How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

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How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by paradoxbox » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:52 pm

Alright, this is more of a brief introductory to let people know that you can actually make cheese at home and it's easier than you think.

Things you'll need:

低音殺菌牛乳 : Low temperature pasteurization milk : 1L - This is milk that's been pasteurized at a low temperature, usually 66c for 30 minutes or something similar. Most milk in Japan is UHT or ESL pasteurized which means it's literally cooked at 100-200c for about 2 seconds. This destroys the milk proteins, kills the flavor and you cannot use this to make mozzarella cheese, stretchy cheese or any hard cheeses. You can make ricotta or other soft cheeses i.e. blue cheese however! 1L of this usually costs around 245yen.

レンネット : Rennet - 1/8th of a tablet or 1 drop liquid rennet : This is sold on Amazon or Rakuten, unfortunately at a very high price by "market scalpers". I will be destroying this market next year with fairly priced rennet and will be selling it on Amazon.jp. Currently you'll need to pay around 800-1500yen for it. You can buy it in tablet, liquid or powdered form. This tutorial will use 1/8th of a tablet of rennet.

クエン酸 : Citric Acid - 1/8th tspThis you can find at any drug store or grocery store. Cheap, maybe 400 yen for a big bag of it. You can use it for lots of other purposes like cleaning or making bath bombs filled with flowers or essential oils, head spas, etc.

And lastly you'll need an accurate thermometer that can be put in liquid.


The whole cheesemaking process takes about 35 minutes, but most of that time is just waiting for the curd to set. Actual prep time is only around 5-10 minutes.

Alright, very simply:
1: Dissolve the 1/8th tablet of rennet into 1/8th cup of warm but not hot water. Mix it well.

2: Pour 1L of milk into a pot and on very low heat, warm it up to 35c. Turn off the heat once it's at 35c.

3: Add the 1/8th teaspoon of citric acid and mix it well, then immediately add the rennet while stirring. Continue stirring for around 30 seconds - the rennet and citric acid must be thoroughly mixed with the milk or you'll have poor results.

4: Put a tight lid on the pot and leave it (with no heat) for 15-30 minutes. You'll need to check on it every once in a while to see how the curd is coming along. What you are looking for is a curd that looks like yogurt does when you first open the package - it should have a kind of fresh icy sheen. When you stick a finger into it and lift up, it should break the curd cleanly without mushing or spilling tons of liquid out. If it does mush up, let it sit a little longer. If it never gets solid, next time try adding more citric acid and rennet, and consider putting the pot somewhere a little warmer. This step is temperature sensitive so it may change in spring and summer.

This is what step 4 looks like with too much citric acid or too long a setting time. But no fear, it can be used, though the curd will not be quite as creamy.
Image

5: Cut the curd into cubes and then ladle them into a strainer over a bowl or the original heating pot. The liquid is whey - you can drink this or give it to certain animals like pigs etc. It is FULL of protein. Be gentle with the curds. The more you smash and bash the curds, the more fat will leak out of the curd which will reduce your cheese yield.
Step 5 will look something like this:
Image

6: Put the relatively drained curd into a microwave safe bowl, and microwave it for 1minute on high power. Take it out and carefully start kneading it like you would with bread. If it breaks apart or doesn't want to knead together, put it back in the renji for 30 seconds at high. The more you knead it the more liquid will be pressed out. So if you want a very marshmallowy, soft fluffy mozzarella try to keep kneading to a minimum.
Here's what my cheese looked like after 2 or 3 heating-kneadings. The more you knead the denser your cheese will become, but the weight will also decrease. I got around 106 grams on this cheese. Not bad for 240yen. I think the shops charge 360 yen for a ball of 100grams or 3 balls of 30 grams.
Image

7: Put the ball in a bowl and pour in some whey until it's completely submerged. Add salt to it until salt will no longer dissolve into the brine anymore. Then you're golden - you can eat this immediately or let it sit in the fridge a few days. It should be eaten within a few days of making though.

Enjoy!

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by Zasso Nouka » Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:26 pm

Awesome post :text-goodpost:

Really great instructions, we tried making mozzarella a year ago and failed miserably (probably because we used ordinary milk rather than the Low temperature pasteurization milk) but we've still got the rennet and citric acid around so will give this a try.

Nice clear instructions, thank you Paradoxbox

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by paradoxbox » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:21 pm

I hope this'll help your next try more successful. I do think that your problem was probably the UHT/ESL milk. Occasionally certain water supplies are overchlorinated which can kill the rennet, if that's the case just use distilled water or let the water sit in an open bottle for a few days to offgas then it should be fine.

Another common problem is undermixing or overmixing of the rennet with the milk - pour the rennet/water mix in quickly, stir for 20-30seconds and then don't touch it. When you move or shake the milk while the curd is setting, you disturb the protein bonding process and you won't be able to get the milk to curdle any further, basically destroying the batch. You can salvage this milk by making a cottage cheese/panir out of it (Bring it to a boil then add a spoonful of acid like vinegar, citric acid, lemon juice etc). It will curdle and you can strain it to make a salvage cheese.

Here's how the cheese looked tonight :D
Image

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by gonbechan » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:49 pm

That looks so good.
I think I might give this a try over the new year.
Thanks for this paradoxbox.

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by Eric in Japan » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:51 pm

I sometimes get milk from the bulk tank of my fellow volunteer fireman's dairy farm.
Should I pasteurize it (low temp) or can I use it raw?
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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by paradoxbox » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:59 pm

If you're going to use it for making fresh cheeses which you eat soon after making, I would pasteurize it just to be on the safe side - there are diseases like tuberculosis which were historically transferred by drinking milk from an infected cow. If you pasteurize it by heating it in a big pot for 30minutes at exactly 62-63c then immediately cooling it down, you'll eliminate the risk.

If you're going to make a cheese that will be aged more than 60 days, raw milk is considered to be safe by most people as the acid and bacterial environment pretty much eliminates dangerous pathogens that might have been in the milk at the start.

Check youtube for more info about pasteurizing, it's not that hard but it MUST be done correctly - if it's done incorrectly you may end up making an even friendlier environment for bad bacteria to thrive.

You're really lucky to get raw milk, I wish I had a source of cheap raw milk, I'd be making cheese 24/7.

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by gonbechan » Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:28 pm

you could get a goat.
Means yearly asado of the kidlets but as long as you aren't vegetarian, it should be ok.
Goat meat is also good for curry and sausages.

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by CYEK » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:43 pm

As someone who absolutely refuses to eat any cheese I find no interest in this post for myself. The wife and kids might like it though.

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by paradoxbox » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:34 pm

Yep, I am looking into how much female goats cost and whether the landlord here will allow them or not. I think they're the perfect pet as they're usually pretty quiet and don't smell, but our neighbors are so close by and we just got through negotiating permission for a dog and 2 cats so...! Also planning for chickens in the spring.
gonbechan wrote:you could get a goat.
Means yearly asado of the kidlets but as long as you aren't vegetarian, it should be ok.
Goat meat is also good for curry and sausages.
Give in to the power of home made meltilicious mozzarella cheese!!
CYEK wrote:As someone who absolutely refuses to eat any cheese I find no interest in this post for myself. The wife and kids might like it though.

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Re: How To: Make your own mozzarella cheese at home

Post by gonbechan » Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:13 am

I think for a goat to give milk you have to get her in the family way once a year or something.
Well, not you of course, but a billy goat gruff.

I love goat's cheese, I know some people think it can be a bit smelly, but isn't that what cheese is for?
I wonder how hard it would be to make feta cheese?

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