Making Mozzarella cheese at home can seem intimidating. But if you have two or three specific products you’ll be surprised how easy it is. Once you give it a try, you’ll want to make Mozzarella often. It’s so delicious – what is better than homemade fresh cheese?

Ingredients needed

1 gallon whole milk- raw or unpasteurized milk

1½ t citric-acid powder – in the form of loose powder or tablets

¼ t liquid rennet or ¼ rennet tablet combined with 1 cup of water

1 to 2 t salt, according to taste

Sprinkle the citric-acid powder – crush tablets if using – in a large non-reactive stock pot. Pour ¼ cup water over it and stir to dissolve.

Pour milk into the citric-acid solution and stir to combine.

Heat milk mixture to 90 degrees over medium-low heat – use an instant-read thermometer.

When the milk reaches 90 degrees, remove the pan from heat and pour in the rennet mixed with water.

Stir the mixture with a spoon gently for about 30 seconds; then use the spoon to stop the motion of the milk.

Place lid on the pot; don’t touch for exactly five minutes. After five minutes the mixture should resemble a very soft custard.

With a knife long enough to reach the bottom of the pot, cut the curd into a 1-inch checkerboard pattern.

Return the pot to the burner over medium heat; stir it gently until the temperature of the whey – the liquid that separates from the curd – reaches 105 degrees.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the curd to a colander set over a bowl.

Slowly spin the colander to allow the whey to drain from the curd. You should see the mozzarella coming together.

Remove the cheese and gently squeeze it a few times to drain off more excess whey.

Transfer the cheese to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave the curd at high for 1 minute.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and pour off as much whey as possible.

Press the curd together with your hands and again drain off the whey that comes out.

Microwave it again for 35 seconds; press curd together again to drain the whey.

Knead and stretch the curd a bit to drain more whey.

Microwave one last time for 35 seconds.

Knead in the salt and roll it under itself until it forms a neat ball.

Set the ball into an ice-water bath and let it rest in there until totally cool.

Now it’s ready to eat. Slice it and eat it just the way it is – or use it in recipes for pizza, caprese salad, lasagna, sandwiches, etc. I personally like it best served cold.

Notes:

  • It’s best to use the mozzarella within a day, or store in brine for as much as a week.
  • If you wish to omit the need for a microwave, dip the cheese in a bowl of 180-degree water to warm it.
  • Use the whey to make bread, or use in soups and drinks; it adds protein.
  • Raw milk is best for cheesemaking but you can also use pasteurized milk as long as it hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized.

Cherlyn Beachy lives near St. Ansgar in northeast Iowa with her husband, Mervin, and their son and daughter. They have a large garden and raise their own chickens, beef, pork and eggs. She came to Iowa to teach at a little church school where she met an Iowa boy – and now she’s an Iowa girl. Married a little more than three years, she’s a stay-at-home mom who loves to cook and enjoys photography. She’s combined the two, taking photos of her food and then sharing with others. “I cook like many of you – no special equipment, no exotic ingredients and no one else to wash the dishes,” she says. “I’m always on the lookout for recipes that fit the schedule of a busy household – providing tasty easy-to-prepare seasonal food.”