Mozzarella: Success!

After a few less than successful tries at making mozzarella at home, I finally succeeded!

I’m giving you the recipe I made from all my trials. It should work for you the first time, but if it doesn’t, please try again. It took me three tries to get to this point, so it might take a few for you, too.


Homemade Mozzarella


  • 1 gallon whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. citric acid
  • 1/2 rennet tablet
  • digital thermometer
  • large glass bowl

Step 1: Pour the milk into a large non-reactive pot. Dissolve the citric acid in a little water, then pour it into the milk. Stir it gently. Heat the milk slowly to 90 degrees.

I discovered that my regular dial thermometer did not read below 100 degrees. A digital thermometer is important.

Step 2: Once the milk has reached 90 degrees, remove it from the heat. Dissolve the rennet tablet in a little water, then pour this into the milk. Stir it with an up and down motion, then cover the pot and let it sit for 1 hour.

The curds will set up while you let it sit. They should be quite firm. If not, let it sit a bit longer. When they are firm enough, they look like this:

They offer some resistance to pressure, and the whey has separated cleanly.

Step 3: Using a long knife, cut the curds into cubes.

Reheat to 105 degrees, stirring gently to avoid breaking up the curds too much.

Step 4: Once the curds have reached 105 degrees, remove the pot from the heat, and use a small sieve to spoon out the curds. Place them in a separate glass bowl.

Step 5: Hold the bowl in one hand, and squeeze the whey out of the curds with the other, until no whey comes out of them. I found it helpful to use a very large glass measuring cup because it had a handle. Pour the whey into the pot with the rest of the separated whey.

Step 6: Once there is no whey coming out of the curds, heat them in the microwave for 1 minute. Squeeze them again. Heat for 45 seconds, then squeeze again. Heat the curds for 30 seconds, then squeeze. This time, use the digital thermometer to check the temperature of the curds. They should be 135 degrees. If not, place them back in the microwave for 30 second intervals, until 135 degrees is reached.

Step 7: At this point, you can begin stretching the curds. They are quite hot, but cool off quickly. Stretch the curds like silly putty, don’t knead them like bread. At first they don’t stay together well, but they will become stretchy after a little while. You should have mozzarella that is shiny and forms easily into a ball.

I probably could have stretched this batch a little longer, but it was solid and shiny, so I stopped.

You can eat this immediately, or refrigerate it wrapped in plastic for up to a week.

Good luck with the process. It was well worth the effort (and two failed batches of cheese) for the end result!

The Wife

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