Especially in the U.S. Mozzarella is definitely one of the most popular cheeses. With being a staple in most Italian dishes like pizza and pasta, it’s no wonder why it’s a crowd favorite.
Mozzarella has a soft, moist texture and is full of milky flavor. It is not aged at all and is best when it’s completely fresh. The great thing is that you can pretty much enjoy it straight away after making it. It’s traditionally made using Water Buffalo milk but can also commonly be made from just cow’s milk. It’s a stringy cheese that can take many forms and there are tons of different varieties of it today including Bocconcini, Scamorza, and Ovoline to name a few.
Over the years, Mozzarella has become the star of the show for fried mozzarella sticks and the classic Caprese salad, but there is an abundance of recipes that pair perfectly with some fresh mozzarella.
Mozzarella is packed full of nutrients including calcium and essential minerals. One ounce of Mozzarella cheese contains about 18% of your daily intake of calcium. Mozzarella is also lower in sodium and calories than most cheeses out there so it’s a great nutritious cheese snacking option!
Skill Level: Beginner
- 2 ½ gallon of raw cow’s milk
- ⅛ tsp of Thermophilic Culture
- Rennet as per manufacturer’s instructions
- ½ cup of flaked Non-iodized cheese salt
Heat the Milk & Add Culture
- Heat your milk up. When it reaches 90F you can start to add your culture in
- You can do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this step on the stove, be sure to slowly heat the milk and stir to avoid burning.
- Allow it to ripen for 1 hour
- Make sure the temperature remains 90F throughout the hour
- After ripening for 1 hour, you can add your Rennet
- Stir in up and down motions for about 30 strokes
- Allow it to rest for an additional hour
Cut the Curd
- After an hour, your curd should be ready to be cut, if not, allow it to sit for longer
- Cut the curd into 1 cm cube size pieces
- Allow it to rest for 15 minutes
Wash the Curds
- Pour the whey into another pot and save for later
- Add about ½ gallon or 8 cups of cold water to the curds to rinse them
- Gently stir to wash the curds
Drain the Curds
- Transfer the curds into a colander that’s lined with cheesecloth and allow them to drain and cover
- Allow them to sit at room temperature for overnight or up to 2 days
Stretch the Mozzarella
- Before you get ready to stretch your Mozzarella, you need to make sure it’s ready first. To do that, bring a few cups of water to 195F and then drop a few pieces of the curd in. Using a fork, pull, and fold the hot curd. If it stretches and forms strings, it is ready to begin stretching.
- If it doesn’t stretch, then it’s not ready and needs to ripen for longer.
- To begin the stretching process, add the cheese salt to the whey you put aside and heat to 195F
- Cut the curds into large chunks and place them in the whey.
- After 30 seconds, start clumping the curds together by using a fork to press the chunks together. The curds will start to melt into each other
- Bring the clumped curds out and start stretching and pulling them with two forks.
- Put the curd back into the whey and repeat the process 3 to 4 more times.
- Eventually, a ball will be formed. Stretch and knead it until it becomes glossy and smooth
- Put the balls in cold water while you repeat this process with the rest of the batch.
- When done, take the balls out of the cold water and allow them to drip dry for 10 minutes.
Storing the Cheese
- Fresh Mozzarella can be stored in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days in a container of cold water/.
- Mozzarella is also able to be frozen for longer periods of time as well.