Got a ton of cows milk on your hands? Turn that liquid gold into luscious, tasty cheese to feed your homestead.
Contrary to what many people think, cheese making isn’t complicated or time-consuming. Plus, it’s safe to make your own cheese! You just need to know the process and have the right supplies.
Instead of purchasing a pricey cheese making kit, learn how to make your own mozzarella with just a few affordable supplies.
How do I make mozzarella?
But let’s back up for a second. If you’ve never made your own cheese, you might wonder how on earth you go about brewing mozzarella from scratch.
The process is surprisingly easy! If you haven’t made your own cheese yet, I encourage you to give it a try. Here’s a quick overview of the mozzarella cheese making process.
Mozzarella doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. All you’ll need is full-fat cow’s milk (1 gallon), ¼ teaspoon rennet (a natural curdling agent), 1 ½ teaspoon citric acid, and salt to taste.
- Combine citric acid with 1 cup of water.
- In a separate bowl, combine rennet with ¼ cup water.
- Pour the milk into a large pot.
- Stir the citric acid mixture into the milk.
- Heat the milk until it reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- At this point, take the pot off the heat and stir in your rennet. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- You want your mixture to be jiggly, which means you’ve formed curds. Use a knife to cut the curds into 1/2-inch squares.
- Heat the pot again over medium heat until it reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the pot off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Strain the curds from the whey with a cheesecloth.
- Heat a clean pot of water until the water is boiling. Lower your cheesecloth into the water for 3 minutes to heat the curds until they reach 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using gloves, stretch and fold the curds over themselves. Your goal is to make a ball of cheese that’s smooth.
- You can either form one huge ball or break the mozzarella into tinier balls.
- Let sit in an ice bath for five minutes after shaping.
Multi-purpose mozzarella supplies
Avoid the pricey cheese making kits from the grocery store. You can make your own homesteading-friendly cheese kit for pennies. You’ll just need these supplies to get started.
Rennet is a naturally-occurring enzyme from the stomachs of calves. It’s an important addition to mozzarella because it curdles the milk into cheese.
I’ve been using Junket brand rennet for years and it gets the job done. It’s shelf-stable and long-lasting so you don’t have to buy rennet every time you want to make mozzarella.
This rennet comes in tablet form, so you’ll want to dilute it in water before making cheese. I buy this rennet for $5 on Amazon.
Acid levels are really important for making cheese. By adding citric acid to mozzarella, we’re lowering the pH of the cheese, which results in the soft, stretchy mozzarella that we all know and love.
I bought this huge sack of citric acid on Amazon for around $15. Again, you won’t need to buy more citric acid for a very long time.
You can use citric acid for other projects around the house, too, like making bath bombs. As a homesteader, I recommend having citric acid on hand at all times; you never know when you’ll need it!
You probably already have large pots and spatulas around, but this was worth mentioning. Make sure the pots you use for cheesemaking are large enough to hold at least a gallon of milk.
I use this large 6-quart pot and haven’t had any trouble. I also recommend a set of silicone spatulas to make stirring your milk a little easier. To cut your curds, you can either use a knife or a flat-edged silicone spatula like this.
You’ll need to use cheesecloth to separate your mozzarella curds from the whey. Whey is the liquid by-product of making cheese, and it’s a delicious addition to smoothies in the morning. My sister’s pigs love snacking on this stuff, too!
The problem with some cheesecloth that you’ll find at the store is that it isn’t reusable.
I hate buying new supplies every time I want to make cheese, so I opt for reusable whenever possible. I prefer to use nut milk bags like this one to get the job done.
Okay, so here’s what people don’t tell you about mozzarella: it comes out screaming hot from the pan. And you’re supposed to shape this stuff with your hands.
I know folks who do this bare-handed, but I’m too wimpy for that. I invested in heat-resistant rubber gloves to make the mozzarella-shaping process more pleasant.
You’ll need to quickly read temperatures when you’re cooking mozzarella. Just a few degrees too warm or too cold and you won’t get cheese!
I use this cooking thermometer to keep an eye on my cheese. I like that I can bend it to hang over the edge of the pot.
The bottom line
Enjoy the indescribable pleasure of homemade mozzarella by making your own. Best of all, you can make mozzarella at your home without expensive equipment or kits. Make the most of your homestead’s bounty by learning the simple process of cheese making.