A heavy-bottomed stock pot with lid (5+ quarts)
Skimmeror slotted spoon
Curd knife(or just use a long knife of your choice)
Microwave safe bowl
Large bowl for an ice bath
Stretching gloves (optional)
- Dissolve the citric acid in 3/4 c. water. Dissolve the rennet tablet in 1/4 c. cool water and set aside.
- Pour the milk in to the stock pot and add the diluted citric acid.
- Slowly bring the temperature to 90°F while stirring with the whisk to prevent scorching.
- Remove the pot from the heat and slowly trickle in the dissolved rennet. Stir with the whisk for about 30 seconds.
- Cover the pot and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Check to see if the curd has a clean break and that the whey looks clear and not milky. If so, cut the curd in to 1/2″ cubes.
- Put the pot back on the heat and raise the temperature to 105 degrees F while stirring occasionally.
- When at 105 degrees, cook and stir occasionally for another 5 minutes. If you want a very soft mozzarella, you can decrease this time by several minutes.
- Carefully ladle the curds in to the microwave-safe bowl. The curds will still be draining, so gently press out some of the whey by folding the curds over themselves and mashing them a bit. Don’t squeeze!
- Microwave the curds on high for 45 seconds.
- Pour off the whey. If you are using gloves, put them on and start folding the cheese over on itself like you are kneading.
- Sprinkle 1/2 of the salt over the curds and give it a few more kneads.
- Microwave the curds again for 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the other 1/2 of the salt over the curds.
- Pick up the very hot curd mass and start to stretch it in your hands. If it breaks or doesn’t want to stretch, microwave it again for another 30 seconds. Repeat until you get to this stage – it develops the rubbery outer casing of the cheese that will make it hold its shape and keep the cheese from drying out. The more you stretch the cheese, the “tougher” it will be. If you are looking to grate or shred it, stretch it for a few minutes.
- Shape the curds in to whatever shape you like and dunk it in to an ice waterbath for 30 minutes.
- Store cheese in a ziploc container or in plastic wrap. It should be good for at least a week – but it probably won’t last that long!
Yield: 1 – 1 1/2 pounds of cheese.