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This week, my husband and I made mozzarella cheese, the next day was homeschool art day, which has sort of morphed into home ec, so Lil and I made some cheese while JJ made his Stone Soup.
On this art day, on a trip back from the library, we asked Lil where she thought cheese comes from and it went a little like this:
Me: Lil, where do you think cheese comes from?
Lil: The store!
Me: okay, but what do you think it’s made out of?
Lil: The store!!
Me: Cheese is not made out of the store, goofball. Where is cheese made?
Lil: In a factory!
Me: ok, so what is it made out of at the factory? Do you know how we are going to make cheese today?
Lil: We can’t make cheese! We don’t have a factory!
Cut to us in the kitchen, proving we can make cheese without a factory because homeschool is freaking awesome and we can learn all the things!
I found the recipe from The Kitchn a while back and after going to at least 5 stores to find what seemed like the very last bottle of citric acid in the state, we got to work!
DIY Mozzarella Cheese
The whole process takes about 30 minutes and by the end you have about a pound of yummy, fresh mozzarella cheese! The pictures are a combination of both cheese making days.
- 1 gallon of whole milk, not ultra-pasteurized
- 1 1/2 tsp Citric Acid
- 2 tablets of Junket Rennet
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5-quart Stainless Steel Pot with Lid (Use non reactive materials such as stainless steel or ceramic)
- Long serrated knife
- Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer I highly recommend having one of these in the kitchen! They are so handy!
- Slotted spoon
- Digital thermometer, I prefer the Le Cordon Bleu Digital Thermometer I was able to set my temps and it went off as it was approaching the right temperature. So cool!
- Large Microwavable bowl, I used a Pyrex 8-Cup Glass Measuring Cup
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
Let’s get cheesy!
- Dissolve citric acid in 1 cup of water and dissolve the rennet tablets in a seprrate bowl of 1/4 cup of water. You may need to stir the tablets around to make sure they’ve dissolved properly.
- Pour the milk into the pot. Stir in citric acid and water solution and heat over medium high heat until the milk reaches 90 degrees F. Stir while it is heating to ensure it heats evenly.
- Remove from heat, add rennet solution, stirring gently for thirty seconds. Stop stirring and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. I had to let it sit for 10 minutes for each batch I made just to be sure, but check at 5 minutes, it should have the texture of silken tofu. If it’s still looking liquid-y, let it sit for another 5 minutes.
- Using your long knife, the curds gently into a grid-like pattern.
- Return the pot to the stovetop and cook the curds. Heat to 105 degrees F while stirring slowly. The curds will clump togetherand separate from the yellow whey.
- Remove the pot from the heat again and stir, gently for 5 minutes.
- Separate the curds from the whey with a mesh strainer or slotted spoon.
- Microwave the curds for 1 minute, drain out any excess whey. Put on gloves and fold the curds a few times in on itself. The curds will be like cottage cheese.
- Microwave in 30 second bursts until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. Drain out any extra whey.
- Sprinkle salt over the top and push it into the cheese. Fold and knead the cheese, as you do this, it will turn glossy and elastic. Form the cheese into balls and store in a cup of salted whey for up to a week. Be careful, the cheese is hot!
- Enjoy your cheese that you didn’t need a factory to make!
Have you ever made cheese? What dish would you use homemade mozzarella cheese in?
If you make this recipe, please upload a picture and tag me on instagram @thevintagetart