Mozzarella Cheese

How To Make Mozzarella Cheese The Easy Way

Learn how to make fresh mozzarella cheese the quick and EASY way (without using a microwave)! This homemade mozzarella cheese recipe was a game changer for me!

How to make mozzarella cheese - stretching mozzarella cheese

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, temperatures and morning-long fussing over a steamy pot of milk. That is 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.

However, I found my fridge slowly filling up with the milk. With a scowling and unthankful heart, I put cheesemaking on my to-do list once again.

Come to find out, I’ve been making homemade mozzarella cheese all WRONG!

Making Homemade Mozzarella Cheese is Easier Than You Think

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese balls in a container

When I heard about the book, 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 have made my brain hurt because they’re so complicated. Best of all, this book is inspirational!

Here I was not even a beginner cheesemaker, perhaps even a cheesemaking hater, wanting to make cheese! The book covered all of the basic recipes 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. Then she works up to the more difficult ones that involve presses and aging.

Homemade Mozzarella is fun and easy to make

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!!!!!!

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!

Tools Needed for Cheese Making

  1. A large stock pot. This large pot needs to easily hold a gallon on milk for this recipe.
  2. A thermometer. A few degrees off can significantly effect the final product. I recommend either one that clips to the lip of your pot or an instant read digital thermometer.
  3. A large colander for straining the curd. (Optional)
  4. A large slotted spoon or ladle. (Optional) You do want either this or the colander. You just need something for draining the curd.
  5. Cheese cloth. (Optional) Although this isn’t needed, it does make straining the curds much easier, even if you are using a colander.
  6. Rubber gloves. The cheese curds are the hottest at the point where you need to stretch them out. 150F is hot on the hands so rubber gloves will make stretching the curd a more enjoyable process.

Ingredients

  1. Milk – Any kind of milk will work as long as it is not ultra high temperature pasteurized (UHT). UHT destroys the milk’s ability to form curds. Ultra-pasteurized milk will not work in cheese making; although pasteurized whole milk will. Keep in mind also, that if you use skim milk or 2%, you will get less yield as some or most of the cream has already been removed. Whole milk will yield the most cheese. I personally prefer raw milk.
  2. Citric acid – This adds acidity to the milk which helps it form good curds and helps it stretch.
  3. Rennet – This also aids in curd formation and stretch. Most rennet on the market is GMO. If that is important to you, I use this non-GMO rennet.
  4. Non-iodized Salt or Kosher Salt – The iodine in regular kitchen salt may interfere with the cultures needed for cheese making.

How to Make Mozzarella Cheese – Step by Step Instructions

Making mozzarella cheese is not difficult, however it can be very finicky. The important thing is to pay attention to the temperatures. Also, using the same type of milk each time will help you get a feel for what that milk needs. For example, you may have to adjust the curdling agent (rennet) a bit to get the result you want as different milk has different buttermilk content (see troubleshooting later on in this article).

1. Prepare the ingredients.

dissolving rennet in water to make cheese

In a bowl, dissolve the rennet in the water and set aside. In the pot, dissolve the citric acid in the milk.

On a stove slowly heat the milk mixture to 88F. Once 88F is reached, remove the pot from the heat or the temperature will keep climbing. Next, add the rennet water to the milk mixture. You may see curds immediately begin to form.

Return the pot to heat and slowly heat until 110F and, once again, remove from the heat and more curds will form.

2. Form the curds

Strain the curds from the whey. The curds may look drained, but will still have whey in them. Knead the curds like dough to remove the excess whey.

Heat the whey in the pot to 150F and stir in the salt.

To make things easier to handle, you can break the large ball of curd into smaller ones for this step. Then, dip the curd balls in batches into the hot whey to warm them. Begin stretching each batch, dipping and stretching, until they are very stretchy and no longer break (this is where the gloves are very handy).

Warm one final time and work it into a ball. You can leave it as smaller balls for snacking, etc. or form the batches into one large ball for easy storage, cutting, grating, etc.

3. Store the cheese.

Run the cheese ball(s) under cool water to chill. You can enjoy immediately or wrap it in plastic wrap, then refrigerate or freeze.

How To Make Mozzarella Cheese The Easy Way

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Mozzarella Cheese

How To Make Mozzarella Cheese (The Easy Way)

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Ingredients

Scale
  • 1-gallon milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon citric acid
  • ¼ teaspoon non-GMO rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
  • ⅓ cup of salt

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the citric acid in the milk and heat it to 88 degrees.
  2. Stir in the dissolved rennet water, slowly, until curds form.
  3. Heat the curds to 110 degrees, strain them from the whey.
  4. Knead the curds like dough to remove excess whey.
  5. Heat the whey in the pot to 150 degrees. Stir in ⅓ cup salt.
  6. Dip the curd in batches into the hot whey.
  7. Warm and stretch them until they are super stretchy.
  8. Heat it once more and work it into a ball.
  9. Run under cold water to chill and then wrap in plastic wrap.
  10. Refrigerate.
  • Author: ReformationAcres

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. Until you find the perfect recipe (like the one I’ve found and am sharing with you), you will likely encounter issues 100% of the time. 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!

mozzarella cheese with tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar

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 cannot do, to lengthen the life of this cheese you lovingly created with your own hands (easily this time!).

DO:

  • 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!

DO NOT:

  • 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.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @theReformationAcres on Instagram and hashtag it #reformationacres.

Have you learned how to make cheese yet?

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41 Comments

  1. 5th times I’ve made this receipt and it turned out great every time, This last batch I’ve added fresh Dill and chives. So glad i found this. Thank you

    1. I’m glad you like the recipe. I may have to try adding dill and chives. It sounds delicious.

  2. Just finished this and wow. perfect. I made pizza with it and the wife feel in love. She said no more store bought.

    1. So glad you like it. We have the same problem. Can’t go back to buying it.

  3. This is really a great post. But not to sound dumb, what is rennet, and where do you get it. I would love to try this but i don’t know what the ingredients are. Thanks for any help, to a uneducated farm girl.

    1. Not dumb at all! So to boil it down, rennet is added to separate the curds from the whey. There’s all kinds of scientific/chemical reasons as to how that happens. But ultimately, you need to remove the whey from the milk so all you’re left to work with are the curds.

      The citric acid is used to give mozzarella that beautiful stretchy texture.

      You can buy both off of Amazon, but I buy my rennet from Walcoren because it’s GMO-free.

      Hope that helps! Let me know if I can clarify anything for you or you have other questions!

  4. Greetings from Utah! Will you specify whether those temperatures are Farenheit or Celsius please? Thanks! Cam

  5. How strange! This comment form won't let me share photos, but the other one I have on my site does and I shared a screenshot I just took (with the timestamp in the top right corner) of the site working. Maybe clear your cache/cookies or try disabling cookies or pop up blockers. I did get a pop up for her free essential oils ebook.

  6. I'm not sure what the problem could be- I tried clicking and it went through for me… Try this link here about cheesemaking I give an abbreviated run down of measurements in the comments below. For the actual recipe, you'll have to grab the book. It's totally worth it.

  7. I have been trying for two days to access that e-book and the link won't work. Also your video is nice but there isn't access to measurements or the actual recipe can you help me thank you

    1. For a detailed description, you’ll have to buy the book, but I’ll share my ultra-abbreviated version:

      You stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid to a gallon of cold milk,
      heat the milk to 88 degrees,
      stir 1/4 teaspoon rennet into 1/4 cup cold water,
      slowly stir that into the milk till curds form,
      bring the temp up to 110 degrees,
      strain out the curds & knead and squeeze to remove the whey,
      continue heating the whey to about 150 degrees,
      stir in 1/3 cup salt (which is different from the video),
      dip the curds back in warming them up till they’re real stretchy,
      heat it once more to work it into a ball,
      wrap it in plastic & stick it in the fridge.

  8. Sorry- I've been away from my computer today… Did it end up working? The recipe did say that it could take a bit of time to begin to coagulate? What type of milk did you use? Is your rennet fresh?

    1. Que buen direccionamiento para producir un buen queso Mozzarells. Esto nos muestra que toca seguir los diferentes pasos para Una buena elaboración del producto.
      Muchas gracias por la orientación.

  9. I wonder if you could make mozzarella from lactose free milk and cream. I can make farmer’s cheese with it and it’s good. While the milk isn’t ultra pasteurised or homogenised it is pasteurised. Would you mind explaining what UHT means?

    I miss mozzarella so much, so if I could make it so my stomach will tolerate it, I would be so very happy.

    1. Sorry I missed this comment Pia! UHT stands for Ultra High Temp pasteurizing. Pretty much all organic milk in the grocery stores (here at least) are UHT to make them last longer. I know there is a type of pasteurizing that makes the milk shelf stable, but I can’t remember the term for it. I would think that if you can make farmer’s cheese, you could make mozzarella, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t promise you 🙂 Blessings!

      1. No worries. Our milk is not UHT then, it doesn’t last very long either and is not shelf stable at all. I’ll try it once we’ve moved (aka after this Saturday). then I’ll have a big kitchen to work in!

  10. It sure is Sheila, just so long as you don't use UHT pasteurized milk. Sadly, that's most often how organic milk is processed. While I've never tried it, it's my understanding the batch won't turn out.

  11. That definitely seems easy enough to me!! Thank the Lord. Loved the video! Makes me want to play some classical music while making mozzarella 🙂

    1. We prefer Strauss or Dvorak 😉 If you try it, I hope it turns out as beautifully for you as it did for me! Blessings!