Homemade Mozzarella + Urban Cheese Craft Cheese Kit

by Handjobs For The Home on October 25, 2011

So as promised in the last newsletter, fall has brought with it the start of my cheese making adventures. I figure since preserving is slowly coming to a halt, I need something to keep these hands busy, and my DIY food mind afloat.

When I sent the newsletter out in August, explaining my cheese making aspirations, I received an email from one of my new favorite cheesy ladies, Claudia Lucero. Claudia sells cheese kits on Etsy that are absolutely fabulous. Her company is called Urban Cheese Craft, and she was kind enough to send me a kit to try out.

From packaging to supplies, everything about these kits are just perfect. She sent me the deluxe kit which makes 30 batches of cheese! The kit includes a variety of cheese molds, cheese salt, citric acid, rennet tablets, cheese thermometer, cheese cloth, and instructions. All you need is milk! With the deluxe kit, you can make a variety of cheeses including goat, mozzarella, paneer, queso fresco and ricotta. When I got my package in the mail, you can only imagine how ecstatic I was. I squealed a little bit, actually.

Since I have already made some of the basic cheeses, like paneer and ricotta, I thought the next logical step would be to make mozzarella. Full disclosure: I also wanted to make a pizza that night, which factored heavily in my decision making process.

If you are at all interested in cheese making, I cannot recommend one of Claudia’s kits enough. Head over to her Etsy store and pick one up. They would make fabulous Christmas gifts for all those DIY food lover friends!

Now, before we get to the recipe here are some tips for making mozzarella (and cheese in general):

- Like preserving, make sure you use a nonreactive pan, such as stainless steel, so it doesn’t impact the flavor of your cheese.

- For mozzarella, you must always use pasteurized milk—not ultra-pasteurized. The higher temperature that ultra-pasteurized milk is cooked at will not allow the curds to separate away from the whey correctly.

- Use the best possible milk you can find. Check your local organic market, green market, or health food stores for a good variety. If you have access to a dairy farmer, even better!

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

What You’ll Need:

1 Gallon of pasteurized whole milk
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
1/4 rennet tablet
1 tsp cheese salt (or to taste)

Begin by dissolving rennet into 1 cup of cool water. Stir in a glass and set aside. You can store the remaining rennet in the freezer for your next adventure in cheese making.

Mix citric acid with 1 cup of cool water until it is dissolved in a separate glass.

Pour milk along with the citric acid solution you just created into a non-reactive pot. Heat the milk slowly to 90 degrees F stirring occasionally.

Once your milk reaches 90 degrees, slowly stir in the rennet solution with an up and down motion for about 30 seconds. Continue to heat the milk until it reaches 105 degrees F. As the milk is heating you should start to see some cheese making magic happening. The curds will begin separating from the whey, and they will pull aside from the pot. Once the milk has reached 105 degrees, carefully ladle your curds into a heat-resistant bowl.

Gently hold your curds back with a large spoon and pour off the whey. Be sure not to press too much as this will yield a dry cheese.

Heat the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute and pull out.

Fold the curds over several times to distribute the heat and drain off any excess whey.

Place your bowl back in the microwave for 30 seconds. Again, drain off any excess whey. Continue this process until the curds reach a temperature of 135 degrees F. At this point your cheese is ready for stretching.

Add your salt and work it into the cheese by stretching and folding. The longer you stretch your dough, the firmer the cheese will be.

Continue to stretch your cheese until it is nice and smooth. Shape it into what ever size you want, and eat!

This cheese is best eaten immediately, but can also be enjoyed for up to 1 week when stored in the refrigerator.

 

A special thank you to Claudia Lucero for sending me this lovely cheese kit. It is truly, absolutely fabulous!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

joan October 25, 2011 at 1:36 am

I let myself be intimidated… stared at my mozzarella/ricotta kit all weekend. Perhaps this one. Your “walk-through” is helpful! Wish me luck!

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Aj October 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Don’t be intimidated! If you make an oops, you’ve only lost a few dollars on milk. Go for it!

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Gaby October 25, 2011 at 2:22 am

i bought one of these kits not too long ago and was going to make cheese after my halloween crafting has subsided. i love these pics, i have been very nervous about what to expect! thanks for sharing!

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claudia October 25, 2011 at 6:44 am

Hi AJ, you are so very welcome for the cheese kit. You did great on your first try, good job! Just wanted to catch a typo. The last part of your article says to store the cheese in the microwave, ha ha! I’m sure you meant fridge but some poor person might figure the microwave will act as a cheese cave or something and actually do it unless you correct it :) . Thanks for the lovely write-up. Cheers, Claudia

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Aj October 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

Haha! I have been chuckling to myself for the past 5 minutes over this. I just picture someone carefully putting there newly made cheese into the microwave cave for safe keepings. Typo has been fixed!

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Yasmin October 26, 2011 at 1:53 am

Great post, AJ! I made mozzarella a few months ago but I think I may have overworked it. How was the texture of your mozzarella? Chewy?

Maybe, I should just order one of Claudia’s kits!

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Aj October 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Yasmin–if anything mine came out more creamy. Give it another try and stretch it for less time. The more you play with the dough the more firm it gets.

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Ecoteri October 26, 2011 at 3:27 am

hello dear heart. the cheese looks fabulous, and I am awaiting a delivery of rennet from a buddy – but we DO NOT HAVE A MICROWAVE! how would you do this without one?

We are making Yogurt and creme fraiche in the excalabur dehydrator – lovin it. and then Mr. Pablo takes the yogurt and puts it into a linen dish towel draped sieve and makes Labneh, a kind of cream cheese. and he tried ricotta once. but mozz? mmmmm my vegetarian soul knows that rennet is not really from animals (ok, so I know it is, but call me Cleopatra, queen of denial)…

but how do I get around the lack and disinterest in a microwave?

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Aj October 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm

It is possible to maked mozzarella without microve it’s just a few more steps. Claudia includes a non-microwave method in her kit. Basically, instead of putting the curds in the microwave, you would continue to cook it on the stove until it reaces 175-180 degrees F.

This article over at Mother Earth News is a good reference.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Relish/How-to-Make-Quick-Mozzarella-Cheese-Without-a-Microwave.aspx

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Elizabeth November 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Do you think you could make this with soy milk or some other non-dairy substitute?

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Aj November 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Hi Elizabeth! I have never tried to make cheese with soy milk, but you could definitely give it a try. I would be interested in hearing about your results.

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Nicole Kramer Easterday November 4, 2011 at 2:57 am

Hey Elizabeth,

Soy milk isn’t actually milk, but the expressed ‘juice’ of a soy bean. Unfortunately it won’t make mozzarella. :-(

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news – maybe try to make tofu from scratch? That would be a fun project and I’ve seen some people on blogs try it! :-) Good luck!

Great post Aj!

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Meredith November 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm

This is a great guide to making mozzarella. When I was a cheesemonger in NYC, I took a mozzarella making class, but we started with crud purchased elsewhere. Unfortunately I can’t find curd here in Austin, but this is giving me the confidence to make my own.

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