When I talk to people about the different foods that I try to make at home now instead of buying, I often remark that yogurt was my “gateway food.” Once I found out that I could make so much delicious yogurt from a gallon of whole milk, I started thinking, “Wow! What else can I make?!”
Turns out, from a gallon of whole milk and a few inexpensive cheese-making ingredients (bought from Amazon.com of all places), you can make mozzarella cheese! While its economic benefit is great, I love the feel of stretching the newly made mozzarella cheese with my own hands – it’s like magic! “I made this!”
What you need:
- 1 gallon whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized, my grocery store brand milk works)
- 2 t. citric acid powder
- 1/4 t. calcium chloride mixed with 1/4 c. cold, sterilized water*
- 1/2 t. liquid rennet mixed with 1/4 c. cold, sterilized water
- 1 t. kosher salt
*omit if using raw milk
- large stockpot
- digital kitchen thermometer
- large glass or ceramic microwaveable bowl
- slotted metal spoon
- heat-proof rubber gloves
Time: 45-60 minutes
Serves: makes 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese
Multiplying the recipe: If you need multiple batches, you must use separate stockpots.
Pour milk in the stockpot. Stir in the citric acid powder and the diluted calcium chloride. Warm the milk over a medium-low heat to 88F. The goal is to heat the milk slowly, so be careful that the flame is not too high. Getting to 88F should take about 10 minutes. Watch closely to avoid overheating.
Add the diluted rennet to the milk mixture, stirring constantly until the temperature is between 104-106F, which should take another three to four minutes.. Remove the pot from heat, cover, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Using a slotted metal spoon, separate the curds from the whey and place them in a large microwaveable bowl. Try to drain out as much of the whey as possible with the slotted spoon. Pour off extra whey into the pot. (Reserve this whey to use in bread and bagel recipes in place of water for added protein and flavor!)
Place the bowl of curds in the microwave. Heat on High for one minute. Press the curds with the spoon, forcing out as much whey as you can. The curds should look glossy and almost melted. If not, heat for another 20 seconds.
Add the salt. Put on the rubber gloves. Knead the curds gently, folding them over until it looks shiny and flexible, like taffy. Microwave on High for one minute. Knead it again with gloved hands, until it starts to be able to stretch like a piece of gum. If it breaks instead of stretching, heat it for another 30 seconds in the microwave. Then stretch.
When finished, it should be shiny and malleable. It can be eaten right away, or placed in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Once cooled, it can be shredded or sliced! Congratulations, you’re a cheesemaker!