Homemade Cheese

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Easy to make with a few supplies you can buy online.

Cheesemaking Supplies[edit]

Rennet, from animal or fungal sources

Citric Acid, cheaper in bulk:

A stainless mesh strainer to strain the cheese curd

A metal mesh reusable coffee filter for straining ricotta

Cheese cloth:

Quick Mozzarella Recipe[edit]

  • 1.5t citric acid → 1C water
  • 0.25t rennet → 0.25C water
  • 1 gallon milk + citric acid → 90F
  • add rennet → hold 5-10m, heat off
  • cut into 1" curds → 105F 5m until separated
  • stir 5m, heat off → strain
  • squeeze out excess whey → heat (microwave 1m / submerge in 190F whey)
  • drain, knead, drain
  • heat to 135F internal (microwave / submerge in 190F whey)
  • 1t salt → knead, shape

For extra credit, use the mozzarella whey to make ricotta:

  • heat to 200F
  • cool; strain

For extra extra credit, use the liquid leftover from ricotta as a buttermilk substitute in bread or pancakes!


2014.06.14 - Partial Success[edit]

Attempted quick (non-cultured) mozzarella for the first time. Did a side-by-side comparison of vegetable and animal rennet. The final product tasted good, but the texture is too crumbly to be true mozzarella. We deviated from the recipe and attempted to cook the curd in the hot whey, and assumed that some misstep in this process was the problem. Our attempt to make ricotta was also stymied by lack of a good filter—coffee filter and cheese cloth clogged too quickly, and our colander's mesh is too coarse. I will try again later with a reusable stainless steel mesh coffee filter.

Attempted quick mozzarella again later the same day. We stuck to the recipe 100%, and used the microwave instead of hot whey to cook the curd. The result was better but the texture was still not 100% mozzarella-like. I suspect a problem with our Safeway Lucerne whole milk—excessive pasteurization can inhibit curd formation.

The 'good milk database' assembled by New England Cheesemaking Supply recommends Berkeley Bowl milk, so we'll try that next. If appropriate milk can't be found locally, the same source recommends reconstituting your own milk from non-fat dry milk powder and half-and-half: "Believe it or not we have had fabulous results in making our mozzarella from this combination."

Our first mozzarella wasn't perfect, but it still made a damn good sandwich!:

Mozzarella sandwich.jpg

2014.06.15 - DIY Milk[edit]

Following New England Cheesemaking Supply's advice, I reconstituted a half-gallon of milk as follows:

  • 7 Cups water
  • 2 1/3 Cups nonfat dried milk, whisked, let stand, and whisked again
  • 1 Cup half-and-half, heated to 100F

The last batches suffered from 'weak curd', so I also used vegetable rennet at 1/4 tsp per gallon—even though it claims to be 'double strength'—added nearer to 100F than 90F (as recommended by some sites), and allowed the curd to set for a full 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, the curd looks like it's supposed to! It easily peels back from the wall of the pan when pressed.

The final product isn't perfect, but it's much closer to the stretchy cheese you'd get in the store:

Homemade Mozzarella.jpg