Quick Mozzarella- Microwave and no Microwave
Imagine juicy, sun kissed tomatoes and aromatic basil...now imagine enjoying them with your own homemade mozzarella! Well guess what? You can make it and have it ready in an hour.
Need supplies? Try our Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Kit and you’ll have everything you need. Just add the milk.
- 1 gallon of whole cow's milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized, regular pasteurized or raw milk are great)
- 1 ½ tsp citric acid (included in our kit)
- ¼ rennet tablet (included in our kit)
- 1/2 cup chlorine free drinking water
- 2 tsp cheese salt, to taste (included in our kit)
- 1 tsp Italian herb blend, or your choice of herbs (optional)
- Large pot- 5 quart, stainless steel (avoid un-coated cast iron or aluminum)
- Large slotted spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Thermometer (included in our kit)
- Microwaveable bowl for microwave stretching method
- Large heat-resistant bowl and ladle for hot water stretching method
- Rubber gloves or large spoon
- 1 ½ lb
Please read the entire recipe before you begin.
Ok, let's make fresh Mozzarella!
Dissolve ¼ rennet tablet into 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet and store in the freezer.
Mix 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid and 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.
Pour the milk into your pot. Pour the citric acid solution in and stir thoroughly. Heat to 90°F at medium heat, stirring occasionally and checking the temperature often. Stay close.
At 90°F slowly stir in the rennet solution with approximately 20 strokes. The milk could already show clear signs of coagulation but it needs to develop further. Take the pot off the heat and cover for 15 minutes.
Note- if you will not use a microwave for Step 6, start to heat a gallon of water separately in a large pot so it's ready.
Test the curd by making a 2 inch cut. The cut should have sharp lines and clear, yellow whey should fill the cut. If not, let it set for another 30 minutes. If it never sets, switch brands of milk.
If you have a solid curd, i.e. looks like a pot full of solid shiny yogurt, slice it up into roughly one inch cubes (think tic, tac toe grid and then under cut to slice horizontally as well as you can).
Move the cubes very gently (cut any large pieces you find) while you continue to heat until the whey reads 110°F for 2-3 minutes (lower the heat to avoid overheating). The curd should have visibly changed. Look for less sharp edges and less slippery curd. Less yogurt, more scrambled eggs. Take the pot off the heat. Skip down to step 6.
If the curd doesn’t look like shiny custard or yogurt but looks like clumps of cheese floating in yellow liquid, you’re still in good shape. Cut, then heat the curd as instructed above. Proceed.
For Microwave stretching method go on to STEP 6.
For Non-Microwave hot water stretching method:
Scoop your curd into a flat dish as in Step 6. Pour off any excess whey, flatten the curd gently by pressing with one entire hand (you should see your hand imprint slightly). Let the curd rest at room temp for about 10 minutes while you heat some water as instructed in STEP 7.
STEP 6. Microwave stretching method:
Ladle the curds into a large microwaveable bowl. Put on your rubber gloves or use a large spoon for step 8. You just want curds in the bowl so gently hold back the curds while you pour any extra whey back into the pot (don’t press much).
- Heat the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.
Gently use a spoon to fold the curds over several times and evenly distribute the heat. Drain off any released whey into the pot.
Microwave for 30 seconds this time. Drain whey again. Add salt (adjust as you like). This is also the time to add herbs. Mix them in by stretching and folding the curd another 10-15 times. Work quickly so you don't lose too much heat.
Microwave for another 30 seconds. Drain whey again and fold the curd 10-15 times gently- try stretching. It must be 135°F to stretch properly but do not waste time or heat trying to get a temp reading. You may need to fold the curd a few more times. Every batch is different and mozzarella stretching is highly dependent on proper heat.
- The curd should ideally get springy and shiny but be patient with this part. It takes practice.
Feel free to heat one more time for 30 seconds if the curd is tearing- it cooled to much to shape. Once you get a nice stretch, move on to Step 8.
STEP 7. Hot water stretching method
This method is more challenging but rewarding and traditional.
- For this hot water bath (no microwave) stretching method you will need a gallon of water that is simmering at about 185°F. Leave it on the burner on the lowest setting. It's ok if it boils- we will temper the curd with leftover whey first.
Split prepared curd into four portions- you will get better with each portion as you practice. If you've done this many times, feel free to heat and stretch all curd at one time. Place one portion of the curd in your heat resistant bowl.
- Ladle about 1 cup of the warm whey (not hot water yet!) on top of the curd- we are tempering it, i.e. slowly increasing temp.
Now ladle about 1 cup of hot water on the curd, or enough to cover it. Allow the curd to warm for 3 minutes.
- Pour off this whey/water combo into the whey pot.
- Now, ladle two fresh cups of hot water onto the curd again, making sure it's covered. Allow it to warm for another 2-3 minutes.
- Put on your rubber gloves (unless you do this all the time and have lost feeling in your hands too!). Feel the curd and see if it feels softer and more rubbery than before. Try to press it together gently and fold it a couple of times.
- Lift the ball out of the water, fold a couple of times and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per quarter portion or 2 teaspoons for the whole batch of curd. Fold and stretch the curd to blend in the salt (this is when it is very helpful to use light and fast dissolving cheese salt- if you are using other salt, cut quantity by half and fold more).
If the curd cools too much, repeat the previous step with new hot water once or twice. Curd will not stretch if it is not hot enough but we want to avoid overheating as well. This is the craft part that takes patience and practice with mozzarella.
- Proceed with shaping as described in Step 8 below.
Repeat heating, stretching and salting on the remaining 3 portions of curd. If temperamental curds just won't stretch, do not despair. Just fold, salt, and press warm curds into a bowl to shape them that way. Practice, practice! It is better to under-stretch and enjoy a tender farmer's cheese wheel than to overheat and over handle and end up with a dry rubber ball.
Note- your water may get a little milky but not as much as the photos- I used 100% hot whey here. That also works if you want to try it!
To shape into balls- Take a portion of curd and fold it over itself 3 or 4 times.
Then hold the curd with one hand as you come up from under the stack with the other hand to push it up from below. Use the index finger and thumb of the first hand to make a hole through which to push the stack, then pinch the ball that forms- this is where the name Mozzarella comes from- Mozzare means to cut off in Italian. Repeat. Enjoy the leftover bits now!
Dunk the balls in a bowl of cool water so they don't flatten. Repeat with all curd. Have fun experimenting with knots and braids if you got a great stretch.
You did it, you made cheese! You will get better and better with practice but no matter what, your mozzarella creation is edible and safe to eat within one week. Surprise result? Don't give up, see our FAQs section!
- Refrigerate in a covered container
- Do not store in water or whey or it will get slimy and disintegrate
- Use within 1 week