What goes better with all those tomatoes and basil growing rioteously in the garden than mozzarella? Just a drizzle of great olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and you have summer on a plate! The only thing that could make this dish more heavenly is if the mozzarella cheese was homemade!

It is very easy to make fresh mozzarella and sooooo much more delicious. Here at StoneGable fresh mozzarella has been made for years. It is culinary therapy! The process just makes me feel good!

There are a couple of ingredients that go into making homemade mozzarella that you may not be familiar with. Citric Acid and Rennet. Citric acid makes the cheese stretch and hold together, and rennet makes the milk curd.

 They must be used to make fresh mozzarella. I purchased them on line under $8.00. And I have enough to last quite awhile. I use the liquid rennet but if you buy the tablets they can be frozen and will last for a very long time in the freezer. I ordered the citric acid ( most drugs stores carry it too) and rennet form New England Cheesemaking. Click HERE to see their website.

Guess what I'm having for lunch? YUMMY!

StoneGable Fresh Mozzarella
1 gallon whole milk, (if you can get raw milk use that)
2 tsp citric acid
2/3 tsp rennet ( or 1/2 tablet)
1/4 cup non chlorinated water
1-2 tsp salt

thermometer that measures 55 degrees to over 110

WARNING: The pictures of cheese making are not very pretty. So sorry! But the results are worth suffering through the images. See what you get...

 AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Success in mozzarella making depends on a few  things. One, heating the milk very slowly. Set your stove on the very lowest heat. The milk won't curd right if you heat it too fast.
Two, stirring gently. It is more like slightly moving the curds and whey a little to distribute heat. Just the most gentle hand is needed!
Three, make sure you keep an eye on the thermometer. Don't overcook your milk!

Back to the Recipe:
Add rennet to 1/4 cup of water and set aside.

Put milk into a non reactive pot ( not aluminum or  cast iron, use stainless steel) and sprinkle with 2 tsp of citric acid. Stir. Cook milk on LOW heat. Bring milk to 88 degrees stirring VERY GENTLY a few times.  Milk will begin to get little curds.

When milk has reached 88 degrees pour rennet mixed with water into the milk. Stir to evenly distribute. Stir VERY GENTLY a couple of times until milk reaches 105 degrees and curds have formed. Try not to break apart any large curds. Turn off heat. Put lid on pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out curds into a microwave proof bowl. The whey should be discarded. There are great nutritional benefits from whey. The Internet is full of great whey ideas.

Using the back of a slotted spoon, squeeze the curds on the side of the bowl releasing the whey inside the curds. Discard whey.

Put bowl in the microwave and microwave on high for 30 seconds. This is where it can get a little tricky. Many recipes call for as much as 2 minutes. It depends on your microwave. I say go gentle! You can always keep reheating.  Using your hand if you can, gently squeeze the curds into the side of the bowl and gently press the curds together in a kneading fashion.

There is a balance here. You want to squeeze and kneed the cheese enough to release the whey and to form the cheese, but if you get too aggressive it will become rubbery. You will know when you make it.

Put the cheese back into the microwave and heat it on high for 20 seconds. Remove from microwave. Add salt and kneed the cheese until it gets just a little shiny and sticks together. DON'T overdo it! I tend to like my mozzarella on the soft side. It only takes a few seconds.

Separate the cheese into 2 balls and make them into logs.

Wrap them in parchment, plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate.

Homemade Mozzarella is delicious! And when you make it once, you will want to make it and keep it on hand.

Use it on pizzas, in lasagna,or on any Italian food. My favorite way to eat fresh mozzarella is to tear it and serve they torn pieces on a plate with tomatoes. Don't forget to sprinkle basil chiffonades and drizzle the best olive oil over everything. A little pinch of sea salt and your meal is ready.  As a bonus I added some briny olives. Can I get a YUMMY!

Just look at all that deliciousness! Cut into slices or torn into tempting chunks homemade fresh mozzarella is a far superior to any store bought brand.

Bon Appetit!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael Lee at Designs By Gollum. Click HERE to visit.


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