This has been Revised a little bit because some people have had a little trouble with the original. Even I had a few bad batches. The main differences are the times in the microwave. Follow the instructions carefully and you should end up with an almost 100% foolproof batch of Mozzarella CheeseIf you like fresh home made Mozzarella Cheese then try out this Instructable. If you have never had fresh Mozzarella Cheese, try it out any way. There is a world of difference between the packages stuff you buy in the store and the cheese you make yourself. It will only take a couple hours out of your life but it will be well worth it.There are a lot of recipes on the internet but a lot of them seem to skip an important step or 2 or don't really explain it well enough, so I have made many batches through trial and error combining things that I have learned and experimented with (so you don't have to) and come up with this recipe that seems to work real good.There are also a lot of recipes out there saying make Mozzarella Cheese in 30 minutes. Realistically, it ain't gonna happen if you want to do it right. Plan on it taking about an hour and a half to 2 hours. As you make more batches you can cut it down to maybe an hour or so.I use whole milk for mine but you should be able to use skimmed, 1%, or 2% milk also. If you have access to farm fresh milk your even better off and I'm jealous. You can also use goat, buffalo or camel milk.
Step 1: Equipment you will need:
Equipment:1. At least an 8 quart pot either enameled or stainless steel. (Do not use aluminum, cast iron or other reactive pots)2. Thermometer. (A candy thermometer will probably work but a good digital thermometer is much better for accuracy.)3. A couple measuring cups or something to dissolve the Citric Acid and Rennet in.4. A big strainer to strain the Curds from the Whey.5. A long sharp knife to cut the Curds up with.6. A slotted spoon to stir the Curds and dip them out with.7. Large bowl for the drained off Whey. (Glass is best)8. Small bowl to put the Curds in. (Glass is best)9. MicrowaveOptional:10. Nylon netting for draining Curds. (I use this with the strainer. You can get this stuff at most fabric stores. It is just nylon netting. Get the plain white and probably not the colored stuff)11. Plain white cloth if you want to make Ricotta Cheese with the Whey that is left over.12. Small strainer to dip out the curds.Ingredients:1. 1 gallon Milk. Let the milk set out either in the gallon container or in the pot until it gets to about 50 degrees. (I have only used whole milk, although you can also use 2% or skimmed milk. Do not use ultra-homogenized milk though. If you are lucky enough to get milk fresh from the farm, that's even better)2. 1 Rennet tablet crushed. (The Rennet tablet is used to coagulate the milk. You can also use liquid Rennet if you can get it. You can get The Rennet tablets at a lot of specialty or smaller stores and it is usually in the pudding aisle or in the Ice Cream section with the chocolate, nuts and stuff. About $2.00)3. 2 teaspoons Citric Acid divided. 1 teaspoon is dissolved in water and the other one is sprinkled directly into the milk. (The citric acid is what gives the cheese it's stretch. Get it at some health food stores for around $4.00 for 4 ounces or at a pharmacy which can cost $12.00 to $14.00)4. 1/2 cup water divided in 2. (Do not use chlorinated water. Bottled water is fine.)5. 1 - 2 teaspoons salt.
Step 2: OK First things First
1. Pour 1 teaspoon Citric Acid into 1/4 cup unchlorinated water and stir. Crush the Rennet tablet and pour it into the other cup of unchlorinated water.
The Citric Acid should be dissolved by the time you have to use it. Most of the Rennet will be dissolved but there will still be some residue left.
2. If you haven't done so already, pour milk into your pot.
Make sure the milk is around 50 degrees when you pour in the Citric Acid
Step 3: Pour in the Citric Acid.
1. Pour the dissolved Citric Acid in the milk and stir for 1 minute.
2. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of Citric Acid in the milk and sir for another minute. You will probably see the milk start to curdle very shortly.
Step 4: Heat milk to 88-90 degrees F. Stirring occasionally.
This is not an error. You are not trying to pasteurize the milk. If you get it too hot or too cold, the Rennet will not make curds. Use a low heat so it doesn't go past the 88-90 degrees. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: At 88-90 degrees turn off the heat and stir in the Rennet solution for 15-20 seconds.
Cover the pot with the lid and LEAVE IT SET UNDISTURBED FOR AT LEAST 15-20 MINUTES until you can get a clean break. I usually let mine set for 15-30 minutes. Time is not critical here as long as you get the clean break.
Step 6: Wait for a clean break.
This is what a clean break looks like. When you poke your finger into it and move for an inch or so and lift it out, the Curd and Whey should separate shortly. If it is still liquidy (Is that a real word?) and sticks to your finger let it set a while longer.
Step 7: Cut the Curd.
Cut the Curds into 1/2 inch cubes from top to bottom as shown. Then do the same thing at a 45 degree angle.
Step 8: Let the Curds set undisturbed for 5-10 minutes.
Just let them sit there.
Step 9: Apply low heat and heat to 108 degrees.
Apply low heat and stir the curds occasionally to keep them separated until they reach 108 degrees. This will take about 15 minutes. The Curds will shrink and start to sink as the Whey is expelled from them.
Step 10: Turn off the heat.
Turn off the heat and continue stirring every few minutes for an additional 20 minutes. The Curds will keep shrinking.
Step 11: Drain the Curds.
Drain the Curds into a strainer or colander and let set for about 15 minutes. Either use a small strainer to dip them out or just pour into the big bowl through the large strainer. Let the Curds drain until no more Whey comes out of them. This might take 10 - 15 minutes. You can either dump the Whey or save it to make Ricotta.
Step 12: Pour the Curds into the smaller bowl.
Pour the Curds into the smaller bowl and break them up with your hand a little bit.
Step 13: Heat the Curd.
OK here comes the tricky part.Place the Curds in the microwave on high for 30 - 45 seconds. If you have it on too long you will cook the Curd and it will turn to mush. Better a couple shorter cycles than one that's too long. The Curds will start to separate from the Whey. I have an 1100 watt microwave. If yours is a different wattage you might have to adjust the time.
Step 14: Squeeze the Curds
Using the slotted spoon or your hand GENTLY squeeze the Whey from the Curd. Pour off the Whey.
Step 15: Microwave again.
Microwave again for 15 - 20 seconds and pour more Whey off. As you are gently squeezing the Whey out work it into a ball also.
Step 16: Stretching. OK Here comes the fun part.
Put back in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Add Salt. At this point if it's warm enough it should start to become pliable and stretchy. YEAH!!!!. Grab 1/3 to 1/2 and lift. It should start to stretch under it's own weight. If not put it in the microwave for a few more seconds. As you work through the stretching process also knead it like bread a couple times. If necessary microwave occasionally until your cheese looks like the last picture.
Step 17: Work into a ball.
At this point knead it like bread dough into a ball. If it breaks apart on you just put it in the Microwave again for a bit. As soon as it is nice and smooth and shiny it's done.
Step 18: CHEESE!!!!!!!!
You now have some Great Home Made Mozzarella Cheese.