Introduction: How to Make Great Homemade Mozzarella

Picture of How to Make Great Homemade Mozzarella

HUGE thanks to everyone that has viewed this instructable! Without you amazing 290,000 people I would not have been featured and then included not one, but TWO eBooks, the How to Make Cheese and How to do Absolutely Everything: In the Kitchen books, and as of January 2013, the How to do Absolutely Everything has been sold as hard copies and I am receiving a copy for my input into it. Gigantic thank you to everyone!

After an interest in cheese I always wanted to make my own. This is my own adaptation of the recipe found here . I have used this recipe a few times and it didnt work as well as I hoped... So I took my time thinking through what changes I could make.
I hope this helps everyone that wants to make their own great mozzarella.

Step 1: What You Will Need:

Picture of What You Will Need:

Whole Fat milk - I used one litre (uk) as this was just a quick batch for fun.
Citric acid
Rennet - liquid or tablet. I used a liquid version. Use as the packaging instructs
Bottle of Water
Cheese Cloth / White Muslin Cloth - For straining curds
Stainless Steel Pot
Large Bowl
Cheese Press (optional)

Step 2: Gently Heat the Milk

Picture of Gently Heat the Milk

Pour your desired amount of milk into your stainles steel pot (aluminium pots will affect the reactions later on)

Constantly stir the milk so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and to prevent a skin forming.

At this stage, DO NOT HEAT PAST 80°F

Step 3: Adding the Citric Acid

Picture of Adding the Citric Acid

At this stage, whilst the milk is still under 80°F, you will have to add the citric acid.

The acid will lower the pH of the cheese and give mozzarella its characteristic stretchy texture.

For every litre of milk, you add a quarter of a teaspoon of citric acid.

I made 1 litres worth of cheese, a quarter teaspoon. But if you are making 4 litres worth you will add a whole teaspoon.

Add the powder and make sure you mix it through thoroughly. You will notice that some of the milk will curdle and stick to your spoon. This is normal.

Step 4: Adding the Rennet

Picture of Adding the Rennet

Now that you have added the citric acid, you have to heat up the milk to 90°F

Turn off the heat just before the thermometer reads 90°F.

Measure out a quarter of a cup of bottled (unchlorinated) water. follow directions of the rennet packaging.... My bottle of rennet says 'for every litre of milk, add 5 drops'

So for my recipe, 1 litre of milk, I added  drops of rennet to a quarter cup of bottled water.

Mix the rennet through the milk for at least 30 secs.  Leave the milk alone, off the heat, for at least 20 mins to curdle.

Step 5: Check for a Clean Break

Picture of Check for a Clean Break

After you have waited for the milk to curdle, you have to test to see if the milk has indeed curdled.

To test this, dip your clean finger into the milk and bring it back out. If you have a clean break, your curds are ready.

The second picture is NOT a clean break. I left the milk for a few minutes before I tested and took the third picture.

Step 6: Cut and Cook the Curds

Picture of Cut and Cook the Curds

Now cut the curds in a criss-cross pattern and turn the heat back on high.

Mix the curds, you don't want them sticking to the pot.

Cook the curds for around 10 mins until it looks like picture 3.

Step 7: Straining the Curds

Picture of Straining the Curds

To strain the curds, set up your large bowl, with your cheese cloth/muslin over it.

Pour the curds and whey into the bowl. The liquid whey will pass throught the cloth and the solid cheese curds will remain in the cloth.

KEEP the whey for later on. Also keep the pot handy.

Step 8: Cheese Press (optional)

Picture of Cheese Press (optional)

If you own a cheese press, you can use it now.

Place your curds, still in your cheese cloth, inside the mould and insert into your press.

Press for 10 mins.

Alternativley, I made a quick homemade press with the water bottle used earlier, and a mould that came with a cheese making kit.

Step 9: Chop and Salt

Picture of Chop and Salt

Now you have your curds, either pressed or not, give them a rough chop (if pressed) and salt the curds.

Step 10: Prepare to Stretch Curds

Picture of Prepare to Stretch Curds

Pour your whey from the large bowl, back into your pot on a high heat. Rinse out the bowl and fill with cold water. For ease place the cheese cloth back into the bowl to catch the curds wen they are stretched.

Place a medium sized curd onto your spoon and lower it into the hot whey. Leave the curd to heat up to the temperature at which it will stretch. This is around 160-165°F.

When the curd streches, you know the whey is at the correct temperature for the rest.

Step 11: Stretching Your Curds

Picture of Stretching Your Curds

Add all of the curds into the whey to heat up. Leave them for a few minutes.
You might want to place your cheesecloth back into the whey to catch all the curds again.

When the curds are hot enough, gather them with your spoon then shape them by hand.

The curds will be very hot. Most internet sites recommend wearing rubber gloves to keep yur hands cool. I recommend it as well.

I formed my mozzarella balls by kneading the curds in my hand until it started to look smooth. If the curds ever feel more resilient, place them back into the whey to heat them. When you are happy with the smoothness of the mozzarella and it is in an authentic ball form, place them into your bowl of cold water to set the shape.

Step 12: Finished Mozzarella

Picture of Finished Mozzarella

You have now just made your very own Mozzarella.

I don't know how long the cheese will last in the fridge as I always use it straight away.

Mozzarella is best stored in slightly salted water, in an airtight container in the fridge.


Step 13: How to Make Absolutely Everything!

Picture of How to Make Absolutely Everything!

Just received this through the post this afternoon, thought I'd share it with all of you people who made it happen. For anyone purchasing the book, this instructable's on page 24


dlakewagner (author)2015-03-28

I am using fresh, unpasturized milk. To one gallon I used 1/4 tsp of liquid vegetable rennet and 1 and 1/2 tsp, of citric acid. After I added the rennet, it amost immediately turned into a cheese ball, never giving me the chance to cut the cheese curd. I waited the 5 min...the whey was milky also. What am I doing wrong?

firedog72 (author)dlakewagner2017-05-30

The whey should not be milky. If it is, sounds like you are not getting a clean break. If you didn't put the wrong amount of rennet, you either need to look for another milk supplier or maybe you didn't get the milk to the right temp. If you need more help, visit my website.

hudstud (author)2015-06-23


ndouglas303 (author)2015-05-01

You should enter this in a contest. It's great!

roy.pierson.16 (author)2014-11-01

Can you use fresh milk from a cow with cream still in it?

rpotts2 (author)roy.pierson.162015-01-12

Yes, but in some places it is hard to come by due to health concerns. I always have to plan a road trip to Philly for cheese steaks (Phillips on Passyunk!) & milk at the Terminal Market.

The only real concern with milk is that you don't want it UHP. That's ultra high pasteurized. The high temps ruin the caseins I believe.

On a personal note: I won't drink raw milk, but the heat of cheese processing should be enough to render it safe for eating.

And I do mean fresh like in from tit to pot fresh just strained nothing else done to it

caeric (author)2013-06-25

Great instructable! I use the microwave to knit the curds, but really haven't been happy. To the poster that has hard curds, try reducing or eliminating the calcium chloride. Though it ups your amount of cheese it has a side effect of making curds really hard. Generally I've read, it's used mostly in hard cheeses because of this effect - a little goes a long way. Also an interesting source for citric acid - Indian spice shops or stores that cater to that ethnic type. I used to buy from my local brew supply warehouse, but can find 4oz packages for a couple of dollars!

viewsforme (author)2013-04-30

I am having exactly the same problem, as ustky, I am using fresh milk straight from the cow. I have tried with cream and without cream ( skimmed off the top) What am I doing wrong? My cheese is hard and dry, even when still warm.

"Each time the curd just broke apart. These curds were very hard, just like paneer. At 195 I just dumped everything into the whey and let it sit for two minutes. I tried to mold using rubber gloves, but everything just crumbled apart, dry and not at all elastic.""

kwestphall (author)2013-04-02

The one ball came Before I drained curds the first time, Just before you chop them up and salt them. It looked way different than yours so wanted to make sure I didnt over cook it or something lame like that. as they were definitely not curds it was a glob. lol Batch I tried today went Exactly like you said though so it was Amazing! Then I went on to make Ricotta with left over whey. My husband thought I was crazy wanting to do this now he sits back and reaps the rewards. lol

thomas9666 (author)kwestphall2013-04-03

Strange... I'm glad it worked out the second time round! Everyone always is a bit apprehensive about cheese making at first, then they taste it and fall in love with this excellent skill. Keep up the good work :)

kwestphall (author)2013-04-02

Can you knead them to much at this point? or just keep working it and heating it till it comes out all smooth and stretchy without tearing?

thomas9666 (author)kwestphall2013-04-02

I'm not sure if you can over-knead mozzarella... With bread it activates the gluten or something like that but I don't think that there is anything similar in cheese... Not sure so don't take this as gospel.

kwestphall (author)2013-04-02

I cooked them for 10 minutes but should I lessen that time before it all starts to become one mass? when the 10 minutes was up it saw all connected and one ball. I am also using milk straight from the cow so dont know if that makes a difference or not.

thomas9666 (author)kwestphall2013-04-02

You should be aiming for one ball ideally so just heat until it does form one mass, the time may vary. Lucky you getting the milk fresh like that! Hope you remembered to pasteurise!

proudsailor (author)2013-02-17

Wow! I never realized that looking at Instructables for 'how to make mozzarella' would be such a history lesson. I suppose it's a good thing the immigration laws were lenient and America opened her doors all those years ago. Now nearly every country can somehow lay claim to wonderful items we couldn't live without now.

ustky (author)2011-09-22

Hi thomas9666. I was very excited to find this. I live in Taiwan and it is near impossible to find fresh mozzarella here, especially where I live. I tried it tonight for the first time, but I failed. Everything was to the letter and looked perfect up through pressing the curds. But then I could not get them to stretch. I dropped in my test curd when the whey hit 150 degrees, then checked it at 160, 165, 170, 175, etc. up until nearly boiling. Each time the curd just broke apart. These curds were very hard, just like paneer. At 195 I just dumped everything into the whey and let it sit for two minutes. I tried to mold using rubber gloves, but everything just crumbled apart, dry and not at all elastic. After a while I gave up, repressed the curds and intend to maybe use it like paneer. But, I want mozzarella. Do you have any suggestions about what I did wrong? I used 2 liters of whole milk, 1/2 tsp citric acid, liquid rennet and spring water. I will try again anyway, but would love any suggestions.

Jendebelen (author)ustky2012-08-12

I think the reason for your problem could be in the milk that you are using. pasteurized (low heat) is best for making cheese at home. UHT ( ultra high Temperature sterilisation, or long life milk) is nigh on impossible to make mozzerella with. Besides all the goodness has been removed from it. UHT is the only kind of 'fresh milk' you get in most asian supermarkets, unless you source straight from the farm your best sticking to making paneer. Hope this helps.

southernmapart (author)2012-08-04

Noodles likely were invented in China. About the "pasta making equipment including a guitar like device were found in Italy and carbon dated back to about 2,000 years ago," Marco Polo and his uncles brought a bunch of that kind of stuff back with them over their China trade route. Carbon dates time, not place. (I love the banter on this site!)

ilovecheesecurds (author)2012-06-22

Not to interrupt the country of origin war that's going on but........I have a cheese question.....the directions say press is optional so, what are the benefits of using it, as I do not own one? Thanks.

LancasterPA (author)2011-06-28

Where do you get Rennet? Has anyone tried goat milk? That is the only fresh milk that will be available to me in the Philippines. Thanks for any help.

Ilan Voyager (author)LancasterPA2012-04-29

You can make cheese from cow. goat, water buffalo and mare (yes, horse cheese...)
The goat milk makes very good cheeses, fresh and dried. It wil make a very good ricotta, and I think you'll get a good mozalrella like. The true mozarella is made with water buffalo milk, a very fatty one.
The lone precaution is to pasteurize the milk as the Malta Brucellosis (goggle for more...) is a disease transmitted by milk from sheeps and goats. Pasteurization is very effective. If the herder tests the goats for the disease every year it's better but I have doubts in Philippines.
Here in southeast Mexico is impossible to make cheese as the milk is of a awful quality. trials for ricotta gives less than 200 gr of cheese with 4 liters of "whole" very expensive milk. Conclusion the milk is watered...In France I got commonly 450-500 gr of ricotta from 4 liters of fresh pasteurized milk.

thomas9666 (author)LancasterPA2011-06-28

Rennet can be purchased off eBay for good prices or you could try to source a fairly local cheese making suppliers. They will. Sell rennet, cultures, cloths and presses if you ever decide to take cheese making any further.

I have not tried this with goat milk yet... I shall maybe give it a try when I am making my half goat parmesan in the near future. I shall tell you how this turns out.

LancasterPA (author)thomas96662011-06-28

That would be great. I read someone made cheese from bison milk I believe. I may be able to get that too. I live in the Philippines 6 months a year and they have almost no cheese except for cream cheese that is quite poor. I also can't buy "Real" milk only milk in boxes or powdered milk. Of course one of the names of the milk in a box is "Real Milk" but with a shelf life of over a year, I am not sure how real it is. Most of this box milk comes from Australia. I see goats and caribou around so I will ask about getting milk from them. I do not see this milk in the markets at all. At home I live in Lancaster PA, actually right on a farm. I think I will ask the farmer for some "Real" Milk right from the pull down tap. I will try e-bay for the rennet. Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know of any cheese making suppliers in this area.

iamjtg (author)LancasterPA2011-12-24

I've been to Honduras several times. They to have boxed milk. Very terrible. It's like a drinkable blue cheese.

marymac (author)LancasterPA2011-10-23

When I was looking for exotic spices, I found exactly what I was hoping for from Amazon. Not just that from things from other countries...teas!! I wouldn't be surprised if you could find rennet even faster on Amazon.

thomas9666 (author)2012-04-17

Hey guys, just wondering, should I make a video on this? If so, which bits should I show in detail for extra clarity?

Also, if you want me to make an instructable on another kind of cheese, just leave me a comment.

One last thing, please leave a comment on wether my girlfriend should give cheese making a go or not, she doesn't like the idea but I think she will eventually break xD

twinbush (author)thomas96662012-04-18

She should try it, she might like it! :) I know I do.

I think you should show how to get the curds going and getting to the stretching part.

thomas9666 (author)twinbush2012-04-18

I know, I hope she will :D But it's great that you like it :)

By 'show how to get the curds going' do you mean the curds separating them, cooking them or heating them before stretching?

Thanks for the reply :)

twinbush (author)thomas96662012-04-19

Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing that whole realm.

DIYgalinboulder (author)2012-02-18

If you're in the U.S. go to the website for raw milk dairies. Find a close dairy that sells "shares" in cows (also goats & sheep). Buy a share & pay a monthly fee for boarding your cow ($30-$40). This is the ONLY legal way to get raw milk in the states (unless you are a dairy farmer). Be careful the farmer is producing healthy milk (tips on the website). I get raw milk. I get the rest of my cheese making supplies from a home beer/wine making supply store in town. Rennet tablets are available at most supermarkets by the boxes of Dream Whip close to the pudding. You can substitute cultures, as was mentioned above, but it takes a tad longer. For cheeses more complex than mozzarella, ricotta, or cottage, you'll need special flaked salt & different cultures/bacterium (such as penicillum for blue cheese). Try it. It's a fun & yummy hobby.

heartart (author)DIYgalinboulder2012-03-30

There are some other ways to get raw milk. You can go the route you did and you can also (depending on where you live) Non homogenized whole milk locally delivered TO you by I'm in Texas and it is an incredible service. The milk is taken daily from the cows , and delivered fresh. You can also get and choose pretty much everything made and grown locally to be delivered. And it is really affordable. The whole, non homogenized milk is about $7. a gallon, but YUMMY. You can also find your other cheese ingredients sometimes through Greenling. I don't know if there are versions of this business in other states, but most likely some sort of service. There are some other offices to contact to find local milk, without investing in a cow. (just alternatives) If you try Greenling..if you are in their service area, hope you like it! I'm not a rep, I've just tried it.

marmoura (author)2012-03-22

i haven't understand what rennet is and i cant find it in my region so what's it subsitute pls?

thomas9666 (author)marmoura2012-03-22

Rennet is the enzyme naturally found in the stomach of calves, used to digest milk. It can be found on the internet if you are having trouble locating it locally. I don't think there are substitues for it. sorry.

Hope this helps,

Corryco2002 (author)2012-03-13

I used fresh unpaturized milk and by the time I was heating it to 108 degrees it was already getting stretchy in the pot.. Also, the whey is still rather white and the curds although stretchy would not form a ball so I just made it into curds which are very delicious.
I made this a few days ago with the same milk (different cow) but I had skimmed off all of the cream and it turned out exactly as predicted in the recipe. Was good but not as tasty as the recipe that wouldn't form a ball. Could the reason it wouldn't form a ball be because of the cream?
I'm going to try to make ricotta with the whey again as it turned out so well last time and I'll let you know how it turns out.
Thanks : )

Keko (author)2012-03-02

I really want to try this...thanks for posting!

chewbacca133 (author)2012-02-02

I heard the temp was to be around 140 degrees. Is that about right?

anjubhagwat (author)2011-12-24

I tried the recipe and managed to work upto a cheese ball. But it was not stretchy enough and it did not melt at all when I made a Pizza. Any idea why or what I could have missed in the recipe?

twinbush (author)2011-10-23

What's odd for me is the fact that I have made cheese 3x now since I found this recipe. 2x with this recipe and 1x with another. The 1st time it was PERFECT, the second time I couldn't get it shiny, and the third ICK ( I will never use that recipe again. Any idea why?

twinbush (author)2011-08-01

This is the easiest thing I have ever made. Though I am sad it makes so little. Now I must invest in a cow. :)

thomas9666 (author)twinbush2011-08-01

Wow! That looks like a good ball of mozzarella!!

I know what you mean... One of my best friends lives on a dairy farm (I think) and has a herd of cattle and sheep. I havn't yet asked her if I could buy some fresh milk but I would love a cow at least and make cheese every day!

twinbush (author)thomas96662011-08-01

When you do that - please.....share the love. :)

**searching for an Amish who sells cheap milk in upstate NY**

marymac (author)twinbush2011-10-23

As far as I know, the Feds are raiding farmers that sell raw milk. To try to overcome that bad law to declare illegal to sell raw milk, some folks buy a share of a cow and get the product of that lactating cow. If you own the cow you can do what you wish with the milk. The important part is do not buy the milk. Or the Feds will knock your door down and come in bearing arms.

I am going to have another stab at making cheese again. Be sure to use whole milk at least. It is the fat in the milk that is very important in making cheese. Still, I'm Lazy Mary and might try the large curd cottage cheese idea and start from there. A lot of the calculations and work are done by the folks that make the cottage cheese. Might as well and see what I get from that.

Rennet?? I've seen it often in the area where the pudding mixes are. Sometimes it is part of the base for some homemade ice cream.

skaar (author)2011-03-08

a lot of bottled water is just city water, make sure there's no chlorine in it.

mriendea (author)skaar2011-09-08

As a home brewer, I use a small pinch of campden (bisulfate compound), in a gallon jug of tap H20. It dissipates overnight and breaks up chloramine.

roulopa (author)skaar2011-04-22

This would be illegal over here.... salling bottled city water that is.

skaar (author)roulopa2011-04-23

i'm sure if it's not misrepresented as spring water, it'd be fine... besides, spring water, may be filthy, city water may be MUCH cleaner than from the springs. in my current city, at some parts of the year, the water smells like waterfowl feathers, i don't think anyone would want to drink that from a fancy bottle that says it's spring water.

thomas9666 (author)skaar2011-03-08

Ok. But it's better to be safe than sorry :L

dketchum (author)2011-07-03

Isn't this post about cheese, NOT grammar? I don't really care about everyone's use of proper English grammar.

Anyway, a teenager I know just brought over his first attempt at homemade cheese, and it was pretty good. I just wanted to know how homemade mozzarella cheese is made. I doubt I will be making homemade cheese anytime soon, but if I do, I'll be trying your version. (Except I have no idea where to get that Rennet stuff you're talking about! I guess I'd have to wade through all the extraneous grammar comments.)

mwest-ussery (author)dketchum2011-09-03

Kroger sells it. Its in the Jello shelf.Its a tiny little box.

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