Learning how to make cheese may sound like a task that’s best left for professionals but a closer look will show that you can do it in your own home. With just a handful of fresh ingredients and a few easy-to-find kitchen gadgets, you can be biting into your own homemade cheese in no time.
If you’re just starting out, it’s more satisfying to learn how to make cheese that’ll be ready to sample sooner rather than later. Once you get the hang of making soft cheese you can experiment with more mature cheese. Let’s take a look at the general steps to creating your first batch.
How to Make Cheese: Super Fast Mozzarella
- 1 gallon whole milk (store bought pasteurized cow’s milk)
- 2 tsp. citric acid powder
- ½ tsp. lipase powder (optional, but this gives your cheese more flavor)
- 1 tsp. calcium chloride diluted into ¼ C. water
- 1/8 tsp. liquid rennet diluted in ¼ C. water
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
NOTE: Sterilize all your equipment before you begin and always stir this cheese gently with an up and down motion instead of a swirling motion. Cook directly on the stovetop using a high quality stainless steel pan or enamel pot. If you are missing a few of these ingredients or kitchen tools, buying a cheese making kit can be a convenient alternative.
- Before warming the milk, add citric acid and lipase powder, stir well (but gently) and then begin heating the mixture on stovetop on medium heat to 88°C. Note: If you’re using a gas burner, turn it off once the milk reaches 85°C. If you’re using an electric burner, remove from heat once you reach 88°C so that you can prepare the calcium chloride rennet.
- Once at 88°C, add the diluted calcium chloride and stir well, but gently, to mix.
- Also add the diluted rennet (then turn the burner back on or place pot back on burner) and stir very gently (not constantly) while heating to 104°C. You will see the curds forming and then splitting into curds and whey.
- Once the temperature reaches 104°C, remove from heat.
- Remove the curds with a strainer, draining away as much whey as possible, and place them into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/2 tsp. salt on top of the curds – DO NOT mix the salt in or disturb your curd!
- Place the curds into the microwave and heat on high for 60 seconds.
- Take the curds out, drain any whey from the curd and turn the cheese very gently one fold to find any whey that may be hiding under the curd, then drain again.
- Salt again (1/4 tsp.) and place the cheese back in the microwave and heat on high for an additional 60 seconds.
- Repeat Step 7. Note: If the remaining whey is milky in color and only a tablespoon or so leave it in the curd. If it is clear like traditional whey (look in your pot to see what the whey should look like) drain it or if you have more than a tablespoon, drain that.
- Remove from microwave and again work with a spoon to stretch and shape the cheese.
- At this point salt your cheese to taste.
- Next, unless eating hot, work into a ball shape with your hands and allow the cheese to cool. The cheese should become shiny and smooth.
- Drop the balls into a cool saltwater solution (4 C. water, 1 T. salt) for 10 minutes to chill so that they may be able to retain their shape.
This mozzarella will keep up to two weeks stored out of any brine or water and wrapped in plastic wrap. The cheese may be frozen up to three months, out of the brine and wrapped in plastic wrap
Want to learn more about how to make cheese? Check out our post on Basic Cheese Making Recipes for making mascarpone, Italian ricotta and Greek feta cheeses.
Happy cheese making!