1. Prepare Your Work Area:
Do not prepare any other food while you are making cheese. Put all food products away.
Move all sponges, cloths and dirty towels away from your work surface, wipe your sink and stove with soap and water.
Finally use your antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.
2. Prepare Rennet:
Crush 1/4 tablet of rennet and dissolve in 1/4 cup of cool un-chlorinated water or add 1/4 tsp single strength liquid rennet to the water. Set your rennet mixture aside to use later.
3. Mix Citric Acid and Milk:
Add 1 1/2 tsp. of citric acid, diluted in 1 cup cool water, pour this into your pot.
Now, pour cold milk into your pot quickly to mix well with the citric acid. This will bring the milk to the proper acidity to stretch well later.
4. Heat the Milk:
Heat the milk slowly to 90F. As you approach 90F, you may notice your milk beginning to curdle slightly due to acidity and temp.
Note: If you're having problems with milk forming a proper curd, you may need to increase this temp to 95F or even 100F.
5. Add Rennet
At 90F, remove the pot from the burner and slowly add your rennet (which you prepared in step one) to the milk. Stir in a top to bottom motion for approx. 30 seconds, then stop.
Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Check the curd after 5 minutes, it should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey. If the curd is too soft or the whey is milky, let it set for a few more minutes.
6. Cut and Cook the Curds:
Cut the curds into a 1" checkerboard pattern (as in the photo below).
Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 105F while slowly stirring the curds with your ladle (if you will be stretching the curds in a hot water bath rather than using a microwave heat to 110F in this step).
Take the pot off the burner and continue stirring slowly for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese)
7. Transfer and Drain the Curds:
With a slotted spoon, scoop curds into a colander or microwave safe bowl (if the curd is too soft at this point let it sit for another minute or so).
Once transferred, press the curd gently with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. If desired, you can reserve the whey to use later in baking or as a soup stock.
8. Heat the Curds and Remove the Whey:
If in a colander transfer the curds into a heat safe blow. Next, microwave the curd for 1 minute.
You will notice more whey separation from the curd. Drain off all whey as you did before. Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch (rubber gloves will help since the cheese is almost too hot to touch at this point).
Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each, and repeat the kneading as in the last step to aid in more whey drain off and ensure even heating of the curds. Drain off all of the whey as you go.
9. Knead and Stretch the Curds:
Now the fun begins, knead quickly now as you would bread dough. Remove curd from bowl and continue kneading until it is smooth and shiny. Return it to the microwave if needed (if it begins to cool before it's ready to stretch). Add salt near the finish.
At this point, if hot enough, the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch, and stretch, and stretch some more (like taffy). This is what makes it Mozzarella
We hope you have as much fun with this as we do!
Now knead your cheese back into a big ball until it is smooth and shiny
Your Mozzarella is ready as soon as it's cool enough to eat.
To cool quickly place it in a bowl of ice water and refrigerate.
When cold you can wrap in plastic wrap and it will last for several days, but is best when eaten fresh.
Bon Appetit and Happy Cheese Making!