Mozzarella Cheese: Learn How to Make It at Home

Mozzarella Cheese.

Making mozzarella at home is extremely simple, and you should try it at least once. It can be a fun activity for you, your partner, your friends, and even your kids. (Image: Ruslan Grigolava via Dreamstime)

Homemade mozzarella cheese is not only a flex; it’s a great way to ensure the quality of your ingredients. If you want to make everything from start to finish, you can make this cheese at home by following a few simple steps.

What makes mozzarella different from other cheeses?

Each cheese has a different flavor profile, with some requiring a little getting used to while others are easy to fall in love with. Mozzarella not only has a romantic sound to it, but it also has an easy-to-appreciate flavor profile.

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Mozzarella has not been aged for too long, making it less hard and much softer. Because of its softness, it is the preferred cheese to place on pizzas and other delightful dishes, such as mozzarella sticks.

The texture of this cheese changes when you place it in the oven as it melts and becomes almost chewy enough with the right amount of silkiness. Depending on how it’s made and cooked, you can adjust the texture of the cheese to match your preference.

Delicious breaded mozzarella cheese sticks with marinara dipping sauce.
Delicious breaded mozzarella cheese sticks with marinara dipping sauce. (Image: Bhofack2 via Dreamstime)

Mozzarella is popular for three main properties:

  • Mild flavor
  • Springy texture
  • Cool melting abilities

How to make mozzarella cheese at home

Making mozzarella at home is extremely simple, and you should try it at least once. It can be a fun activity for you, your partner, your friends, and even your kids. Here’s what you need to know about making this cheese at home.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup cool water
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet
  • 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid
  • 1 gallon of raw milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Method

  1. Combine 1/4 cup water and rennet in a small bowl; mix well.
  2. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of water and citric acid in another small bowl; mix until dissolved.
  3. Pour milk into a large pot set over medium heat. Stir in the citric acid mixture. Heat the milk, stirring occasionally until it registers 90°F (32°C) on an instant-read thermometer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove milk from the heat and stir in the rennet mixture in a figure-8 motion for 30 seconds. Stir counterclockwise for 30 seconds to still the milk. Let stand, covered, until milk sets into curd, 5 to 10 minutes. Press the edge of the curd gently with a palette knife or the back of a spoon to check for firmness.
  5. Slice vertically into the pot to cut the curd into 3/4-inch cubes with a palette knife. Stir curds gently, but leave cubes mostly intact.
  6. Return pot to the heat; cook over medium heat, stirring curds gently, until temperature reaches 109°F (43°C), about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, ladle curds into a colander set over a large bowl. Press curds gently to extract liquid whey. Pour drained whey back into the pot.
  8. Heat whey to 185°F (85°C) for about 5 minutes. Wearing gloves, tear off a piece of curd and place it on a slotted spoon. Dip curd into the hot whey for 5 to 10 seconds. Stretch, fold, and knead curd. Repeat until the mozzarella is smooth and elastic. Knead in salt and form curd into a ball. Repeat the dipping and kneading process with the remaining curd.
  9. Allow the mozzarella to cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator.

Voilà, your mozzarella cheese is done!

Tomato and mozzarella salad.
Tomato and mozzarella salad. (Image: Marazem via Dreamstime)

Tips

Do not use ultra-high temperature processed (UHT) milk. Regular pasteurized milk will work, but raw milk is best.

At the end of step 7, you may place your curds in a plastic bag and store both the curds and the whey in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days before continuing the process. If you want a softer-textured, moist mozzarella, do not let the curd get as firm and work less when stretching and kneading. You can speed up the cooling process in step 9 by placing mozzarella balls in an ice-water bath.

The bottom line

Making mozzarella cheese is a fun activity everyone can do at home. You can make your meals more personal when you make the cheese yourself.

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