Hey, Bella! I’ve got Mozzarella!

All right, mozzarella fans. This is it. You’ve waited patiently while I demonstrated how to make ricotta, goat cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone, and feta. Now it’s your turn. Today I’ll show you how to make mozzarella. Hopefully, you’ve tried to make at least one of the earlier cheeses so that you’ve some idea about creating & handling curds, clean breaks, sterilizing equipment, etc., because you’re going to need all of this experience — plus another trick or two — to make today’s cheese. I have to say, though, having a taste of freshly made mozzarella when still warm makes it all worthwhile. And, if that’s not enough, imagine making an Insalata Caprese of freshly made mozzarella with sliced tomatoes & basil, both picked moments before from your garden. Cambierà la vostra vita!

Now, before we get into the nuts and bolts of making mozzarella, there are a few things that need mention. First of all, mozzarella belongs to the pasta filata, “spun paste”, family of Italian cheese. Primarily made from buffalo or cow’s milk, provolone, scamorza, and caciocavallo are also members of this group. The curds of these cheeses are heated in water and spun before being pulled and stretched to make the cheese. If they aren’t spun or pulled properly, the cheese’s texture will not be right nor will the cheeses have that characteristic stretchy quality when melted.

Rigatoni al Forno

Next, you may recall that in the feta post, I wrote that calcium chloride (CaCl) could be used to compensate for overly pasteurized dairy product and would result in firmer curds. While that is true and CaCl is used widely in cheese making, it can not be used when making any of the pasta filata cheeses. Using CaCl will toughen the curds, making that stretch impossible and  ruining the texture of the finished cheese. So, with no agent to counteract the effects of over or ultra-pasteurization, you must use raw or pasteurized milk. When choosing pasteurized, select a whole milk from a local dairy to minimize the chances of it being over pasteurized. Some milk will have the pasteurization temperature posted on the container’s label. I use that milk, when I can find it, because the pasteurization temperature is low compared to most. Try as I might, I’ve been unable to make mozzarella from ultra-pasteurized milk.

Another thing about mozzarella is that it requires a level of acidity in order to form the curds — and this is where the processes diverge when making American versus Italian Mozzarella. Today we’re making American Mozzarella and we’ll add granulated citric acid to create the acidity required. (When we make Italian Mozzarella, we’ll let the curds sit overnight to develop the necessary acidity.) Citric acid is commonly used when making wine at home, in canning, and in a multitude of food manufacturing processes. It is quite inexpensive and can be purchased anywhere home brewing or wine making supplies are sold, at some pharmacies, on Amazon, or through the sites listed on my Cheesy Stuff page. You will not be able to make American Mozzarella without it nor can you substitute fresh citrus juice for it.

You’ll see “Lipase” included among the list of ingredients. Lipase is an enzyme that is used to enhance the flavor of mozzarella, Asiago, provolone, feta and blue cheeses. It can be purchased from the cheese making sites listed on my Cheesy Stuff page. It is not a necessary ingredient, however, so don’t worry if you cannot find or purchase it. If you do use it, however, add another ¼ tablet of rennet for each gallon of milk.

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Simple salad of rocket, tomato, and mozzarella with red wine vinegar and olive oil.

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Sorry about the quality of the photos to follow but this wasn’t an easy process to photograph while working alone. I, also, missed a photo or two but none so important that you’ll get lost. Lastly, you’ll notice that I use gloves when handling the curds. If you have asbestos fingers, you may not need to use them. I’ve found that they do offer some protection from the heated curds while they’re being stretched. I’ve heard that it is customary for women in Italy to keep a bowl of ice water nearby. They dip their hands in it when the heat becomes too much to bear. It’s not such a bad idea, even when wearing gloves.

Before beginning, please refer to my Cheesy Stuff page. Chock full of cheesy details, it provides information about ingredients, cleaning/sterilizing equipment, spices & seasonings, a few tips, and sources for supplies and information.

OK. If no one has any objections, let’s get this show on the road …

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How to Make Mozzarella at Home

Ingredients

  • 1 gal (3.67 L) whole milk — NOT ultra-pasteurized
  • 1¼ tsp citric acid dissolved in a ¼ cup (60 ml) of cool distilled water
  • ½ tablet rennet dissolved in a ¼ cup (60 ml) of cool distilled water
  • ¼ tsp Lipase dissolved in a ¼ cup (60 ml) of cool distilled water — optional but, if using Lipase, add another ¼ tablet of rennet
  • 1 tsp table salt

Directions

  1. Place milk in a non-reactive pot with a lid. Gently heat the mixture until 88˚F (31˚C), stirring occasionally to prevent scalding on the pan’s bottom.
  2. Add diluted citric acid and mix well. If using Lipase, add it now and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place pot where it will not be disturbed. Add dissolved rennet, stir thoroughly,  and cover pot. Do not disturb for at least one hour. I wait two hours, if not a little more.
  4. As was done when making feta cheese, check for a clean break and, when achieved, go to step 6.

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Clean break.

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Bad break.

5. If a clean break is not achieved, wait an hour and test again. Still bad? Wait another hour. Still bad? Nothing to be done but dump the dairy and start over.

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6. Use a long knife or offset spatula, and starting at one side of the pot, cut a straight line through the curd. Once the opposite side has been reached, create another slice about ½ in front of the previous cut. Repeat until the entire curd has been cut into horizontal slices.

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7. Give the pot a quarter turn and, starting at one end of the pot, repeat the slicing process. When finished, the curd should be cut into ½ inch squares.

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8. Now take the knife or offset spatula and, with the blade on an angle, slice through the curds from side to side at ½ inch intervals. This will cut the curds beneath the surface. Repeat this step twice, turning the pot and cutting the curds on an angle each time.

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9. Gently stir the curds, cutting any that are larger than 1/2 inch.

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10. Return the pot to the stove and gently heat the curds and whey until they reach 108˚F (42˚C), stirring frequently to prevent sticking on the pan’s bottom. Maintain that temperature for 35 minutes, stirring the curds occasionally to keep them separated.

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11. Gently pour the pot’s contents into a sieve, separating the curds while reserving the whey. Allow to drain for 15 minutes. Break apart any large clumps of curds.

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12. Place curds into a large bowl, season with salt, and mix thoroughly. Place ⅓ of the salted curds in a 2 cup measure and microwave on high for 45 seconds.

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Curds straight from the microwave.

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13. Use a spoon to combine the curds while distributing the heat, creating a single, large curd mass.

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14. Once combined, remove but be careful. It’s hot. Note how dull it is.

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15. Slowly stretch the curd like you would salt water taffy. If it breaks instead of stretching, re-heat the curd for another 15 seconds before trying again.

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16. Fold in half onto itself.

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17. Stretch it again. Continue to stretch & fold until the cheese is smooth and shines.

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18. Form into a ball like you would bread dough for a dinner roll. Best if used right away. See Notes for storage tips.

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1 gallon (3.67 L) of whole milk yields about 13 ounces (375 g) of mozzarella.

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Notes

YouTube has a number of videos about making mozzarella. Often they begin with a cook pouring boiling water over curds that were either made or purchased off-camera. As you’ll learn in a few weeks, using boiling water to cook the curds is a part of the process when making Italian Mozzarella. Using a microwave, as indicated above, will work just fine for American Mozzarella.

According to Dr. Fankhauser, the whey reserved from above may be used to make ricotta. Similar to the traditional method of making ricotta, he directs that the whey be heated to 203˚F (95˚C), allowed to cool, and then filtered. I have never gotten an appreciable amount of ricotta from whey resulting from making American Mozzarella. I don’t even try anymore and just use some of the whey to store my mozzarella. If I want to make ricotta, I follow this recipe.

Mozzarella will remain good to eat for about 1 week but the sooner you use it, the better it will taste. It is at its peak when it is still warm after being stretched. If it is not to be used immediately, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside until needed. Do not refrigerate. If you’re not going to use it that day, do not wrap it but place it in some reserved whey, covered, and then refrigerate it. Be aware that once it is chilled, the texture — the creaminess — will change because the milk fats will harden.  Restaurants will make mozzarella in the morning and whatever is left at the end of the day will be refrigerated and used in pizza the following day. American Mozzarella can be made in a couple of hours and, believe me, once you taste the difference between freshly made and mozzarella that you’ve chilled, you’ll want to use it all the same day you make it. Now, I have read where some store it coated in salt or in a bath of (sometimes flavored) olive oil. I’ve not tried either approach and, because of that, I won’t recommend them.

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Inspired by the Fankhauser American Mozzarella webpage

and

“Home Cheese Making” by Ricki Carrol

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By any other name … 

“Judy Garland”

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118 thoughts on “Hey, Bella! I’ve got Mozzarella!

    • Thanks, Roger. Living where you do, you have a ready supply of cheese, most of it of a high caliber. There are far better ways to spend your time than making cheese. If nothing else, go shopping for cheese.

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  1. Looks wonderful John! The organic milk I buy is pasturised at 60 C for 30 minutes; lower temp is preferable?
    I’ll look at a hot water version …….don’t posess a microwave.
    Judy Garland is beautiful!

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    • Thank you. Our milk is pasteurized, under pressure at 167˚F (75˚C) for 15 seconds. Ultra-pasteurized dairy is pressurized and heated to 280˚F (137.8˚C) for 2 seconds. Dairy that I call “over pasteurized” is heated higher than the 167˚F but not so high to be considered ultra-pasteurized. From my experience, anything higher than the 167˚ F (75˚C) can be a problem both in taste and creating curds. I think your milk, being pasteurized at a lower temperature, would work just fine. Nothing will be as good as raw/unpasteurized dairy products but we can still get pretty good results so long as we pay attention to the pasteurization process.
      You can still make this version without a microwave. Instead of placing a third of the curds in a microwave, place them in a bowl and pour near boiling water over them. Stir them to distribute the heat. Using a fork or spoon, separate a little piece of the mass and twirl it a bit. If it creates filaments, “spins”, it’s ready for pulling. If, once you start to stretch it, you notice that it isn’t really stretching easily, put it back into the bowl and add more hot water. Once re-heated, try to stretch them again.

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    • Thank you so much. I had no idea The Beatitudes included a reference to cheese makers. 🙂
      I think the problem lies in the names we use for the various dairy products. I do not know, for example what you would consider
      “heavy cream” or “whipping cream.” Here, the percentage of milkfat in each determines the name. Not knowing whether our countries use the same means of measuring milkfat, I don’t know how useful that info would be.
      We need a cheese making ex-patriot living on either side of The Pond to help us!

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  2. Another great recipe! It always floors me how much milk goes into making a little bit of cheese. And seeing the whole process clearly described and illustrated really helps me understand what goes into making it. I wonder if I can convince my mom to give it a whirl with me…

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    • Oh, go ahead. Give it a whirl! Start with the ricotta or mascarpone. They’re pretty easy to make and will get you ready for the “heavy stuff,” feta or mozzarella. If I can do this, you certainly can!

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  3. our local grocery store actually make their own mozzarella, it is so fresh and good…I’m sure it can’t compete with yours though…looks lovely…

    my tomato plants are going crazy…I have so many flowers and small green tomatoes already. It might be the mild tempts, not sure but can’t wait for some homegrown!

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    • Thank you, Maria. The thing about this mozzarella is that you really must eat it on Day One. Although it is still good on Days 2 through 7, it never tastes anything like it does on Day 1.

      My tomatoes just started blooming this past weekend but the plants are the best looking I’ve ever had. If I can keep the squirrel (my Nemesis), the raccoon family, and my dog away from them this should be a good year. Against seemingly impossible odds, I’ve got high hopes that this will be a good year for tomatoes.

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  4. Thanks for the making mozzarella lesson. You make the whole process sounds so easy and doable. Doubt I will be making it but gives me a better understanding and appreciation of this cheese and all the other cheeses you have introduced me to.
    Delightful salads.
    Judy Garland is stunning, You must have quite a collection of roses. I see a fence in the background what is it for?

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    • Thank you, Norma. Admittedly, if you start your cheese making hobby with mozzarella, it will seem like a lot to master. But, if you try one of the easier cheeses first, you’ll find that feta or mozzarella aren’t so bad after all. And both cheeses taste terrific!
      Yes, Judy is a pretty one, isn’t she? That fence is the border to the dog run. Although I rarely, if ever, lock my Max in it, he’s been trained to “use” it when needed, keeping the rest of my yard clean.

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  5. That is unbelievable. I had no idea what was involved and didn’t even know it was possible to make your own mozzarella. It does look like quite a business and like you say, best to start with one of the easier cheeses. We can buy organic milk that hasn’t been pasteurised. I’m imagining it would be possible to use this to make mozzarella? And I love the look of your salad and I just wish this computer somehow allowed me to do a live taste test – that’s the only thing missing from this cooking demonstration! xx

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    • Your milk would make perfect mozzarella, Charlie, as well as good feta and ricotta, too. Un-pasteurized (raw) dairy products always taste better and make better curds.
      Over here, we can buy kits to make mozzarella. All one needs is to supply the milk. I bet you might be able to find a similar kit in Oz. Check out a local cheese making website. Well, when Alfie, Arabella, and Archie give you a minute to yourself. 🙂

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  6. I know a couple of restaurants that make their own mozz…it’s SO wonderful.
    One of them imports Burrata though…I can’t resist it. 😉
    Great tutorial. One of these days, I’ll actually get to try making it on my own…just not any time soon!

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    • AH! Burrata! I forgot to look for it when I went to “my” Italian market. They have so many cheeses that I get all excited and just grab a couple. I just now started my grocery list and Burrata is item no. 1.
      Don’t worry about cheese making for now. When you’re ready, I’ll be here to walk you through the process. On a lark, I just looked up Burrata and found instructions for making it at home. I think it is out of my league but, who knows? By the time you’re ready, maybe I’ll have learned how to make Burrata and I’ll show you how to do it. Wouldn’t that be something! 🙂

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  7. OH NO! I have everything BUT the citric acid, and i cannot proceed without it!! POO! But i have the milk waiting in a bucket on the bench! I will have to make a parmesan and do mozzarella another day. We have a few early tomatoes too but the basil is not up yet which is worrying! But I wanted to make mozzerella. I can just taste it from your pictures too! Can I make feta with cows milk? Maybe i shall pop over to your feta recipe and see if i have everything for that! c

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    • Citric acid is pretty common, Celi. Do you ever buy supplies for wine making? If you do, that store should have citric acid for sale. I bought mine at a home brewing supply store for not much more than a $1.00 for 2 ounces.
      Italian mozzarella doesn’t need it but the process is a bit trickier and I use pH papers to make sure the acidity level is correct. Using fresh milk, though, you may not need them.
      Yes, you can make feta with cow’s milk and it will probably be more flavorful than the feta I make using pasteurized goat’s milk.
      My tomato plants never looked so good but they just started blooming last weekend. Still, I bet this will be a bumper crop and I owe it all to your post about worm casings. I’m a believer and will buy a bag every spring. Thank you for that info!

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  8. So interesting and so thorough. I just kept wishing I was in the kitchen with you to watch…and I’d have taken your photos, too! The end result looks lovely, as do the preparations. And another gorgeous rose! I think Judy and Helen are duking it out for prettiest colors now! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Betsy. I really could have used a second pair of hands this time around. It all worked out, though, and these were good enough for my purposes.
      Judy and Helen are right next to each other and get along just fine. I wish I could say the same for all of my girls this year. A couple are having a rough time. Not to worry. I’ll save them! 🙂

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      • I agree, your instructional photos are always great as are the instructions themselves. I just love to watch people demonstrate how to make things! I’m craving caprese now. It’s clear all your girls get lots of TLC. They are spectacular!

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  9. Ahhh.. I was thinking c would have the perfect milk for this in a bucket and I see (above) she does. I can’t wait to have the time this summer to work through these cheese recipes, even if I never make it to the more advanced cheeses I’ll be so pleased to have accomplished some of them! I love and always order a caprese.. the restaurant here serves a little dollop of pistachio pesto.. heaven on a plate. I bet you’re growing your own tomatoes as well? xo Smidge

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    • Yes, Celi is sitting pretty for cheese making with Daisy being so gracious. I have to figure out a way to get her some citric acid.
      That insalta Caprese sounds wonderful. Pistachio pesto? How delicious is that? I have to find or figure out a recipe for it.
      When you’re ready, barb, to make cheese, I’ll be here to help should you need it. Not to worry. If I can make this, you can. Trust me.

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      • I just chopped up some pistachios finely and added to a regular pesto.. just adds some texture:) I have to say I’m reassured that you’ll be there to (virtual) help with the cheese-making.. it’s all new to me!

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        • Barb, all kidding aside, the way you bake and decorate cakes, none of these cheeses will be at all difficult for you.
          Who knows? 5 years from now you may be the proud owner of you own dairy farm, where Smidge’s Cheeses are made and sold. 🙂

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  10. Bravo! I know I should start with one of the easier cheeses… But knowing me, I might dive straight in. I have citric acid in the cupboard, but need to see where I can get the appropriate milk. Great post 😀

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    • You and I are cut from the same cloth. I dove right in — failed a couple times and went back to making easier cheeses. As I learned, the most important thing is getting milk that , if not unpasteurized (raw), hasn’t been pasteurized at too high a temperature. Ultra-pasteurized dairy products will never work. The lower the temp used to pasteurize it, the better. From experience, I’ve learned that dairies that supply a pasteurization temp on the milk’s label are most often using a lower temp. It’s a selling point.
      Good luck and if you experience problems, drop me a line and we’ll work it out.

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  11. Que bella. tu mozzarella! I can’t get much beyond that first beautiful (!!!) image John!! I’ll take time to savor the instructions later this afternoon, but I just had to say how delighted I am to see this much-anticipated post! I would so love to make this cheese – who knows if I ever will – but caprese salads are one of my favorite foods on earth! And yours, as delicious-looking as any I’ve seen! Que bella, John!

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    • Mille grazie, Cara!

      You know, there are kits available for making mozzarella. You can find them online or at some of the sites listed on the Cheesy Stuff page. All you’ll need to do is buy the milk.

      And an insalta Caprese with freshly made mozzarella and tomatoes from your garden just cannot be beat! Guaranteed! C’mon. Give it a try!

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  14. Excellent background and explanation. You performed miracles getting those pictures while your hands were full. I’d never realised that it was made by stretching like dough. I’m dying to try cheese making, but I need more space first. Great post John!

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    • Thanks, MD! I’ve got a lowly point-and-shoot camera. Getting these pics is somewhat of a magic act. Luckily, I’ve only 1 more cheese to go in the series and I can probably make do with the photos I’ve already taken. That makes the whole process so much easier!
      If you ever do get the space, I’ll be here to lend a had if you need it. We cheese makers need to stick together. 🙂

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  15. I love the Judy Garland rose! I am partial to yellow and orange roses!

    First John, I wanted to report that you didn’t show up in my reader again. I just think that’s worth noting, although I haven’t any idea why this happens or what we can do about it. I posted last night just about the time you did…because I saw you in my email! I kept an eye out to do a little test, and as of this morning, still no. I guess we all need to have backups in our following methods.

    But your insalata caprese just makes my mouth water. I am so ready for this particular taste of summer. I have actually been thinknig about the feta recipe and think I might be read, but this might be a strong contender. I have held off only because I’m a little concerned that I don’t have the ability to really follow the steps with accuracy, but I have a friend who is very capable, and I think we need to have a cooking date. I’d be more confident. These recipes are just too wonderful for words and I need to learn! Thanks! Debra

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    • The Judy Garland rose is one you should own. It opens yellow but turns to fire orange within a couple days. It was just starting to “turn” when I snapped the picture.
      I agree with you about insalta Caprese. It’s why I grow tomatoes! Most of these cheeses need to sit overnight. Only ricotta and mozzarella do not. Since you’ll be joined by a friend, you may wish to consider trying either of these two first while your friend is available.
      Believe me, Debra, once you start making one of these, the others will all seem much easier than they do now. All you need is a little experience. 🙂

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  16. Thank you John for such an excellent description on how to make American Mozzarella! You have made this impossible to resist; sadly, I won’t have time to make it for a couple of weeks…will I be able to stand it? I may have to rethink my plans for the weekend to squeeze it in. Now I have to find the ingredients…I’m off to your cheesy stuff page.
    Thanks again, John. Very informative and excellent post, as usual.

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    • You’re very welcome, Eva. Once you get the time, you should be able to make this mozzarella in an afternoon — 2 to 3 hours, actually. Compared to the others, this is practically instant gratification. And considering your prior success with ricotta, you should have no problems with this one — or with feta, for that matter. 🙂

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  17. I know I am never going to make mozzarella, but much as Dave likes to sit on the couch and watch people climb K2, I totally enjoyed reading this. I’m very admiring of your skill and patience…and the caprese photo is stunning!

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    • Thanks, Gail, but I know you could make this. It looks more involved than it actually is and should only take 2 to 3 hours. On the other hand, we could just drive to that Italian market and buy theirs — and a cannoli for the ride home. Hmmm. I think we have a winner!

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  18. I’m speechless!! (Shocking, I know.) How in the world will I ever be able to thank you for this John?? You have anticipated and answered every single question I had about making mozzarella. I can not WAIT to do this. Now that we’re feeling pretty smug around here because we’ve successfully made your feta so much, I feel like I can do this too. Grateful would be an understatement, but I certainly am that! Yay mozzarella! That salad….must. have. 🙂
    Thank you so much for this John!!

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    • You’re so welcome, Sarah, and thanks for leaving another great comment.
      You two are feta making champions. You’ll have no problems making this mozzarella. You’ll need some citric acid. I bought mine at a Brew & Grow. They’re a chain that sells equipment for beer & wine making and have stores in North-eastern Illinois and 2 stores South-eastern Wisconsin. One is near Madison, if that’s of any help to you.
      You will love this cheese when freshly made. And if you ever need ricotta, do yourself a favor and make it. You’ll never buy anything that tastes as good.
      I hope you’re feeling better so that you get to work making mozzarella! 🙂

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      • Thank you John! I’ll have Hubby head to Brew & Grow tomorrow in Madison (he works there). Thanks for the help with that. I’m still not feeling 100%, but the mozzarella is top priority for Saturday no matter what 🙂 Right after the Madison Farmer’s Market. YAY! I’m more than a little excited. Happy Friday!

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  21. John my friend, can you simple come over and make cheese for Liz and I (I’ll supply the libations) or can I place an order (is over night shipping available?)? We’re in cheese purgatory and this post just killed me. Yes, course I could make some on my own from your brilliant directions, but why not hire the master instead. 😉

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    • Things would be so much easier, Jed, if you had just moved East instead of North. What were you thinking? The next time you move, do consider your cheese needs. As it is, this was so un-gluttonous of you. 🙂

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  22. John your posts are incredible! Your knowledge and the research you do, takes me along every time! And now you say it, I can understand why Mozzarella has a stringy texture and can be pulled, it all makes so much more sense now. But what I’m not quite understanding is the difference between US and non US Mozzarella – I think I must be being a bit dim today (been a long day)

    And Judy 🙂 thank you Judy!

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    • Thank you, Claire. American mozzarella, the type made in this post, is less time-consuming to make and the flavor a bit more strong. I find it a little less creamy but, considering how much easier it is to make, I can overlook that.. You can make American mozzarella in a couple hours and use citric acid to achieve the acidity needed to form the curds. In this country, American mozzarella is sold, grated, for making pizza.
      Italian mozzarella is a bit creamier and its taste a little more subtle. Both types of mozzarella require a certain acidity. For Italian, you inoculate the milk with a little yogurt & buttermilk and leave it overnight, during which time it will sour a bit and the acidity will build. I use pH papers to ensure that the curds have reached the proper acidity level.

      I hope this clears up any confusion I may have caused. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you’ve more questions.

      Yes, Judy is a star, isn’t she? 🙂

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  23. Hi John,

    Fascinating as always! I’m interesting in what you think about the difference is in taste is between American and Italian Mozzarella? I would love to give it a go sometime after I have mastered some of your other easier cheese. All I will have to be a little careful of is where I buy the citric acid… Last time I needed it for making Elderflower Champagne I had to take the recipe with me to prove I wanted it for a legal purpose…I got some very strange looks and short shift when I asked for it at some places!!

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    • I didn’t realize but I just answered your questions about mozzarella in the previous comment.
      I can order citric acid from Amazon and a host of cheese making sites. I can go into a home brewery stores and buy it, no questions asked. I wonder what other use it has that would result in the shoddy treatment you received. If you need more, perhaps you can order it online and spare yourself the hassle. I certainly hope so. Good luck!
      Feel free to come back if you’ve any other questions.

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  24. The photo of the caprese salad are just killing me. That looks SOOOOO good! I can’t even imagine what fresh mozzarella tastes like. It has to be phenomenal. Miss A would die, I’m sure. She snacks on those little fresh mozzarella bites all the time. She even requested some with her waffles the other day. That one baffled me a bit. LOL. I’m so impressed with your mozz John. It looks fabulous and while I have no doubt this is not an easy process, you make it look a lot less scary. 🙂

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    • How can you deny Miss A the experience of tasting freshly made mozzarella? 🙂
      Without any prior experience, making mozzarella can be a bit daunting. So, make a batch of ricotta, mascarpone, or cream cheese to get your feet wet. You’ll have a great batch of cheese and gain some experience that will be invaluable when tackling mozzarella or feta.
      Thanks for leaving a great comment, Kristy, and it you decide to make some cheese, I’ll be here to help.

      Like

  25. I have been waiting for this one 🙂
    I just have one question, if I used raw milk do you think the heating in the microwave before stretching is enough to make it safe to eat?
    I am really looking forward to trying this because you can’t buy fresh mozzarella here

    Like

    • Hello, Sawsan! I’ve been searching the web, trying to find if it would be safe or not. I found a number of people who use organic, unpasteurized (raw) milk. Not a one says that the milk is either safe or unsafe. I think if it was safe, they’d say so.

      Now in order to pasteurize something, you must bring it to (145.4˚F) 63˚C for 30 minutes or 161.6˚F (72˚C) for 16 seconds. When you make mozzarella using near boiling water instead of the microwave, you pour the hot water over the curds to “cook” them until they show signs of being able to be stretched/pulled. I’ve not found a site anywhere that says that will make the curds safe. Remember, the water has to bring all of the curds to that temp and maintain it for whatever time is specified for pasteurization to occur.

      One site that is in favor of using raw milk says that the risk is about equal to the risk of eating raw oysters. I believe there’s a risk but I don’t know if that comparison is credible. As I said, there are a number of sites using raw mozzarella both here and abroad. I think the most important thing is to know your supplier. Is the farm/fairy clean and the milking operation spotless? Is it organic?

      I’m sorry I can’t be more definitive for you, Sawsan. I’m not done searching yet but didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about you. I will let you know if I find any more information.
      Take care,
      John

      Like

      • Thank you so much John for your reply, I really appreciate all the effort and research you put into your posts. When I make any of your recipes I do it with complete confedance that it will work brilliantly beacuse I know how much passion and effort you put into each and every recipe.
        I will have to look for a farm I am 100% certain of and that is not that easy but I will do my best because I really want to try this
        Thanks again for your reply John
        Sawsan

        Like

  26. Pingback: Hey, Bella! I’ve got Mozzarella! | Frugal Foodie Recipes | Scoop.it

  27. I am so excited by this post! I saw your post yesterday but wanted to wait until I was at home to read it again properly 🙂 I didn´t manage to get any rennet while I was in the UK, so will try again here (but I know I can buy it in the UK, I just didn´t have time). Shame as one of the goatherds has just left me 2 litres of fresh, fresh milk from the morning milking. I am in awe of what you did here, the patience it must have taken. Did you train Max to use the camera or did you use your nose to take the shots when both your hands are working on the cheese?! Finally, another stunning rose for us…good old Judy!

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    • Welcome home, Tanya! I get many of my supplies on Amazon and bet you could do the same on Amazon.co.UK. That fresh milk would have made some incredible cheese!
      This isn’t really so difficult to do. The best part of it is that it is a relatively fast process and doesn’t need to sit overnight. You really can make it after lunch for that night’s supper. Yum!
      No, Max didn’t help. You have no idea how many of those shots were cropped to remover his nose from view. Up until about an hour before posting, one photo had is tail in it. I’d been so focused on his nose that I completely missed his tail. 🙂
      Yeah, that Judy is a trooper. She’ll turn to completely fire orange as she opens. Quite a stunner.

      Like

    • You’re welcome, Dave. This series was fun. Oddly enough, although I’d made all of the cheeses before, I’d never made each a few times and all of them, one after the other, like I just did. It will be nice leaving a grocery without carrying a gallon of whole milk or half gallons of heavy cream or goat’s milk.
      Stay tuned. Next month we’ll end the series with Italian mozzarella.

      Like

  28. Everything looks wonderful. I don’t think I’ve progressed to the point of trying this one yet, but I’m gonna keep it on file for when my skills improve. With your great instructions that maybe soon. As always, thanks for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    Like

    • Thank you, Francine, and don’t worry. Try to make one or two fo the easier cheeses and mozzarella won’t be so daunting. Like anything else in cooking/baking. The more you do something, the better you are doing it. 🙂

      Like

  29. I’m with Mandy. We’re all coming to your house for some cheese and tomatoes. I’ll bring a chocolate cake. We’ll all be happy. Your mozzarella looks to die for. I can’t imagine getting to eat it warm, freshly made. I may just have to get on board with this cheese making craze you are creating John.

    Like

    • Wouldn’t that be something, Geni? If we do get together, though, I say we drive South to Celi’s farm and let Daisy supply the milk. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right! In the meantime, if you feel like taking the plunge into cheese making, I’m here to help in any way that I can. 🙂

      Like

  30. Ok John, you have finally convinced me to try making cheese. Not this or anything complicated but your absolute easiest. I don’t have much room at the cottage for making or storing cheese nor room for equipment but I just found a source for totally fresh, raw milk from a dairy not too far away. So what will I be making and what is the smallest batch I can make?

    Like

    • This is great, Karen. Just to be sure, though, you are aware that using raw, unpasteurized milk for these “fresh” cheeses does come with risks, as would drinking raw milk or doing anything with it that doesn’t bring the temp up high enough for pasteurization. Just how big a risk is open to debate and you can improve your odds by “knowing” your source. Is it a clean dairy; is the milk really fresh; etc. I’ve searched the web and many people make cheese from raw milk. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the risk. (Raw milk isn’t an issue with the “hard” cheeses (cheddar, Parmesan, bleu, et al) because they are “cured” for at least 60 days. None of the harmful bacteria can survive that long.)
      Now, depending upon how much milk you get, you can make a nice amount of ricotta with a half-gallon of whole milk. It is the easiest to make and the result is a very creamy, tasty cheese. We, Zia and I, use it to stuff shells and freeze them on baking sheets. Once stored, all that’s needed is some sauce and you’ve got a dinner in minutes. As fine a cook of Italian dishes that you are, you’ll have no problem using it up.
      Cream cheese & mascarpone require heavy cream to be made. Feta can be made with whole cow’s milk but goat’s milk is preferred. Of course, you can make mozzarella but, as you suggest, it’s best to start with an easy recipe. Ricotta is the whey to go!
      Good luck and I’m here if you’ve questions.

      Like

  31. I never knew cheese could be so dang gorgeous!! Wow, I’m so impressed, John. I aspire to be as good at making cheese as you! And that caprese salad is gorgeous, and perfect presentation, too. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Caroline. Now you have a glimpse into how I feel whenever I go to your blog. Your recipes make me hungry every time!
      I do hope you try to make some cheese one day. Freshly made mozzarella is soo good. Such a treat!

      Like

  32. John, ooooh I love mozzarella. How wonderful to have such knowledge of creating it. I always have it in my cheese drawer. Recently I bought a cheese safe. Do you have one? They’re not fashionable these days I would suppose. I love it. Anyhow, I digress, great post!

    Like

    • Thanks, Susie. I’d never hear of a cheese safe but I googled it. I found a place that makes and sells them on the web. Right now, I use a drawer within my fridge but a cheese safe would come in handy and might bring a little order to the old ice box. Thanks for the tip.

      Like

      • I got mine through Napa Style but I see they don’t have them anymore. I can remember my grandmother having one when I was a kid. In France I was told that they use them to allow the cheese to breathe.

        Like

      • If a cheese safe is what I think it is, I got my first one at an antiques show. Since then I’ve bought to more on eBay, the vintage ones, so they’re around.

        Like

        • Thanks, Ruthie. Aside from the wooden “Cowgirl” one, I found a plastic “cheese safe” and a variety of other plastic containers. I hadn’t thought to check eBay, though. Thanks for the heads-up!

          Like

    • Thank you, Jasline. To be honest, I never would have thought I’d be making as much cheese as I do. It was a progression of sorts, that got me here. And mozzarella is where the progression ends — I hope. 🙂

      Like

    • “Professional”? Ha! I’ve pitched a whole lot of dairy trying to make these cheeses. Even now, Im never really sure if the curds will se right or how it will taste until it happens. I know one thing, though. If I can do this, anyone can. 🙂

      Like

    • Hardly talented. Like anything else, it just takes practice. As I just replied to “Noodle”, I threw out a lot of dairy trying to learn how to make these cheeses.
      Insalata Caprese is one of the reasons I grow tomatoes. You just cannot beat it when made with a freshly picked tomato.

      Like

  33. Great post John!
    I love mozzarella (who doesn’t?) I can imagine how good this is… Now I just need time, peace and quiet.
    I can see on your map that you have visitors from Panama, yay! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you, Giovanna. I imagine that your house right now is rather hectic. Cheese-making can wait a bit. 🙂
      Yes, I noticed the Panama flag and, of course, I immediately thought of you. The internet is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

      Like

  34. This is a question about the “break.” I have a very old Middle Eastern cookbook which gives simple instructions for making yoghurt, i.e., you scald the milk, then cover the pan with cheesecloth to keep things (inanimate or otherwise) out of it. Depending on the weather/room temp, it make “clot” quickly, or it may take overnight — what they called clotting is the soon-to-be-yoghurt forming a semisolid lump in the pan, surrounded by the liquid. Is this what you’d call a clean break? I’m wondering because this method doesn’t use anything kind of coagulant, just scald and let sit. If so, could I then proceed to the curd cutting step and go on from there? If I could, it would make me very happy. 😉
    Thanks for your help, and a really big thank you for all the work you did on this. It’s so helpful to see all the steps and to know the pitfalls before you begin.

    Like

    • First off, Welcome, Ruthie!
      I’m familiar with the yogurt-making process and, to my knowledge, you cannot use the yogurt “lump” to make mozzarella. The yogurt lump is created by bacteria. Mozzarella, on the other hand, relies on rennet to form the curd. The result is a curd that can stand up to further processing, including cutting and heating. Eventually, these curds are stretched and stretched and stretched again, to give the mozzarella it’s characteristic texture. The yogurt lump is far too gelatinous for this kind of treatment.
      Now, many cheeses get their flavor from various bacteria, as do yogurt and buttermilk. You can use yogurt and buttermilk to “infect” your dairy, thereby adding flavor. I use a tablespoon of yogurt when I make feta, for example, and the bacteria will give the goat’s milk its feta flavor. Beyond that, in a couple weeks, I’ll be sharing my last home-made cheese recipe and that’s Italian mozzarella. Its flavor comes from using a spoon of both buttermilk and yogurt. Whether you’re making feta or Italian mozzarella, however, rennet is needed to form the curds and, as such, is not the same as taking the yogurt lump and making cheese with it.

      Are you familiar with labneh? It’s “yogurt cheese” that’s made from draining all of the whey from yogurt. Place a coffee filter in a strainer and fill the filter with plain yogurt. Stick the strainer, over a bowl, back into the fridge and let it drain overnight. The next morning, it should be thick enough to roll into a log. At this point, you can roll it in herbs or leave it as-is before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap until needed.
      Does this help? I’m more than happy to answer your questions. It can get confusing, that’s for sure.

      Like

      • Thanks, John. I figured that, but I had hoped. At least, I guess, that would be an example of a clean break???
        I almost never eat yoghurt except in dressings/dips and things like that. So, when I make my huge batches of yoghurt, it’s just to make yoghurt cheese. I drain it long enough (2-3 days in the fridge) to make it fairly firm, and creamy, and roll it into balls. I put those in olive oil with some herbs and garlic for a day or two more in the fridge before I plan to serve them. They’re always popular with friends, but it’s a lot of work for something that’s gone in a hour. 😉
        On the cheese safe, I guess we’re talking about different things. Mine are all round glass containers with lids, very heavy. In the bottom there are glass ridges, maybe 1/2″ inch high, radiating out from the center. The idea is you put a little vinegar (and some salt, IIRC), in the bottom, and it keeps the unwrapped cheeses from molding. I believe these were from the days before we put everything in the fridge. And, of course, it would have to be a hard cheese.
        I’ve found, quite by accident, that wrapping a paper towel around the cheese “package” once it’s opened, and keeping it in the fridge, seems to prevent, or greatly curtail, molding, also. I tend to open a few different “flavors” at once, then they sit there for weeks and invariably are covered with mold when next seen. Since I’ve been wrapping the re-wrapped cheese in paper towels, there’s almost none, sometimes none at all! I guess the paper towel absorbs the moisture in the air of the fridge and keeps it away from the cheese. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

        Like

        • I wish you’d been correct and there was another way to get curds from yogurt. I’ve tossed quite a bit of dairy and sometimes I’ve no idea why the process didn’t work. Soaking the cheese balls in herbed oil is something I’ve heard that some do with home-made mozzarella. I bet it’s delicious and I need do look into it more.
          I’ve seen the cheese safes you’re talking about, plus a few other types. A couple advise wrapping the cheeses in “cheese” paper or parchment paper so I think your paper towel idea is based on fact. Here’s a website on cheese storage that you may find helpful. Even so, I am going to try your paper towel idea. I’d rather do that than have a box taking up space in my fridge.
          Thanks for the tip, Ruthie. Feel free to visit anytime.

          Like

  35. Another rose?!! I must be missing something here! Not only do you make cheese, but also grow such beautiful roses! I love every color but red…and the reason is that I can’t bare to have roses just die so I hang them to dry and red dries black! In my Florida home I had dried roses all over! In my bedroom and dining room/living room, hanging from drapery rods – really they were tastefully beautiful! I had to throw them all out in the move, so sad.
    But back to the mozzarello…wow, John, don’t know what to say other than you truly impress me! Don’t say I can do it, maybe I could, but the time and effort you put into the cheesemaking and the written post so informative. I’ve had freshly made mozzarella so I know how supreme in taste it is. Fabulous post once again!

    Like

    • Two Linda comments in 1 night! Yay!
      I plan to share a rose pic at the end of my posts for much of the rest of summer. There is one exception but it is pretty much self-explanatory. (Hehe) I’ve had dried roses in here but that’s because I picked some and forgot to add water to the vase. I daresay that’s not exactly what you were talking about.
      I know the mozzarella making looks daunting but it isn’t that bad, actually. If you are interested, there are kits that can be purchased at a number of place cheese-related sites that are supposed to make a pretty good mozzarella. I’ve no experience with them, preferring to do it myself.
      So good hearing from you again, Lynda. It’s no exaggeration to say the WordPress ain’t the same without ya! There hasn’t been a decent biscotti recipe posted in ages! I do look forward to the day when you’re back with us. Take care until then, Linda.

      Like

  36. Pingback: Baked Rigatoni — Rigatoni al Forno | from the Bartolini kitchens

    • Thank you, Sharyn, it’s good to see your comments again. And when you’re ready to make any of the cheeses I’ve explained, I’ll be here to help, if need be.

      Like

  37. Pingback: The long wait is over. Today we’re making Italian Mozzarella! | from the Bartolini kitchens

  38. Hello John!
    I finally made it! I got some cow’s milk and pasturized it myself and made mozzarella
    You should have seen me jumping up and down like a little kid when it was done 🙂
    Thank you SO much for the recipe and more importantly the courage and inspiration to make it

    Like

    • Well, this is good news, Sawsan! YAY!! Now you know how I felt the first time I got the curds to spin. Success!
      I have to give you credit. You are very determined and most would have given up long ago. Not you, though. You stuck with it and, by golly, you’ve got the mozzarella to prove it!
      Thank you for coming back to tell me of your success. Again, YAY!!!! 🙂

      Like

  39. Pingback: How to make mozzarella and armenian string cheese at home | Chef in disguise

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