After a successful attempt at making pasta from scratch, we wanted to try making mozzarella from scratch because it also looked pretty simple on TV and also only has a few ingredients: whole milk, citric acid, rennet, salt (optional)

Here’s a gallon of whole milk slowly warming on the stove. The wirey thing on the left is a digital thermometer….you totally need to watch the temperature with this.

After adding citric acid (which makes the milk start to curdle) and rennet (which makes the curds coagulate)…it starts looking like this.

Then once the curds have finished setting…we cut it up in the pot, turn the heat back up again…and watch the curds solidify some more. The added heat makes the whey come out of the curds.

And then you strain the curds from the whey. Here we’ve got a big pot of whey in the front and the curds are draining from the hanging white cheese cloth bag in the background. Yes, one gallon of milk only makes about a bowl of curds.

Mozza curds!! From here we add a teaspoon of salt and then instructions call for some heating up in the microwave to melt and soften the curds. (What we’ve seen in restaurants is curds being tempered and melted in hot water…we’re going to try that next time.)

Here’s Skywalker starting to knead the melting curds. It’ll get smoother and shinier….

Ta-da! Once it’s shiny you know it’s done. We had a small taste and the flavor is AMAZING compared to the store-bought, pre-packaged and preserved stuff. (This site has more thorough instructions…there are a lot of different variations for making mozza so you can experiment what works for you.)

Interestingly, the huge leftover pot of whey can now be used to make ricotta…which we did. Its process isn’t very interesting so I didn’t record it. Basically you just heat the whey to near boiling, let it cool, strain the fine curds out and you’re done! (The leftover whey from this ricotta step can be used to fertilize plants or be used in soup or be fed to pets for extra nutrients. So many uses!)

Next time we might just look for cheese curds to turn into mozzarella instead of making the curds ourselves…just to cut down on the work and from having to deal with all the leftover whey. Either way, it feels great to make something from scratch and have it taste as good as you hoped. =D

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