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Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

(Courtesy of Chef Joe of Friday Night Out Catering, adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

1/8 cup water

3/4 tsp. citric acid

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 gallon whole milk (raw milk is preferable, if available)

1/8 tsp. vegetable rennet

1/2 cup water

In a medium saucepan, dissolve citric acid in the 1/8 cup water. Stir in the salt. Pour the milk into the saucepan, stir, and heat the mixture to 90 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine rennet and the 1/2 cup water in a measuring cup. When the milk mixture reaches 90 degrees, add the rennet mixture to the saucepan. Stir for 30 seconds, then stop it from stirring so the mixture is still. Cover the saucepan and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

When you open the saucepan, the mixture should resemble a soft custard with whey underneath. Take a knife and gently slice the custard into a checkerboard pattern. Heat the whey underneath the curds to 105 degrees.

Next remove the curds carefully with a slotted spoon into a metal strainer. Massage the curds to remove as much of the whey as possible. You should be able to form a ball of cheese with your hands. Place the cheese ball in a microwave-safe and microwave for 45 seconds.

After removing the bowl from the microwave, carefully drain off the excess whey and massage and stretch the cheese to remove as much more whey as possible. Microwave it for 30 more seconds. Again massage and stretch the cheese to remove any excess whey.

Place the ball of cheese into a bowl of ice water. Chill and serve.

Clockwise from top left: Pouring the milk in the saucepan, cutting the custard into a checkerboard pattern, spooning the curds into the metal strainer, chilling the ball of cheese in a bowl of ice water.