June 12, 2017

How to make homemade mozzarella cheese - fairly quick and easy - with lots of photos showing you the steps!

Having this website since 2006, there are many foods I make regularly that have been posted before - and although I do repost some of them and sometimes take new photos and post again just to keep the site active with new posts, most of the time I won't do that - because some recipes get posted 3 or 4 (or 5?)  times over the years.

Today I have to make more homemade mozzarella cheese so instead of reinventing the wheel, it's much easier to repost the recipe.  So, here is one of today's projects - one of about 20 things on my to-do list!  Luckily this is made fairly quickly so I can get on to the other daily tasks. 

I will put links to the actual products I order, own and use, at the end of this post so you can see exactly what I use. Once you invest in a few key ingredients, you won't have to order them again for a long time because you only use about 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of them for each batch.  Keep your rennet and lipase in the freezer and it will last at least 6 months.

Homemade Mozzarella

1 gallon whole milk - not 'ultra' pasteurized
1 t citric acid - dissolved in 1/4 c cold water
1/4 t lipase - dissolved in 1/4 c cold water
1/4 t liquid rennet (or 1/4 of a tablet cheese making rennet) - dissolved in 1/4 c cold water
1 t non-iodized salt (use cheese salt, sea salt, kosher salt, ice cream salt, Himalayan salt, etc.)

Pour the milk into a clean stainless steel pot.
Heat to 55 degrees.
Add lipase water mixture and stir slowly.
Add Citric Acid water mixture and stir slowly.
Heat slowly to 90 degrees. Remove from heat.
Add the rennet water mixture, stir slowly but stir well for 10-20 seconds.
Cover and let stand 5-10 minutes.
During this time the curd should separate from the whey and become a firm jello like layer on top.
After 5-10 minutes check for a clean break with a knife or frosting spatula.
Cut a checkerboard pattern across the curd to cut it into 1 inch cubes.
Swirl the pot a little and put back on heat.
Slowly heat to 105 degrees.  Remove from heat.
Swirl the pan again (no need to stir, but you can if you must).
Slowly spoon out the curds with a slotted metal spoon into a colander sitting inside a large bowl to catch the whey - or if you only have a wire strainer, line it with cheesecloth or a gauzy fabric so the curds don't get stuck in the wires.
Pour the last bit of the curds into the cloth from the pan.
Set the whey to the side, you don't need it for this recipe any longer.
Gently press on the curd to press out a bit more whey liquid.
Place in a microwaveable bowl.
Microwave 1 minute.
Drain again.
Knead and press to get more whey out.
Microwave 35 seconds.
Knead and press again and drain.
Add your salt.
Microwave 20-30 seconds more and continue to knead and pull.
You can wear food safe heat resistant gloves if you have them as you are microwaving to get the cheese hot so it will stretch - and you will kind of burn your hands a bit.  It's hot!
You are hoping to be able to stretch it like taffy.
If it breaks more like bread dough, it's not hot enough.  Heat again and stretch again.
If you've reheated 3 times and it's still not quite as stretchy as you would like, that's ok, it will still look and taste great.
Form whatever shape you want (twist or balls, etc.) and plunge them into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.
Remove, wrap and refrigerate.

Read through the directions, and look at the photos so you know
what to have ready or on hand before you begin.


You need rennet - liquid or tablet (either vegetable or animal).

Do not use the Junket brand in the grocery store - it's made for custard and you want a thicker curd than that. Get real rennet or you may not end up with a good curd.

Citric acid and lipase - Lipase is kind of optional; some people don't use it, but it adds flavor.

Heat your milk S L O W L Y so you don't scorch the bottom and you never accidentally boil it.

When you mix your citric acid, lipase and rennet with water, do NOT use chlorinated water, as chlorine kills the rennet.  If you do use tap water (which is chlorinated), some people add a bit of milk to it to neutralize it first. I have made it that way and made it without adding milk. I've not found a big difference either way but I've had great results from adding 1/4 t calcium chloride dissolved in 1/4 c water.  Works either way but much better curds with the calcium chloride.

  Have a thermometer.  You HAVE to know the correct temperature of your milk.  Some people have a digital - I bought a super cheapy on Amazon, calibrated it right before starting so I knew it was on target.  

 This is the "clean break" you look for after adding the rennet.
When you insert a knife or icing spatula you can see it is thick, like jello and breaks away from the liquid whey under it.

Cutting across, turning the pan and cutting across the other way gives you cubes.
This is giving the curds more surface area so the whey can separate from it.

Heating to 105 degrees before removing from the heat and starting to drain and knead.

After you heat to 105 and remove from heat, you can let the curds sit for 5 minutes.
During this time have your colander or strainer ready over a bowl to catch whey.
Have your cheese salt ready.  You can also get your bowl of ice water ready.

Starting to remove the curds from the whey.


Pour the last of the curds in.  The yellow liquid is the whey you will be pressing out gently and draining off.

After the 1 minute microwave to heat it, press and drain.


This is after the second microwave, knead and drain.
You can see it all comes together.
Keep heating and pulling until it pulls like taffy.
Yep, it's hot - you'll get burned hands if you don't have food safe gloves.  I didn't own any for the first few times I made cheese and it really burns your hands and it's hard to get it hot enough to 'pull' when you can't touch it.
I finally ordered some from Amazon and I'm so happy I finally caved and bought them.

Shape into whatever shape you wish.  I do balls.  Plunge in ice water 5 minutes.

SO GOOD!  The salt brings out the flavor so you don't need anything else, but you CAN add whatever herbs you wish to it.  (Basil, chives, etc.)

These are the products I ordered from Amazon and Used;

Lipase Powder-Italase-(mild) 1oz
NOW Foods - Citric Acid 100% Pure - 4 oz.
Organic Liquid Vegetable Rennet, 2oz.
Gerber Birdseye 10 Count Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White (24in x 27in)
Chefaith Silicone Oven Mitts [Red]


If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon -  An American Housewife at Amazon

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