A Guide to Making Homemade Mozzarella for Your Homemade Pizza
Summer is here, and you may be dreaming of gorgeous plates filled with garden-fresh produce. You may want to spend your days making pizza with fresh-made dough and handmade tomato sauce or plate yourself up a Caprese salad with luscious slices of tomato and brilliant fresh basil. Berries bursting with flavor may dance across your daydreams, and you might long to nibble on charcuterie boards piled with chilled cheeses and fruit.
Making your own mozzarella can be a great way to make your summer food dreams come true, as it’s the perfect pairing for almost any summer dish. Read on to learn how to make homemade mozzarella and discover how it can transform your cuisine.
Gather Your Ingredients
In order to make the best homemade mozzarella, the first thing you need to do is gather your ingredients. Of course, the process will start with milk, but what kind of milk you choose doesn’t matter a ton. You will need cow’s milk, and whole or 2 percent will work best as long as the milk hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized.
In addition to milk, you’ll also need citric acid and rennet, which aren’t nearly as scary as they sound. Citric acid is a powder form of the same acid that makes your mouth pucker when you taste a lemon. Rennet comes in tablet form and helps to set the protein in the milk; if you’re vegetarian, you can find vegetarian rennet tablets.
Prepare Your Curds
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, start by mixing one and a half teaspoons of citric acid in a cup of water. Take a quarter of a rennet tablet or a quarter teaspoon of liquid rennet and dissolve that in a quarter cup of water. Stir both until their respective substances are fully dissolved.
Meanwhile, pour a gallon of milk into a pot on the stove and stir in your citric acid solution. Stir to mix the solution with your milk, and then set the pot over medium-high heat and keep stirring it gently. Heat the milk up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and then remove it from the heat.
Pour your rennet solution into your warm milk and count to thirty while stirring. Once you reach thirty, stop stirring, cover your pot, and leave the curds to sit undisturbed for about five minutes.
Cut and Cook the Curds
After five minutes, you should see that your milk has solidified into a soft mass that looks and feels like silken tofu. If your milk still hasn’t set, cover the pot again and let it sit for another five minutes without disturbing it. Once your curds reach the proper consistency, it will be time to cut and cook the curds.
Take a sharp knife and cut the curds into parallel vertical strips in the pot. Then turn your pot ninety degrees and make another series of parallel cuts to divide the curd into a grid pattern. Make sure your knife goes all the way to the bottom of the pot when you make these cuts.
Once your curds are cut, put the pot back on the heat and warm your curds up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to stir your curds slowly during this process, but try to avoid breaking them up as much as possible. Eventually, you’ll see the curds start to clump together and separate from the whey.
Separate and Microwave the Curds
Once your curds start to separate, you’ll be ready to take them off the heat. Continue stirring them slowly for another five minutes or so, watching as the yellowish whey separates further. After five minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer your curds to a microwave-safe bowl, leaving behind the whey (but don’t throw it away yet).
Place your bowl of curds in the microwave and cook them for one minute before draining off the extra whey that separated. You’ll need to put on rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times before microwaving your curds for another thirty seconds. Keep microwaving your curds in thirty-second intervals until they reach an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stretch and Shape the Cheese
Now that you’ve got your curds up to temperature, it will be time to stretch and shape them into cheese. Sprinkle a teaspoon of kosher salt over the curds and then start stretching and folding the curds over and over on themselves. You’ll see them start to take on a glossy sheen and start to get tighter, and at this point, you’ll be ready to shape the cheese.
How you choose to shape your mozzarella is completely up to your personal preference. You can choose to make one large mozzarella ball by pulling the edges of the cheese down and into a “pouch” that you can twist shut. You may also opt to divide the cheese into a few smaller balls or even into several bite-sized snacking pieces.
Storing and Using Your Mozzarella
Once your mozzarella is done, you may want to eat it all immediately (and if you do, we won’t judge you). But you can also keep it in your fridge for up to a week. If you plan to save it, mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of cool whey, pour this into a container with the mozzarella, cover, and store it in the fridge.
Fresh mozzarella can be delicious in or on a number of dishes, as well as on its own as a snack. You can use it in a Caprese salad or add it to a grain bowl for some extra creaminess. You can also melt it on top of a pizza with a few slices of tomato and fresh basil leaves for a gorgeous classic dish.
Learn to Make Homemade Mozzarella
Once you know how to make homemade mozzarella, you’re never going to want to go without having some on hand. The process is relatively simple, and the main key to success is to avoid overworking the cheese. Store it in your refrigerator for up to a week or eat it right away with a little bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil. PLUS, you can now use this mozzarella recipe with our sour starter dough recipe to start making your own pizza from scratch!
If you’d like to learn more about Classic Neapolitan pizza, check out the rest of our site at Fondi. We proudly serve traditional Neapolitan pizza and authentic Italian classics in Gig Harbor, Washington. Order takeout from us today and discover the joy of authentic, artisan, brick oven-fired pizza.