Friday, May 25, 2012

Mozzarella Tutorial

I make mozzarella with our goats milk. Lots of people have asked me how I do this. I am always happy to have people over to show them how I make mozzarella. Tonight I decided to bring you my "whey" through blogging, pictures, and videos. I hope you find this informative and fun!

I put  two gallons of raw goats milk in the stainless steel pot and turn it on low, while I gather all my supplies.

I will need....
  1. Large stainless steel or porcelain coated pot with lid. Mine is a 12 quart stainless steel.
  2. Long "knife" to cut the curd. I use a frosting spatula for frosting cakes.
  3. Thermometer that will register at least from 50 degrees F to 200 degrees F.
  4. Slotted spoon for stirring and scooping the curds.
  5. Two small cups or bowls with 1/4 cup of cool non-chlorinated water in each.
  6. 1/2 tsp and 1 tsp measuring spoons
  7. Medium bowl 3/4 full of ice water.
  8. Strainer/colander with small holes.
  9. Small bowl that the colander will rest comfortably on top to drain the curds.
  10. Rennet (1/2tsp) Dissolved in one of 1/4 cups of water.  You can use animal or vegetable rennet. If you use double strength use 1/4 tsp.
  11. Citric acid (2- 2 1/2 tsp) dissolved in the other 1/4 cup of water. Got mine at my local health food store. I am currently using 1 tsp per gallong of raw goats milk. It is spring time, in the fall I may need to use more.
  12. Two gallons of milk. Fresh raw milk is best. I used Raw goats milk from my own Saanens. You can half this recipe and use 1 gallon of milk. I prefer to work in larger quantities.
  13. Kosher salt to taste, about 1/2 tsp is what I used. (not pictured here)
  14. Kitchen latex gloves. They are usually yellow, though mine are green. You will be able to see my cool gloves in the video. I forgot to get them out of the draw for the picture. They are sold in the cleaning aisle. You want a brand new pair that you use only for making cheese. You will be holding the mozz and stretching it while wearing these. It helps so you don't burn your hands.
  15. For Ricotta you will need a large colander and a very large bowl or pot. Big enough to hold about 1.5 gallons of whey. I will cover that in my next blog as this one got "whey" long "whey" fast! And now I am "whey" tired!!!
The milk needs to reach 50 degrees F and then I will add the Citric acid that has been dissovled in 1/4 cup of cool non-chlorinated water. I often get side tracked.  I have found that I usually end up adding the citric acid as late as 80 degrees F and it turns out fine as well.

I can't help but multi-task. These are the dishes I am washing while the milk heats. I'm not good at "whey"ting.

After I got the temp to 70 degrees F I added the citric acid and stirred the milk a bit, maybe a minute. I continue heating the milk to 90 degrees. I should stop multi - tasking and pay attention at this point. I want to add the rennet and turn off the heat when the milk hits 90 degrees F.

I was successful at adding rennet at the correct time. BUT I forgot to turn off the heat and the milk did get to 96 degrees F before I screeched in horror. Really, you can ask Lindsey, my husband. He thought I was burning the place down or had left the gas running with the fire off. This might be the reason I didn't get as good of stretch as I would of liked in the video.

UPDATE: I added the rennett at 85 degrees F this morning, turned the heat off and put the lid on for 5 minutes. It turned out MUCH better than last nights Mozz. I have uploaded a new video at the end to show how the stretch looks shinier and smoother.
After I added the rennet I stirred about 20 seconds. I would then turn off the heat, ahem, put the lid on, and set the timer for 5 minutes.

When the timer goes off I check the curd for a "clean break". It almost always has a clean break. If it does not let it sit another minute and check again. Let it sit too long and you are making rubber tire cheese.

It looks like this.... See how when I put the cake frosting knife thingy in the curd and lift sightly the curd cleaning breaks? Yeah, I know its hard to see it in this picture.

Now I cut the curd.

 I cut it with the knife straight down into the pot, like pictured. I cut the curd vertical and then cut across those cuts, like pictured. To make tall 1/2 inch cubes. The curd goes down into the pot, deep.

I then put the knife in at an angle and cut the deep part of the curd. Like so...

I turn the knife 4 different direction while cutting the curd at an angle.

Even with all this cutting I still have long curds when I began cooking the curd in the next step. I just cut through them with my slotted stirring spoon.  Like so...

See the large curds in the middle of the pot? Those I cut up more with my slotted spoons edge. Also note the white curd residue on all around the edge of the pot. It looks like lots of bubbles, but it's curd. I scrap this off with the edge of the slotted spoon. I find that if I leave it there it cooks on and becomes difficult to clean the pot.  *I will cover cleaning the pot in the next tutorial on making Ricotta.*

Now that it's all cut up I turn the heat back on low and slowly heat the curd up to 103 degrees F, while SLOWLY and gently stirring the curd. I stir it to prevent it from matting up into one mass. I will continue to break up large pieces.

Now you get to see the first of several awesome videos I made for this blog. I'll let it speak for its self. I mean I'll speak in it for me.

Once the temperature reaches 103, I turn off the heat and set my timer for 3 minutes. As stated in the video. After the timer goes off I begin fishing out the curd with my slotted spoon.

When finished fishing, my strainer will be full to the brim. Like so...

UPDATE: I've made this more than a few times and I've noticed I get a lot more curds when something has gone wrong. My finished product it usually a bit rubbery then, but still edible by my kids standards. After it sits in the fridge over night and soaks in the salt, it is usually less rubbery. UNLESS, I have done something massively wrong and then I end up with tire rubber cheese. That I then feed to our chickens. No one around here will eat tires.

When all the curd is fished out I turn the stove on high to heat the whey up as fast as possible. I don't like "whey"ting, remember? Don't worry I will have more whey jokes for your enjoyment.

It's draining whey off into the bowl below...
UPDATE: paid attention and this is "whey" too much whey draining off in this step. IF I get the temp, acid and timing right the curd leaks out about half this amount of whey in this first draining.

I pour this whey into the big pot on the stove to be heated. When the curds dripping slows down I turn it over. I flip it upside down in my hand and pry it out with my fingers. Then it looks like this....

I'm weird so this of course if "whey" cool to me! I like the "whey" the curd mats all together and gets the mesh boxy texture. The curd will then drain some more and get all textured on the now turned down sound.

After it stops draining on this side, I remove the curd from the colander and cut it in half with my "whey" big frosting knife thingy... then I realize that I didn't list this platter on my things I get out to use to make mozz cheese list...oops!

I then return it to the colander cut sides down to drain some more whey out.

I call this butt curd.

Anyway...I let drain...yup you guessed it, till the dripping whey slows down. I dump the whey into the pot that is taking "whey" too long to heat up to 175 degrees F. You can speed up the heating by dumping 1/2 the whey out, but I keep it all in the pot because I need the why to make the ricotta from the next tutorial.

After the dripping slows, I cut it yet one more time.

These are curd mountains draining cut side down. With no more cutting left to be done, they will remain this "whey" until the whey is hot enough to start warming the curd in it.

It takes about 10 minutes for the whey to reach 175 degrees F. Once it does, I turn the heat to low to try to keep it at that temperature.

Now that the "whey"ting is over...the "ball" of mozz goes into the very hot whey!

Now I will let me speak for myself, video style...

Yes, each video may look very much the same, before clicking play...they are indeed 3 very different videos.

'WHEY' cool right!!!??? I love the stretching part. It is not as pliable as it should be. Like I said before it either got to hot when I forgot to turn off the stove when the curd was coagulating or I need to start adding more citric acid. OR another option would be I need to cut the curd sooner. Cheese making is an ever changing ART.

The now stretched CHEESE (it's not curd anymore) is cooled down in the ice water bath. I remove it and place it on the forgotten platter to be sprinkled with kosher salt. For cheese making you must use non-iodized salt that is larger in texture than table salt, but not as big as rock salt. I choose to use Kosher salt, but there are cheese salt flake thingy's you can buy from a cheese making supply company. I'm cheap and Kosher salt is cheaper.

Here is the salt I use. I just sprinkle some on both sides. OR I try to take a picture while shaking the salt on and I dump a bunch on one piece than quickly set camera down and begin rubbing the other pieces of cheese in the pile of salt on both sides. My family likes salt, so a coat on both sides is not too much salt. Though I usually just have a sprinkle on both sides.

I then stack them up in a piece of plastic storage stuff with a lid on it and put it in the fridge. Though as you can see, my kids are "whey" inpatient and we of course have to taste test it. The upper left piece seems a bit to straight on one side and smaller than the other pieces. That's the "whey" the cheese is cut to be eaten in strips. :)

If you have any questions about what I was doing or why, feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer your questions.
I bet you can't wait to read the next tutorial on making ricotta? I use the whey from making Mozzarella, even though everything I read says, "it can't be done." I, my dear friends, do it! And you will be able to, too!

UPDATE: I made a new video of the final stretching process. You will see that the cheese is much shinier and smoother.

Here is the Ricotta Tutorial I promised.


  1. Great Job!! :) I haven't watched the video's yet but loved how you did the photo's and explaining.

  2. Yes, great job! I bookmarked this page so I know where to go when it's time for my mozz experience. Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  3. My Jersey gives lots of milk and I plan on ordering rennet and can't wait to try making this cheese. Your explanations make it sound so easy. I'll come back (bookmarked the page) and watch the videos when my husband fixes my speakers on my computer! :) Thanks.

  4. I love the "whey" you explained it all! Thanks!

  5. OK, crazy of me to comment but I just have to say that I was delighted to read that your husband's name is Lindsay. My older brother (50) is named Lindsay and I have never known another male to have that name although it is very typically Scottish and masculine originally.

    1. Nah, you're not crazy. But my husbands name is Lindsey. With an E. ;)

    2. My husbands dad's name was Lindsey as well. He passed away in 1999, the year before I met him.

  6. Just wondering if the method is the same for cow's milk, and would you need to add more acid and/or rennet if you use pasteurized milk?

    1. I haven't used cow's milk, but the process is the same. You might have to adjust the citric acid or the rennet, but that more depends on what part of the animals lactation cycle they are in.
      I don't recommend using pasteurized milk. It seems to be hit or miss if it works or not.

      Let me know how it goes if you try it. :)