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Make Your Own Mozzarella

21 June 2010 2,648 views 15 Comments

It’s tomato season and a great time to experiment with making your own mozzarella. Making your own cheese? I don’t think Adam and I thought we could do it until we attended a seminar on cheese making at home presented by Austin Homebrew and Slow Food Austin earlier this year. Our friend Carla of Austin Urban Gardens made mozzarella from a cheese kit purchased at Austin Homebrew recently and she told us that it was pretty doable.

Adam buys cheese making kit

Adam buys cheese making kit

Once we found Austin Homebrew (it’s moved from Burnet just north of 183 to Metric), finding the cheese kit was easy. It cost about $15 and includes the special ingredients needed for 20 3/4 lb. balls of cheese.

Three of the ingredients are below: citric acid, calcium chloride, and rennet. The vegetarian rennet tablets are kept in the freezer and they are the reason the cheese kits are refrigerated at the store. Basically, the citric acid curdles milk and turns it into cottage cheese. Calcium Chloride is used to aid coagulation and help form curd and the rennet causes the solution to gel.

Cheese Making Items

Cheese Making Items

A thermometer is key to making cheese and there are various points in the process where you’ll need to check temperature. We used this handy digital thermometer borrowed from friends Jen & Mike — I love the way it hangs over the side of the pot.

Thermometer

Thermometer

Looks like we made cottage cheese below but I didn’t stop to taste it. I’m sure it was delicious! We did end up making ricotta and have jars of whey filling the fridge if anyone has suggestions for how we should use it.

curds begin forming

curds begin forming

Lots of straining and liquid removal happens in the mozzarella cheese making process. Here, Adam presses the cheese curds in a strainer to pour off as much whey as possible.

draining curds

draining curds

Adam has likely poured the cheese salt (finely grained salt) over the curd and is beginning the process of folding the curds.

Folding curds

Folding curds

We couldn’t help kneading the curds like you would dough but Adam suggested more folding and less kneading to create the best results.

Flattening cheese

Flattening cheese

I couldn’t help but sneak a taste. The whey was delicious! We poured some into Lucy (the dog’s) bowl too.

helping clean

helping clean

The finished product below! This was actually our second batch of mozzarella. Both were delicious but this version was made with a salt water bath instead of cheese salt and Adam carefully folded it to create a more attractive and smooth finished product.

Mozzarella!

Mozzarella!

By the way, you can’t use just any old milk to make fresh cheese. It’s best to use unpasteurized or at the least lightly pasteurized whole milk. We used Way Back When whole milk (lighty pasteurized) — one gallon purchased at the Downtown Austin Farmer’s Market and another from Wheatsville Co-op. The only difference between the two was that the Wheatsville milk was actually a dollar cheaper. This local dairy is wonderful and the high quality milk really made a difference.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Basil Salad a la Thomas Keller

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Basil Salad a la Thomas Keller

The finished product was delicious. Those gorgeous tomatoes from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and our friends Kenny & Heather’s actual backyard garden were treated with the respect they deserved by this cheese.

Do you want to see the entire cheese making process from start to finish? This video from Austin Homebrew clearly walks through the process.

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  • Carla

    Very cool! I'm so glad it worked so well and that ya'll had fun doing it. I need to make some more soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcwmatthews Marc Matthews

    TEACH ME TEACH ME TEACH ME

  • jodibart

    We would love to! Lets figure out a date for cheese making and games!

  • jodibart

    Thanks for inspiring us (ahem, Adam).

  • Buyer

    This is Jon from Austin Homebrew Supply. Thanks for the mention! Great article!

  • http://twitter.com/apronadventures apronadventures

    What a fun recipe and process! I recently experimented with making mozzarella after seeing a demonstration at the Seattle Cheese Festival last month, however I cheated and purchased my curds from Central Market. The cheese was delicious, however reaching my hands into 170 degree water and handling the cheese makes me think this was a one-time process for me :) Thanks so much for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/bryanrobison bryan robison

    I've used the Austin Homebrew kit a couple of times and the cheese came out great. You can use regular pasteurized whole milk but the cheese is much better with unpasteurized. Cheesemaking is a lot of fun but it does take quite a bit of patience.

  • http://twitter.com/jenneraustin Jenner Austin

    Thanks for the great overview! I have always wanted to try it, and you made it look really doable.

  • Buyer

    This is Jon from Austin Homebrew Supply. Thanks for the mention! Great article!

  • http://twitter.com/apronadventures apronadventures

    What a fun recipe and process! I recently experimented with making mozzarella after seeing a demonstration at the Seattle Cheese Festival last month, however I cheated and purchased my curds from Central Market. The cheese was delicious, however reaching my hands into 170 degree water and handling the cheese makes me think this was a one-time process for me :) Thanks so much for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/bryanrobison bryan robison

    I've used the Austin Homebrew kit a couple of times and the cheese came out great. You can use regular pasteurized whole milk but the cheese is much better with unpasteurized. Cheesemaking is a lot of fun but it does take quite a bit of patience.

  • http://twitter.com/jenneraustin Jenner Austin

    Thanks for the great overview! I have always wanted to try it, and you made it look really doable.

  • http://anotheraustinfoodblog.blogspot.com Laura

    I meant to post much earlier to say that the cheese was fabulous, and I was honored to get to sample some!

  • http://anotheraustinfoodblog.blogspot.com Laura

    I meant to post much earlier to say that the cheese was fabulous, and I was honored to get to sample some!

  • http://anotheraustinfoodblog.blogspot.com Laura

    I meant to post much earlier to say that the cheese was fabulous, and I was honored to get to sample some!