by Chef Lippe
It’s summer time and the kids are home from school and this is a great project that you can make in the kitchen with their help. If at all possible a nice ride into the countryside, where you visit a local dairy farm and they get to see how cows are milked makes a great start to this adventure.
To make fresh mozzarella you can use either raw milk if available or store bought milk and a few hours. I have also made this same recipe with goats milk and 2% milk. Raw milk is my favorite.
- 8 quart pan stainless steel (do not use cast iron, or aluminum)
- Candy thermometer
- 2 measuring cups or glass bowls to dissolve the citric acid and rennet in.
- Large and small strainer
- Long knife
- Slotted spoon
- Large glass bowl
- Small glass bowl
- Nylon netting (optional)
- Plain white cloth if you want to make Ricotta Cheese with the Whey that is left.
1 gallon of milk (only restriction is do not use ultra-homogenized milk)
1 Rennet tablet (found at Trader Joe’s)
2 teaspoons Citric Acid divided. (1 teaspoon is dissolved in water and the other sprinkled directly into the milk)
½ cup water (bottled is best) Do not use chlorinated water.
1 – 2 teaspoons salt.
Pour 1 teaspoon Citric Acid into ¼ cup bottled water and stir. Crush the rennet tablet and pour into another ¼ cup of bottled water.
Pour milk into your pot. Milk should be at least 50 degrees when you pour in the Citric Acid.
Pour in Citric Acid and stir for a minute.
Sprinkle the other teaspoon Citric Acid in the mild and stir for another minute. You should see milk start to curdle.
Heat milk to 88-90 degrees stirring occasionally. Use low heat to heat slowly. DO NOT go past 90 degrees. (This step should take 10 to 15 minutes)
TEMPATURE IS IMPORTANT! If you get the milk to hot or too cold, the Rennet will not make curds.
At 88 degrees turn off the heat and stir in the Rennet solution for 15-20 seconds
This is not an error. You are not trying to pasteurize the milk. If you get it too hot or too cold, the Rennet will not make curds. Use a low heat so it doesn’t go past the 88-90 degrees. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
Cover the pot and LEAVE IT UNDISTURBED FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES (I do mine 30 minutes and most instructions say 15-20 minutes) Time is not critical here as long as when you get a clean break.
Wait for a clean break. This is when you poke your finger into it and move it for an inch or so and lift it out, the curd and whey should separate and not stick to your finger. If the line you make with your finger does not hold its shape for few seconds or it looks to runny let it sit for a few more minutes.
Cut the curd into ½ inch cubes and then cut the cubes into 45 degree triangles.
Let the curds set undisturbed for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Apply low heat and gently stir the curds occasionally to keep them separated until they reach 108 degrees. This will take about 15 minutes. The curds will shrink and start to sink as the whey is expelled from them.
Turn off the heat and continue to stir every few minutes for an additional 20 minutes, while the curds keep shrinking.
Drain the curds into a strainer or colander and let set for about 15 minutes. If you put the strainer over a bigger bowl and save the whey you can make Ricotta cheese with it. Let the strainer sit in a dry pan until no more whey comes out of them.
Pour the curd into a smaller bow and break them up with your hand (should look like cottage cheese).
This is the tricky part because every microwave oven heats a little different depending on size. So it is better to heat less and keep checking. I use a microwave that is 1100 watts and it takes 30-45 seconds. (If you overcook here the curds turn to mush).
To check squeeze the curds with a spoon and pull them to the side of the bowl, pour any whey into your collection of whey.
Repeat heating and squeezing until you can pull curds out in a soft ball form. Microwave for 20 seconds more.
Now for the part the kids can help with!
At this point if it is warm enough it should become pliable and stretchy. Add salt and herb (optional). Grab 1/3 to ½ and lift. It should stretch with its own weight. If not put back into microwave for a few more seconds. As you work through the stretching process knead it like bread a couple of times. Keep lifting and stretching and kneading until you get a nice firm thick stretch of cheese that is a soft ball that does not stick to your hands is nice and smooth and shiny. It’s done!
You should get about 12 ounces of cheese. Wrap in plastic or a zip lock bag and store in your refrigerator. It should keep for about 6 days, mine never lasts this long.
If this is your first time we offer a kit that includes everything you will need to make 4 batches of cheese for $25.00 per kit. All you need is the fresh milk. If you already have the candy thermometer order our refill kit for $14.00.