Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
We often say that Europe has the best meals. If we were lucky enough to spend a few months abroad, the thing we usually remember most is the food we ate. Wine, cheese, and bread are the staples to a typical French, Italian, or Spanish diet. But we have these things in America, too. I can go to the store at any moment and purchase a bottle of wine, a baguette, and lay out a blanket in a garden to pretend I’m in the French countryside. That doesn’t really work though, does it? An American wine is never the same as one from Europe, and the same goes for cheese and bread. The thing that makes our food so different and bland, compared to Europe, is the fact that we rarely ever make our food from scratch.
Americans are notorious for being on-the-go, for grabbing food wherever we can, and eating it as fast as possible. In my opinion, that’s no way to enjoy life. We need to take a cue from our friends across the pond. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored. It should be taken as an excuse for a break from our hectic, everyday lives. While it’s unrealistic to think we can start making our own wine or bread, it is possible to make our own cheese rather easily.
At Heart-Hands-Home, we’ve discovered a way to make mozzarella in about thirty minutes. By some miracle, it costs under three dollars to make a pound. Stores usually sell that much cheese for over ten dollars, and it’s not nearly as fresh.
Like anything homemade, this mozzarella cheese has many steps and a couple ingredients that we’ve never heard of. But I think if we can create anything close to real Italian cheese, spending a little extra time in the kitchen is worth it. This mozzarella would be perfect in a caprese sandwich or tossed in some pasta. Buon appetito!
Homemade Mozzarella Cheese (from Heart-Hands-Home)
1 gallon whole milk (Just be sure that it is not ultra-pasteurized; Any other kind will work: store bought, fresh from the cow (or goat))
1 tsp. citric acid
1/4 rennet tablet
2 tsp. cheese salt
A big pot
1. Place milk in large pot with thermometer.
2. Sprinkle 1 tsp. citric acid over milk and stir.
3. Turn heat on med-low and heat milk to 90 degrees, stirring occasionally. While you are heating the milk, dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 1/4 C. cool water.
4. When milk has reached 90 degrees, turn off heat. Pour rennet over slotted spoon into milk, and stir for 20-30 seconds.
5. Remove thermometer, and let milk sit undisturbed for 8-10 minutes.
6. Milk should be like a thick gelatin. Cut the curd into a grid pattern.
7. Stir gently for a minute, and then remove the curd using your slotted spoon into a microwave safe bowl, trying to leave as much of the whey (the yellowish liquid) behind.
8. Pour off as much liquid as you can without losing any curds. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir, pour off liquid, and heat for 35-40 seconds more. Stir and pour off any liquid. Cheese should start to stick together and look stringy. If the curds are not sticking together, you can heat for 35-40 seconds more.
9. Once your curds are sticking together and you have removed most of the liquid, add your cheese salt. I usually sprinkle a little on, knead, and sprinkle more on until all the salt is incorporated.
10. After your salt is incorporated, heat the cheese for 35-45 seconds more until it is stretchy like taffy. The cheese will be really hot, so it helps to wear gloves to work with the cheese.
11. Pull and stretch cheese until it is shiny and smooth.
12. Shape cheese into a log by kneading on counter top.
13. Place cheese into a bowl of ice water for about 5 minutes to firm it up.
Photos and recipe from Heart-Hands-Home.