so fresh and yumm! What a savings compared to store bought mozzarella that normally is around $7-8 for maybe 10oz. We paid probably $3-4 for the milk and not counting the other supplies which we already had got more than 10oz!

For more information check out this site or google around.


  1. This looks awesome! I've had "make my own cheese" on my food to-do list for ages. Someday soon hopefully!

  2. Yum! I too have totally been meaning to try it. This is good motivation.

  3. This looks like so much fun! The boy and I have been talking about making mozzarella lately, and seeing someone pull it off makes me want to do it even more.


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