Today, I would like to give you an easy recipe for your own Mozzarella Cheese. Mozzarella is very good with Caprese salads, pizzas and as quick appetizers, combined with basil or as a simple cheese ball ingredient mixed with herbs, spices, and nuts.
Mozzarella most usually comes in two consistencies – hard or soft. Hard mozzarella is shredded or cut into sticks. The soft mozzarella can be used in salads, soups, and more. I will discuss soft mozzarella.
Soft Mozzarella is simple and takes less than 30 minutes to do. You need only four ingredients.
- Citric Acid
Make sure your milk is whole milk, hormone-free and has not been pasteurized at an Ultra High Temperature (UHT)
Rennet and Citric Acid can be purchased on Amazon or in a Specialty Cheese Shop.
Please use Kosher Salt
Start by boiling 1 cup of water with 1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid until the acid is dissolved.
Next, in another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet.
You should now have two bowls with the separate ingredients – one is the citric acid, the other the rennet.
In a big heavy pot, pour 1 gallon of whole milk. Stir in the citric acid and heat over medium-high until the milk reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to confirm. The mixture will feel slightly warm to the touch. Remove from heat and stir in the rennet for 30 seconds.
Cover and set aside for 5 minutes or so.
Uncover lid. You now have a batch of a set mixture with a gel-like texture, almost like tofu. If there is still liquid, cover again and let it sit a bit longer. Use a knife or a flat square spatula to cut the curd horizontally and vertically into a grid pattern (cut into a bunch of squares). Make sure you cut to the bottom of the pot and loosen the sides of the curd from the pot. Make at 1/2 inch intervals.
Now put the pot over medium heat and cook. Stir gently now and then but not too much. Curds should reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pot from heat and let it sit another 5 minutes.
Now, use a small mesh sieve and dip into the pot to take out the curds but leave the yellow liquid behind. This yellow liquid is whey. Drain as much of the whey as possible from the curds. Keep the whey and use it to store your finished mozzarella.
Now bring another large pot to almost boiling. Put drained curds into a strainer and lower into the hot water for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the curds from the heat. For best results, use food-safe rubber gloves for the next step. Now fold the curds many times and make sure the inside temperature of the curds is still warm (about 135 degrees Fahrenheit). Return to the near boiling water if necessary or place in the microwave for 30 seconds. The curds must be warm enough to manipulate.
Sprinkle kosher salt over the cheese and working over the hot pot of water, stretch and fold the curds. Make sure curds don’t cool off. That’s why you hold it over the hot pot of water. If you need to heat up more, put the curds in the sieve and let it warm up in hot water. You will need to fold and stretch the curds until they become smooth and elastic.
Finally, shape the mozzarella to a large ball or several small balls. Seal the shapes by placing them in a bowl of water with ice cubes for about 5 minutes.
You’re finished! Fresh Mozzarella stores for up to 5 days in a refrigerator covered in water or whey. Do not let them dry out.
Leyla and I truly love fresh food. And fresh Mozzarella makes a terrific addition to any salad, pasta or sandwich.
At Cafe 21, we use locally-grown, organic ingredients for a socially conscious farm-to-table San Diego dining experience. We use hormone-free meats and yeast-free bread in our dishes, and we hope you’ll visit us soon to see how a meal with us will transform how you think about food.