Learn how to make mozzarella cheese the quick and EASY way (without using a microwave)! This traditional mozzarella cheese recipe was a game changer for me!
It turns out I’ve been making homemade mozzarella cheese all WRONG!
For YEARS I’ve used the traditional recipe I shared with you. And if I were to be honest, it kind of makes me hate making cheese. It’s a whole lot of timers and temperatures and morning-long fussing over a steamy pot of milk before leaving it to drain and acidify enough to stretch.
Somewhere around 9 pm, I lose my temper, muttering and whining after remembering that I’ve got curds sitting there waiting to be stretched which will take another hour, when all want to do is put my feet up. And while I’m being honest, that’s probably the number one reason why I stopped making cheese.
Sure I blamed the baby, but she’ll be a year and a half old this summer. Not really a valid excuse any longer, is it?
So when we quit offering the herdshare a couple of months ago, I found my fridge slowly filling up with the milk we had been “sharing.” With a scowling and unthankful heart, I put cheesemaking on my to-do list once again.
When I heard about the ebook, Cheesemaking Made Easy, I wondered if it would live up to its promise and help me simplify the cheesemaking that was desperately needing to be done.
So with two gallon sized mason jars full of hope and a pinch of skepticism, I read the book.
It is well put together and easy to understand. (Which if you’re a beginning cheesemaker, that’s really important! I’ve read some cheesemaking books that make my brain hurt because they’re so complicated), and best of all, this book is inspirational!
Here I was not even a beginner cheesemaker, perhaps even a cheesemaking hater, wanting to make cheese! All of the basic recipes were covered and then some! But then she goes even further and shares a recipe for other dairy goods such as butter, kefir, sour cream, ghee, creme fraíche, and yogurt. She helps you build upon your skills by starting with the easy recipes and working up to the more difficult ones that involve presses and aging.
Yeah, but what about that mozzarella recipe?
I mean the book used phrases like, “Mozzarella is an Italian cheese which is quick, easy and fun to make,” and “Mozzarella cheese is also one of the easiest soft cheeses to make! I have found that the process of making Mozzarella cheese is very forgiving.”
That certainly hasn’t been my experience!
So while it’s all well and good to have an attractive, sensible, and inspiring book, if the recipes don’t turn out well, I might as well have saved myself the time and just fed the milk straight to the pigs.
With a leary eyebrow raised, I dumped the milk into the pot and made some mozzarella.
An hour later I was squealing.
Not only did I not have to keep remembering to come back after I walked away, but I was standing there with beautiful smooth balls of stringy, squeaky, chewy, delicious mozzarella cheese! IN AN HOUR!!!!!!
I went to bed that night exactly when I wanted to!
Not only was the recipe so good, but it was so uncomplicated and straightforward that I was able to teach Hannah, my 11-year-old, how to make mozzarella cheese without fear that she’d get all the way to the end and mess it up, both wasting the ingredients, and the time too.
I’ll let her show you that cheesemaking really can be easy! Check out this video of her making mozzarella-
If you’re still not sure you have the hang of it, check it out! Craftsy has a course on artisan cheesemaking that includes making mozzarella cheese!
Common Problems and Solutions When Making Mozzarella Cheese
No doubt, making mozzarella is a trial and error process. There are so many variables to consider, and until you get the perfect recipe (like I found and am sharing with you), the likelihood of having issues is 100%. Even after you acquire and follow the ideal method, you may still face problems now and then. The best thing to do when you encounter problems is going along with them, instead of throwing in the towel. There are plenty of ways to fix and adjust in this process, whether it be adding a little bit of something or using the cheese you created for a different purpose.
1. Your Curds Won’t Stick
If your curds look like rice, something is wrong. Curds that won’t come together are usually cooked at incorrect temperatures. Either way too high, or they did not get to a high enough heating point. Though there isn’t a way to eat this as mozzarella once the damage is done, this cheese can still be eaten if you carry on with the draining and salting steps. This can become ricotta and cottage cheese, easily! That’s the beauty of cheese; you can’t go wrong no matter which way you go. Mix this new type of cheese in with some fruit, put it on a salad, or eat it as a side to a meal.
2. Your Curds Are Too Soft
Soft curds is typically an issue of not giving them enough time to set. If you are pretty early in the process when you catch this, you can add rennet to the milk before it turns into curds. Adding cultures makes the cheese set correctly. But remember, this is only a great tip if you are in the beginning stages.
3. Your Cheese is Bitter
The causes and solutions to this are both simple. Either you did not drain it as much as you should’ve, or you did not salt it enough. To fix this issue, add some salt in, stir it up, and try to strain it a bit more. A cheese press can also be a helpful tool in this! Wrap the cheese in your cheesecloth and put a press on it for 10-15 minutes, then try a taste.
4. Your Cheese is Rubbery
Rubbery cheese only has a few probable causes. The first is using too much rennet. The only thing you can do once you catch this is to learn from this mistake and use less next time! The following likely reason is if you overcook or overwork the cheese and strain all the butterfat along the way.
You can’t fix rubbery cheese once the damage has been done, but you can re-purpose it. Use this batch of mozzarella on pizzas, veggies, in baked meals (possibly over or inside chicken pieces) or on grilled cheese sandwiches. No cheese has to go to waste; there is always a way to use it if you are creative enough!
How to Extend the LifeSpan of Mozzarella Cheese
The average lifespan of mozzarella cheese is one to two weeks long. But there are some simple things you can do, and things you can not do, to lengthen the life of this cheese you lovingly created with your own hands (easily this time!).
- The first tip is to make sure you are not reaching in and touching the cheese and liquid with dirty hands or even gloves. This heinous act contaminates the water and takes the lifespan down drastically. Clean utensils are the way to go, every single time!
- As you will see below in our DO NOT list, it is not a good idea to replace the mozzarella with fresh water. But if you think the cheese has been contaminated somehow, you can use a mixture containing 1tbsp of dissolved salt and 1-4 pounds of cold water (about 37 Fahrenheit). This is only a suggestion, as the salt to water ratio may have to vary depending on what your specific amount of cheese needs. If you use a water and salt brine solution, you are giving the cheese a fresh soak and keeping it from spoiling for longer.
- So your mozzarella has been sitting in the fridge for longer than a week, and you want it to have the same feel and flavor as the day it was made. You are not out of luck! A little freshening up will accomplish this. Soak it in either salted whey or salted milk (which are just salt and milk mixtures of your choosing) for around an hour. This quick fix makes the cheese taste brand new!
- Switch out the liquid with fresh water every few days. Here is a typical “solution,” but in reality, it does not lengthen the lifespan nor does it help with germs if you have used clean utensils. If you do replace the liquid with water, you are ruining the juicy goodness that keeps mozzarella salty and flavorful. There are alternatives as seen above, so don’t fall into the freshwater trap commonly found by amateurs online.
- In our refrigeration obsessed culture, you may have been told all your life (especially when it comes to dairy products), that immediate cooling is critical. However, so many mozzarella experts say otherwise of both refrigeration and freezing. They know cooling of any kind gives a dry taste and feel to the cheese, ruins the freshness (which is the purpose of making mozzarella from scratch), and changes the flavor. Now of course, to each his own and research it essential here as far as length of time. We don’t want you or anyone else getting sick! But being open to learning about the concept cannot hurt. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up with more delicious cheese in the end?
- Don’t keep the cheese wrapped in its liquid packing case. Instead, put it in a plastic wrap that you change every time the cheese is opened for use. This suggestion keeps the cheese fresh an extra seven days! Keep in mind; this is only a good solution for the big pieces. The smaller ones need to stay in their liquid.
How To Make Mozzarella Cheese (The Easy Way)
Author Reformation Acres
- 1-gallon milk
- 1 ½ teaspoon citric acid
- ¼ teaspoon non-GMO rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
- ⅓ cup of salt
- Dissolve the citric acid in the milk and heat it to 88 degrees.
- Stir in the dissolved rennet water, slowly, until curds form.
- Heat the curds to 110 degrees, strain them from the whey.
- Knead the curds like dough to remove excess whey.
- Heat the whey in the pot to 150 degrees. Stir in ⅓ cup salt.
- Dip the curd in batches into the hot whey.
- Warm and stretch them until they are super stretchy.
- Heat it once more and work it into a ball.
- Run under cold water to chill and then wrap in plastic wrap.
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Have you learned how to make cheese yet?