- In a Dutch oven or large pot combine 1 cup of the cool water and the citric acid, stirring to dissolve the citric acid. Stir in the milk. Heat over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the milk mixture registers 88 degrees F, stirring frequently. This is barely warm to the touch so it doesn't take very long to heat. (If your milk gets slightly hotter than this, remove from the heat and let it cool to 88 degrees F.)
- Remove the milk from the heat. In a small bowl stir together the remaining 1/4 cup cool water and the rennet. Add the rennet mixture to the milk mixture, stirring for 30 seconds. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes or until the curd looks like custard and is soft set (curd will be cream-color and fairly smooth with liquid seeping around it).
- With a knife that is long enough to touch the bottom of the pan, cut the curd in a grid pattern into approximately 1-inch squares. The curd should hold a cut edge (if it doesnt, let it stand a while longer). Line a colander with 100% cotton cheesecloth; set colander in a bowl. Ladle curds into colander. Drain off most of the whey. (You can reserve the whey for soups, smoothies, etc. It tastes mildly of milk.) Transfer the curds to a large glass bowl. It is okay if some of the whey remains.
- Microwave the curds, uncovered, on 100% power (high) for 45 seconds (this works best if your microwave has a turntable). The mixture should start to develop curds and look a bit like cottage cheese at this point. Transfer the curds to a fine-mesh sieve to drain off the whey. Return curds to the glass bowl. Stir in the salt. Stir with a spoon or knead with your hands to work it into small pieces and squeeze the curds for a minute or so.
- Microwave on 100% power (high) for 30 seconds more; drain and knead the curds again. Repeat microwaving and kneading one or three more times as needed to get the cheese to start to flow like taffy and be shiny when kneaded (the temperature of the cheese should be about 135 degrees F in order for this to happen). The cheese will be hot, so wear one or two layers of clean rubber gloves when handling it. Knead and stretch gently a few times, just until shiny and smooth. Form into a ball, tucking ends under to make it as smooth as possible on top. (If desired, you can form several smaller balls.) At this point, the curd will easily hold a ball shape and most of the whey will be drained off. If the cheese cools and feels rubbery and hard to shape while kneading, place it back in the bowl and microwave on 100% power (high) for 15 to 20 seconds to soften. Place the ball(s) of mozzarella in a bowl of ice water.
- Thoroughly cool the cheese in the ice water (about 20 minutes). It is now ready to eat. (Or, you can store it in water in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, changing the water daily. You can also drain it and wrap the cheese in plastic wrap for storage.)
From the Test Kitchen
This should be available at health food and specialty markets and at pharmacies. It helps make the cheese stretchy.
Some milk is too ultra-pasteurized to form curds. Try milk from a local dairy that is not ultra-pasteurized. Organic milk may be ultra-pasteurized so read the label. You can also use low-fat milk but it may not have quite the same texture or richness.
This comes in liquid and tablets. Look for it at specialty food stores or in the pudding or gelatin section of your grocery store. This coagulates the milk to form curds.
Nutrition Facts (Fresh Mozzarella)
- Per serving:
- 218 kcal ,
- 11 g fat
- (7 g sat. fat ,
- 1 g polyunsaturated fat ,
- 3 g monounsaturated fat ),
- 35 mg chol. ,
- 489 mg sodium ,
- 17 g carb. ,
- 0 g fiber ,
- 18 g sugar ,
- 11 g pro.