Saying cheese and making cheese are both great reasons for the huge smiles on our faces, although they are two different things.
One of them needs a little help from your buddy right here. Let’s look at how to make mozzarella cheese, with the help of some basic ingredients and the easiest recipe.
Don’t worry! Comrade! In this little war between you and that milk that always deceives you by forming almost everything else but the mozzarella cheese, we have got you covered with an easy, time-saving, and more importantly, realistic, non-master chef-kind recipe to make the best homemade mozzarella cheese.
And, do you know what it requires? Just three simple things: basic science, sticking to the instructions, and most importantly, patience. So, stay with me and we’ll make sure that after reading this article you have your very own ball of perfectly homemade mozzarella cheese. Let’s first start with the requirements.
1.1. Rubber Gloves
Safety always comes first! Mozzarella cheesemaking at a certain stage requires compressing, squeezing & stretching the coagulated curd, which is considerably hot, and your inexperienced bare hands can’t handle it. Use a pair of rubber gloves instead of grabbing them from your shelf or just buy one, it’s a good investment.
- A large pot– to heat milk
- An instant-read thermometer– to measure the temp. of milk at certain steps
- A slotted spoon– to stir as well as hold the curd
- Cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer– To drain the excess whey and separate curd.
- A heat-safe bowl– To contain the hot curd or to heat it inside a microwave oven.
- Plastic wrap– To wrap your mozzarella cheese to save it from air and moisture and store it.
- Knives– To cut the coagulated curd into smaller pieces.
1.3. Basic Ingredients
Around 1 gallon… WAIT! Here comes the very first mistake we make. We do not choose the right milk!
We often use UHT pasteurized milk– milk that has undergone a process called Pasteurization through which the milk is sterilized at Ultra High Temperature (above 135°C).
This causes the denaturation of whey proteins in the milk which results in degrading the quality of your mozzarella cheese.
So, Which Milk Would Be the Best?
- Farm Fresh Milk— It means raw milk or whole milk (which has not undergone any processing such as homogenization or ultra-pasteurization) is the best choice for making fresh mozzarella cheese. You can differentiate between fresh raw milk and processed milk by observing a distinct layer of dairy fat over the top of the milk. It is always recommended to use fresh raw milk to extract a good amount of curd to make cheese.
- Find Non-Homogenized Milk—as in homogenized milk the big fat globules which are essential for good mozzarella cheese, are broken down into tiny globules and are homogenized through the milk. While non-homogenized milk preserves all the essential dairy fats useful for determining the quality and richness of the cheese.
- Low-Pasteurized Milk which is non-homogenized will also serve the purpose.
You may find the above-listed milk types very easily in Farmer’s markets, farm dairies, and even in supermarkets.
1.3.2. Rennet Mixture (Solution or Tablets)
Rennet comprises a mixture of enzymes including Chymosin- its key component that comes under a group of enzymes known as Proteases, which helps coagulate milk proteins. They help in the agglutination (clumping) of the milk proteins together. These key enzymes help to enhance the curdling process and promote cheese yield.
It is marketed in many different forms such as rennet solutions, and rennet tablets. Earlier, it was derived from the gut of ruminants like cows, buffaloes, etc. only, but now we also find vegetarian options.
1.3.3. Citric Acid
Coagulation of milk proteins occurs at acidic pH. Citric acid derived from citrus fruits like lemon juice, or other acidic solutions such as white distilled vinegar provides that acidic pH which in turn provides your cheese with elasticity.
Also, please note that adding too much acid or a very small quantity will land your product into soupy cottage cheese or reduced elasticity respectively.
1.3.4. Cheese Salt
Add salt according to your taste. Don’t use iodized salt as it inhibits the bacteria present in cheese, which are useful to make mozzarella as these bacteria convert lactose in milk to lactic acid which in turn provides the needed acidic pH.
Also, don’t add too much salt to your cheese as mozzarella already contains a significant amount of sodium, adding too much of it may lead to a rise in your blood pressure after consuming it.
Below are the measured quantities of the above-listed ingredients. Have a look:
- Milk- 1 Gallon of fresh milk (3.78 L)
- Rennet mixture– 1/2 teaspoon (3gms) in 60ml of water
- Granulated Citric acid– 8gms in 250 ml of water
- Cheese salt– 1 Tablespoon (8gms), kosher salt, or any other non-iodized salt.
- Also, Ice water to give your mozzarella a quick ice bath
2. Steps to Prepare
Now, you are fully prepared with all your weapons and knowledge. So now, Note the time, and let’s jump into the War and let’s know the process of making mozzarella cheese!
2.1. Prepare Solutions of Rennet and Citric Acid with Water Separately
Dissolve the rennet tablet or liquid rennet into the required quantity of water and form its solution. Do the same for Citric acid as well. Also, it is recommended to avoid using highly heated water as it may cause damage to the product- rennet (as key enzymes may get destroyed.)
2.2. Add Citric Acid Solution to The Milk
Take 1 gallon of fresh whole milk into a large pot and add to it the citric acid solution gradually in small amounts with continuous stirring. Simultaneous stirring is a must to obtain a good yield.
2.3. Heat Your Milk
Heat your milk on a stove over low to medium heat and stir slowly until the temperature rises to 32 °C (89.6 °F). While heating the milk it is very important to monitor the temperature regularly with the thermometer as a high degree of heat may denature milk proteins and destabilize the curd.
2.4. Add Rennet Solution Immediately After Heating the Milk
As soon as the internal temperature of the milk touches 32 °C, carefully take out the pot from the stove and immediately add the Rennet solution gradually while stirring simultaneously for 20-30 seconds. Stir gently and please avoid further stirring as it may cause the breaking of the curd.
2.5. Cover the Lid and Rest for 5-10 Minutes
Go, take a breath of fresh air on your balcony for a few minutes. Meanwhile, the acid and enzymes are doing their job of separating the curds and whey and taking you one step closer to your fresh cheese.
2.6. Cut the Curd Gently and Heat Again
When you open the lid, you will see an even layer of curd floating over liquid whey, almost completely covering the face of the pot. Now, with the help of a sharp knife, cut the curd gently into small cubical pieces.
After that, put the pot back on the stove again over low to medium heat and stir slowly and very carefully as you don’t want your thick blocks of curd to break down into a lumpy mass. Also, this time heat it until it reaches 40 °C (105 °F).
When it reaches 40 °C, remove it from the stove and let it rest for another 5 minutes at room temperature.
2.7. Separate the Curd from Liquid Whey, Drain, and Squeeze
Use your slotted spoon and separate the curd from the whey and then put it over a strainer to drain excess whey for about 30 seconds.
Now, put on your gloves to squeeze some more whey, though not complete all of it.
2.8. Warm the Curd in Hot Whey for A Few More Seconds
Place your curd in a large bowl (microwave-safe bowl) and heat at 82 °C for 15 -20 seconds in a microwave or you may also heat the leftover whey to 82 °C and then place your curd in it for 15 seconds.
This is a crucial step for the development of elasticity in your cheese. Yes! the same stretch you love while grabbing your slice of pizza.
Also, the remaining whey can be well utilized as a soup stock, or you may simply drink the whey. Yes! You may drink the leftover whey too, those readers who are health-conscious or are into sports like bodybuilding can quickly relate to this.
For others, it is good to know that drinking whey may prove to you highly beneficial as it contains loads of proteins, minerals, and other nutrients.
2.9. Stretch and Knead Your Cheese
Your homemade mozzarella is almost ready, what you just have to do is lift your curd with both your hands and stretch it slowly with your fingers, fold it and try to make it an even ball (like bread dough). Now, knead it gently with your fingers and then repeat.
Repeat these steps until you get a soft, shiny, and stretchy ball of the final cheese and after that leave it at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Now look at the time and-
Ta-da, you made your perfect homemade mozzarella, and that too in less than 45 minutes. Yes, Comrade, we won it.
9.10. Enjoy Your Mozzarella the Way You Like
Every victory is celebrated with a grand feast. Now, it’s your turn. You may instantly eat your homemade cheese as a salad, with fresh tomatoes, olives, and peppers along with fresh basil and pepper salt- a perfect delight.
Or, you may wrap your mozzarella cheese using plastic wrap, place it in an air-tight container, store it in your refrigerator for 24 hours, and then grate it over your delicious pizza.
3. Points to Be Noted
- Use only raw milk for the best results. You may use low-pasteurized milk, but not ultra-pasteurized milk (UHT Milk) or homogenized milk. Skim milk may also be used but it may depreciate the texture and taste of the cheese.
- While adding the citric acid solution or liquid rennet mixture, gradual addition in small amounts along with simultaneous gentle stirring will help the solutions to distribute evenly which will ultimately give you a better curd yield.
- Do not stir your milk for more than 30 seconds after adding the mixture to it as it may cause the breaking of the curd and you may end up with a lumpy mass.
- Use only low to medium heat while heating the milk as a higher temperature may degrade the curd proteins and the coagulation process.
- Always use fresh and filtered water and do not use tap water as it may contain unnecessary salts which will increase the salt content and may degrade your cheese after some hours.
- It is necessary to add all the ingredients in chronological order and adhere to the specified amount of each ingredient to be added as mentioned above. Too much or too little of any ingredient may lead to all of your hard work going into vain.
4. Nutrition Serving
- Proteins- 10.5 grams
- Carbohydrates- 15 grams
- Fat- 10.6 grams
- Cholesterol- 32.5 mg
- Energy- 200 calories
5. The Science Behind Cheese-Making
Now, you cannot win a war without complete knowledge & robust strategy, it doesn’t matter how many weapons, assets, or time you have. The same goes for making mozzarella cheese. Knowing the science behind the cheesemaking process will give you a clearer insight into what you are doing.
Don’t worry! I am not going to start a lecture & teach you how an apple falls from a tree, just some common facts and you are good to go.
Imagine milk proteins present in the milk such as casein (which contributes around 75-80% in cow milk) as a woollen ball. The ball is formed by wool threads, similarly, the milk proteins are formed by a chain of amino acids which are charged and therefore attract each other.
This attraction between them results in a compact ball-like structure. Now, when you add acid to the milk, it disrupts the attraction between the amino acids which results in the unwinding of the chain and destruction of the compact structure into a simpler form- this process is scientifically called “protein denaturation“.
Denaturation of proteins results in the formation of a coagulated mass of proteins along with whey- which includes majorly water, lactose, and some proteins. This process is known as curdling.
The addition of enzymes like chymosin (from rennet) helps to promote yield by speeding up this process.
6. Health Benefits
While overeating cheese may not be beneficial for your body, you must know that there are several health benefits to eating cheese too. some of them are pinned down below:
Good source of biotin (Vitamin B7), great for hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is also proven as a beneficial compound for the brain and enhances brain activity, memory and concentration.
Good source of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) which shows amazing antioxidant properties and helps in reducing pain, deals with headaches & works great for healthy eyes and skin. Vitamin b2 also helps in maintaining thyroid balance in our body.
Good source of niacin (Vitamin B3)– helps to improve brain function & coordination, improves the health condition in pellagra, and fights diabetes and cardiovascular (CVS) diseases.
Good source of essential nutrients such as Sodium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Mozzarella cheese is rich in calcium and you know very well that calcium is a macronutrient acting as a major contributor to good bone and teeth health.
Mozzarella cheese contains good bacteria known as probiotics, which help maintain the internal gut environment and keep our gut healthy.
Rich source of Fat-soluble vitamins Such as Vitamins A, D, and E Which perform an array of vital functions in the body such as improving vision, bone density, regulation of blood clots, etc.
7. Cons of Mozzarella Cheese
- Mozzarella cheese contains high amounts of saturated fats which promotes the synthesis of bad cholesterol in the body. Bad cholesterol is one of the main reasons for hyperlipidemia which in later stages becomes the cause of high blood pressure.
- Another obvious con of cheese is that it contributes to obesity as it contains dairy fats in very large amounts.
- Some people are lactose intolerant and milk products do contain lactose. Eating too much mozzarella cheese may upset their belly and precipitate symptoms such as bloating.
- Casein hypersensitivity (casein allergy) found in some people may upset their health status due to the occurrence of inflammatory reactions such as nasal congestion, itchiness, cough, throat inflammation, etc.
8. Frequently Asked Questions
Making Mozzarella Cheese with Lemon Juice?
- Very simple, just replace each teaspoon of citric acid with 60 ml of fresh lemon juice, follow all the rest of the steps in the same manner and you are good to go.
Making Mozzarella Cheese without Raw Milk?
- If you are not able to find raw milk nearby, you may reach local dairies or farmer’s markets and if you still fail after doing so, you may always go for non-homogenized milk which is low pasteurized- they are easily available in supermarkets, but please prevent the use of ultra-pasteurized milk as it won’t give good results.
How to Make Mozzarella Cheese and Tomato Salad?
- Grab a fresh tomato from your refrigerator, take about 250 grams of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut slices (around 4-5mm diameter) of both tomato and cheese, and place them on a beautiful plate alternatively, add some rock salt, some pepper salt, season with oregano along with the catch of some olive oil. and yes! With holy fresh basil as a garnish.
Is Mozzarella Cheese Healthy?
- Yes! Mozzarella cheese if consumed within limits will reap several health benefits such as strong bones, healthy hair, eyes, and skin and also helps to deal with many ailments such as pellagra and diabetes.
What Is the Straw-Colored Liquid Obtained After Separating Cheese Curd Called?
- The yellow straw-coloured liquid obtained after separating cheese curd is called “Whey“ And it consists of almost 92-95% water along with proteins, fats, carbs, and other nutrients.
How to Increase the Yield of My Cheese Curd?
- For the best yield, use unprocessed farm fresh milk and also use rennet as it contains enzymes that help to promote the curdling reaction as well as the yield. Checking these things and sticking to the instructions will surely result in a successful yield.
Mozzarella cheesemaking requires kitchenware such as gloves, a slotted spoon, an instant-read thermometer, pots, a strainer, bowls, knives, and plastic wrap. The essential ingredients used are- fresh milk, citric acid, rennet mixture, and cheese salt. All these things, when implemented together while adhering to the above-mentioned set of instructions, will give you your homemade mozzarella cheese.
Another ingredient that is not used physically though but is essential in this cheese-making process is “Patience“. Adding some leniency and patience to your work will add a remarkable quality to your product.
So now, here at the end, we hope that you know the process of making mozzarella cheese and, while reading through the end of this article, you have arranged all the requisites for making your fresh homemade mozzarella cheese.
If not, then what are you waiting for? Get yourself moving, grab all those things required, and stretch some curd man! You will surely enjoy the process and it’s so much fun!