Mozzarella is one of the easiest cheeses to make, it only takes 30 minutes and the taste can't be beat!
The ingredients are simple although a couple of them you may have to search a bit for, but the end result is worth it--especially when you can say "I made it myself!"
Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
1 gallon whole milk (just be sure that it is not Ultra-pasteurized, any other kind will work, store bought, fresh from the cow (or goat))
1 tsp. citric acid*
1/4 rennet tablet*
2 tsp. cheese salt*
A big pot
(please ignore the mess in the background, we still haven't finished putting things back together after our wall project)
Place milk in large pot with thermometer.
Sprinkle 1 tsp. citric acid over milk and stir.
Turn heat on med-low and heat milk to 90 degrees, stirring occasionally.
While you are heating the milk, dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 1/4 C. cool water.
When milk has reached 90 degrees, turn off heat. Pour rennet over slotted spoon into milk and stir for 20-30 seconds.
Remove thermometer and let milk sit undisturbed for 8-10 minutes.
Milk should be like a thick gelatin. Cut the curd into a grid pattern.
Stir gently for a minute and then remove the curd using your slotted spoon into a microwave safe bowl, trying to leave as much of the whey (the yellowish liquid) behind.
Pour off as much liquid as you can without losing any curds. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir, pour off liquid and heat for 35-40 seconds more. Stir and pour off any liquid. Cheese should start to stick together and look stringy. If the curds are not sticking together you can heat for 35-40 seconds more.
Once your curds are sticking together and you have removed most of the liquid, add your cheese salt. I usually sprinkle a little on, knead, and sprinkle more on until all the salt is incorporated.
After your salt is incorporated, heat the cheese for 35-45 seconds more until it is stretchy like taffy. The cheese will be really hot, so it helps to wear gloves to work with the cheese.
Pull and stretch cheese until it is shiny and smooth.
Now the fun part, deciding how to use your homemade cheese!
* Citric acid, rennet and cheese salt can often be found at local beer and wine supply stores or in some specialty grocery stores. If you cannot find it locally, you can order it online from New England Cheese Supply.
The first couple of times I made my own cheese I was sure I was doing it wrong, but I am always amazed that at some point it all seems to come together and I have cheese, so don't get discouraged. I discovered the brand of milk I used can really make a difference in the finished product, so if the first batch doesn't work out, try a different brand.
I will be sharing some recipes next week that highlight your homemade cheese.