Last week Kayla and I decided that we would try our hand at making homemade mozzarella cheese. We had heard how easy it was to make, and we both love fresh mozzarella, so we decided to give it a try!
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Making the cheese was really easy. We purchased a kit on Amazon that had all we needed. The only thing we had to buy is a gallon of milk. Within minutes we could see things happening in our pan.
Honestly, when I cook with my daughter like this, I am thinking to myself — who needs textbooks? With making cheese, we studied Science (the how and why behind it) and then the history (how the cheese got started in the first place). Really — if you are thinking about using the unschooling method (which we are considering for next year), it’s things like this that make that a good choice 🙂
Once all the curds come together, you have to remove them from the whey and get all the liquid apart from it. We used a mesh strainer which worked really well. They whey can be saved (which is the liquid) and used in things like breads and creams, but we just decided to discard ours.
After you have all your curds, then you get to stretch it and pull it for a bit, and then roll it into a ball.
Before long, you will have a beautiful ball of mozzarella cheese that is shiny and delicious! This was such fun and took about 40 minutes from start to finish.
I used it on pizza one night and it melts so smoothly. Here is the recipe for making your own mozzarella cheese at home.
- 1¼ cup water
- 1½ teaspoon citric acid
- ¼ rennet tablet or ¼ teaspoon liquid rennet
- 1 gallon milk, whole or 2%, not ultra-pasteurized
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Measure out 1 cup of water. Stir in the citric acid until dissolved. Measure out ¼ cup of water in a separate bowl. Stir in the rennet until dissolved.
- Pour the milk into the pot. Stir in the citric acid solution. Set the pot over medium-high heat and warm to 90°F, stirring gently.
- Remove the pot from heat and gently stir in the rennet solution. Count to 30. Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- After five minutes, the milk should have set. It will look kind of like tofu. If it is still liquidy, re-cover the pot and let it sit for another five minutes. Once the milk has set, cut it into uniform curds: make several parallel cuts vertically through the curds and then several parallel cuts horizontally, creating a grid-like pattern. Make sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the pan.
- Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 105°F. Stir slowly as the curds warm, but try not to break them up too much. The curds will eventually clump together and separate more completely from the yellow whey.
- Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring gently for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl with the slotted spoon.
- Microwave the curds for one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on your rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times. At this point, the curds will still be very loose and cottage-cheese-like.
- Microwave the curds for another 30 seconds and check their internal temperature. If the temperature has reached 135°F, continue with stretching the curds. If not, continue microwaving in 30-second bursts until they reach temperature. The curds need to reach this temperature in order to stretch properly.
- Sprinkle the salt over the cheese and squish it with your fingers to incorporate. Using both hands, stretch and fold the curds repeatedly. It will start to tighten, become firm, and take on a glossy sheen. When this happens, you are ready to shape the mozzarella. Make one large ball, two smaller balls, or several bite-sized bocconcini. Try not to over-work the mozzarella.
- The mozzarella can be used immediately or kept refrigerated for a week. To refrigerate, place the mozzarella in a small container. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of cool whey and pour this over the mozzarella. Cover and refrigerate.
What types of foods have you been making homemade?