Making Your Own Dairy Products #5 – Mozzarella (and Ricotta)!

My two oldest kids have been home on spring break this week and we’ve had a ball.  (This is why I’ve missed posting a couple of days).  During this break, my older son and I had fun making some homemade mozzarella (and ricotta from the leftover whey)….and then my family had a wonderful “make your own pizza” night using our homemade cheeses.  Why don’t you give it a try.  It’s easy!  Here’s what we did.

Homemade Mozzarella

1 gallon fresh milk 
(NOT ultra-pasturized…lightly pasturized is best and local if possible.  I used whole milk)
Citric Acid (found in the canning supplies…this makes your cheese stretchy)
Rennet Tablets (found with the pudding in your grocery…makes the curds set)
1/2 cup of non-chlorinated water (bottled water works just fine)
Large non-reactive pot 
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Slotted spoon
Microwavable bowl
Thermometer (I use a candy thermometer but a digital one is preferred)
Pour 1/4 cup of cool non-chlorinated water into 2 different vessels (I used 2 different measuring cups).  In one place 2 level teaspoons of citric acid.  In the other place 1/2 rennet tablet.
The rennet tables are scored so it’s easy to divide it in half.
Back to the cheese.  Pour your gallon of milk in a large pot.  Place your thermometer in your pot and heat until the temperature reaches 50 Degreees F.
Now pour in your water/citric acid solution and stir to mix.  Continue heating the milk until it reaches 90 Degrees F.  Now pour in your water/rennet mix and stir very minimally (about 5 or 6 stirs).
DO NOT STIR your milk anymore!  Continue to heat your milk until the temperature reaches 105 Degrees F.  Now turn off the heat and let your milk sit 2 hours or so (there is no harm if it is a bit longer). After this time, your milk is actually become cheese curd(s).  Take a long knife and cut through the your curds in a grid fashion.
It looks like cubes of curds floating in whey.  Now with a slotted spoon scoop out the curds and place them in a colander or strainer.
Now with your hand and your slotted spoon try to press out as much whey as possible.
Now place your curds in a microwavable bowl and place in your microwave and heat on high 30 seconds.  Moving quickly, squeeze your curds and drain off the whey.  Repeat this a second time.  Now, before you return this to your microwave for a third heating, add some salt or some spices if you prefer (remember, we have not added any salt before now).
I regret I did not take any pictures now because our hands were filthy and we were just busy with squeezing the cheese.  Anyway, you will continue to heat your cheese for 30 seconds  in the microwave followed by squeezing/draining the excess whey.  You will do this for about 3 or 4 more times.  Once your cheese begins to hold together, you want to squeeze it and begin to stretch it.  If it gets cold or no longer stretches, return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds.  
Your cheese will become smooth, and shiny (with the firmness being determined by how much whey was squeezed out).
Doesn’t it look delicious?  Either use it immediately our store it, covered in water, in your refrigerator for up to a week.

But wait, there’s more!

Homemade Ricotta From the Leftover Whey

You will find you have a LOT of whey leftover.  Place it back in your large pot and heat until the whey reaches 200 degrees F.  Turn off the heat.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds and let them drain in a paper towel lined strainer.

Once your have scooped out all of the curds, let them drain until your ricotta has reached your desired dryness.   Here’s ours.

Our mozzarella/ricotta recipes made 1 pound of mozzarella and 1 cup of ricotta.  (Keep in mind these amounts will vary each time you make your cheese based on how much fat/protein is in your milk).  We had a lot of whey left over.  The whey can be used in so many wonderful recipes.  I will share an English Muffin type bread that I used with our whey from this week with you tomorrow!

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  1. says

    can’t wait to try this, i have a love affair with fresh mootz. i’m pretty sure i used to make this, or some version of it, when a milk bottle would roll under the couch and i’d find it a few days later..err..yeah, nevermind :D

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