Is there anything better than fresh mozzarella? In our house, we use mozzarella on every charcuterie board. We love fresh mozzarella paired with sliced Roma tomatoes and bright green basil leaves in a Caprese salad. We smother our homemade lasagna in it and shred it over pizza. So of course, I wanted to learn how to make my own.
Cheese making can be slightly intimidating. Many of the ingredients used were completely foreign to me, but with the recipe below I managed to make it work!
Cheese making requires a few equipment pieces that you may not have in your kitchen. You can purchase complete kits off of a variety of websites throughout Canada and the United States. I used https://cheesemaking.com to purchase my kit. It was relatively cheap at about $30 Canadian and showed up within 3 days.
It’s very important to use the equipment (especially the thermometer) and follow the instructions exactly. My first attempt making mozzarella resulted in small curds similar to ricotta. The second time, I was careful with the temperature and was thrilled to lift the lid on my pot to find one large shiny, smooth curd.
A note: In cheese making it is critical that your milk not be Ultra High Pasteurized. If it is, your cheese will not form a large curd and you will not be able to stretch and pull the mozzarella. I bought my milk from a local Nova Scotia farmer, Fox Hill Cheese House (http://www.foxhillcheesehouse.com). Fox Hill uses their own milk to make cheese, so I knew it would be perfect for my first attempt!
Recipe for Homemade Mozzarella:
1 Gallon of Milk (Not Ultra High Pasteurized)
1.5 Teaspoon of Citric Acid
1/4 of a Rennet Tablet
Equipment for Homemade Mozzarella:
A Stainless Steel Cooking Thermometer
A long knife for cutting curds
A large bowl
Finely woven cheesecloth
Heat resistant gloves
Instructions for Homemade Mozzarella:
1: Ensure your workspace is immaculate. Cheese is very sensitive to bacteria, so it is important that you limit as much exposure as you can.
2: Crush your rennet tablet, and drop it into 1/4 cup of warm filtered (nonchlorinated) water. Set aside.
3: Mix 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid in with one cup of cool filtered water. Pour the mixture into your pot.
4: Carefully pour your milk into the pot with the water and citric acid, stirring vigorously as you do. This increases the acidity in the milk, which helps to allow it stretching later in the process.
5: Put your thermometer into the milk, and heat slowly to 90 degrees F, stirring gently as it does.
6: Once your pot reaches 90 degrees, remove your milk mixture from the burner and carefully pour in your rennet tablet mixture. Stir your pot in a top to bottom motion for approximately 30 seconds. Cover your pot, and leave undisturbed for five minutes.
7: After five minutes, lift the lid to check your curd. It should look solid, and have a clear separation between the curd and the whey. If a curd has not formed, place the lid back on and wait. It may take up to 30 minutes to form if your curd is soft.
8: Cut your curd with a long knife in approximately 1-inch cubes.
9: Place your pot back on the burner, and carefully heat up to 110 degrees F while gently stirring with your ladle. Once your curd and whey mixture reaches 110 degrees, remove from the burner and continue to stir for another 2 to 5 minutes.
10: Strain mozzarella curds through a finely woven cheesecloth. Sprinkle with sea salt, to taste. Return to a bowl of hot water.
11: Put on gloves, and begin pulling and stretching the mozzarella. Do this until mozzarella has a smooth, shiny consistency.
12: Pinch off mozzarella into large or small balls and allow to cool. Refrigerate and serve when chilled.
I love sprinkling olive oil, basil, sea salt, and freshly cracked peppercorns on my fresh mozzarella, then serving it alongside some spicy salami and crackers. A note: This does not have the same shelf life as store-bought mozzarella. Be sure to enjoy it within a day or two of making it.