I love making homemade cheese. It is so fun to do and the cheese tastes fantastic. In this article, I will teach you how to make mozzarella cheese with cheap milk. With that said, the better quality of the milk the better the results. But I make it all the time with cheap Kroger brand milk and it is awesome.
I have a few other mozzarella cheese recipes but I showed a bit different techniques in each. In this cheese recipe, I show how to make mozzarella by just using vinegar and raw milk. And in this one, I show how to make mozzarella with powdered milk. Definitely check those other recipes out as well.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients and Equipment
In order to make mozzarella cheese from scratch you need just a handful of ingredients and tools:
- Milk – In this cheese recipe I use regular store-brand whole milk. You can use 2% and 1% as well. You do need to make sure the milk is NOT ultra-pasteurized. Just pasteurized is fine and homogenized will work too with mixed results. My store-brand milk is homogenized and the recipe works 70 to 80% of the time just fine.
- Citric acid – This can be found in most supermarkets in the canning section.
- Rennet – Rennet is an enzyme that helps curdle and coagulate the milk and forms the curds. It comes in powder form, tablet form, and liquid rennet. Some cheese makers prefer the liquid rennet instead of the tablet or powder.
- Cheese salt – Cheese salt is a special non-iodized salt made specifically for cheese. Normal table salt will work okay but is not the best to use. If you are going to make homemade mozzarella a lot, get the cheese salt.
- Water – I always use filtered water.
FUN FACT: Traditional original mozzarella is made from Italian Water Buffalo milk. If you can get your hands on that, fantastic, use it.
You can also buy this cheesemaking kit which has everything you need to make mozzarella cheese at home with your cheap milk.
- Large pot like a Dutch oven
- Slotted spoon
- Pan for under the strainer
- Food Grade Gloves
NOTE: That cheesemaking kit above has the thermometer, cheesecloth, cheese salt, citric acid, and rennet all in the kit. So it is very convenient for the first-time cheesemaker.
How to make mozzarella cheese with cheap milk at home
Pour the milk into a large pot. I usually use my dutch oven for this, but any large pot preferably with a heavy bottom will work.
Set the burner to medium-low and gently heat the milk until it reaches 88F to 90F (31 to 32C)
You will need to use a thermometer for this because the heat should be pretty precise.
Now add the citric acid with the 1/4 cup of water and mix until the citric acid is completely dissolved. Pour it into the warm milk and stir for a few seconds with a wooden spoon or slotted spoon to make sure the citric acid mixture incorporates completely.
Next, smash up that rennet tablet and then add the 2 Tbsp of water to that and again mix until completely dissolved. Pour that into the milk and stir for about 20 seconds.
NOTE: You can use powdered rennet or liquid rennet as well. Both will still need to be combined with water.
Cover with a lid and remove the pot from the heat. Let sit undisturbed for 1 to 2 hours. This will give plenty of time for the curd to form.
Cut, Heat, and Drain the Curd
After the curd has developed remove the lid and cut it into 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubes using a long knife.
Set the burner to medium-low again and gently heat the curd to 105F to 108F (40 to 42C). Rotate the pot a few times so the curd moves around a little bit. This will help it heat evenly. You can stir it a little bit but not much. We don’t want to break up the curd very much.
Once you get to that temp cook the curd for 15 minutes, and try to keep the temperature at a constant heat as best as you can. You will need to turn the burner down a bit as well. Again rotating the pot periodically to promote even heating.
Once the curd has been heated it is time to drain it. Use something like a slotted spoon and scoop out the curd and place it into a strainer/colander lined with cheesecloth.
NOTE: Make sure you have a large 13×9 inch or square pan under the strainer to catch the whey.
You can use a small strainer to scoop any smaller loose curds. You will be left with curd in your cheesecloth and whey in the pot. The higher quality of milk you use the better the curds will form. But again, you can make mozzarella cheese with cheap milk!
Place the pot of whey on the burner and set the heat to medium. Start heating the whey. The temp needs to reach 170 to 175F (76C to 79C).
Squeeze and Salt the Mozzarella cheese curd
While the whey is heating up squeeze out as much whey as possible from the curd. Just ball up the cheesecloth and squeeze gently. Open it up and move the curd around, and then close it back up and squeeze. Do this a few times until you are left with a solid ball.
Open the ball of curd up and spread it out a little bit. Then sprinkle on the cheese salt. Knead it together so the salt gets mixed into the curd. Then form it into a ball again.
NOTE: Sometimes no matter what you do, you just can’t get enough whey out of the curd and the ball won’t get solid, it will have almost a cottage cheese consistency. If this happens, don’t be alarmed. All is not lost. However before it can be heated up in the whey, you will need to use a microwave. Place the curd into a small bowl and put it in the microwave and heat it on high for about 20 seconds. Press the ball with a wooden spoon or spatula to release more whey and then pour the whey out. Repeat one more time if necessary so you are left with a more solid ball of curd. This happens quite a bit when using cheap milk.
Finish that homemade mozzarella cheese
Time to heat, melt, and stretch that curd to turn it into mozzarella cheese.
Once the whey has reached the proper temp immerse the curd ball into it. Let it sit in the hot whey for 15 to 20 seconds.
Then lift it out and try stretching it. If needed soak it back in the whey for 15 more seconds. Then pull it back out and stretch it. Repeat the process a few times. You only need about 5 to 6 stretches.
Then shape it back into a ball with your hands. A good method is by cupping and turning it. Easier to see in the video.
NOTE: Wear gloves! That whey is HOT. I use food-safe kitchen gloves.
Alright, your cheese is done. Woohoo!
Place the newly made ball of mozzarella into a bowl of cold water. Salt the water as well for more flavor. You can also place the ball in cold whey for storage.
Eat the cheese within the same day for the best flavor. But it can also be stored for a few days in the fridge. You can store it in the bowl with water or whey, or wrap the cheese ball with plastic wrap.
How well does fresh homemade mozzarella cheese melt?
People often ask me how well it melts. Fresh homemade mozzarella will indeed melt, but it melts a little differently than the common dry-aged mozzarella found in most supermarkets.
Break the cheese ball into small pieces and place it on your pizza. Bake at 450 to 500F (232 to 260C) for 8 to 12 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Serve the pizza.
Can I make mozzarella cheese with goat’s milk?
Yes!! You sure can make homemade mozzarella cheese with goat’s milk. Just follow the same exact steps outlined in the above recipe.
What can I do with all that leftover whey?
There are several things you can do with the leftover whey. You can make ricotta cheese with it. Although you won’t get a ton of ricotta with that amount of whey. Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup is all. Use the whey when making bread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, etc. You can also drink the whey or put it in smoothies. Some gardeners further dilute the whey and use it to water their plants.
How long does fresh mozzarella last?
If stored in the fridge it will last a few days. It tastes best when eaten fresh or within a few hours of making it. However, it still tastes yummy for the next few days. Keep it in the water or whey, or wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap. Do not store it at room temperature.
Here are other recipes you may like:
How to Make Mozzarella Cheese with Cheap Milk
- Large pot like a Dutch oven
- Slotted Spoon
- Pan for under the strainer
- Food Grade Gloves
- Half gallon of pasteurized or raw milk homogenized works with mixed results (NOT ultra-pasteurized) (1.89L)
- 3/4 tsp of citric acid 4g
- 1/4 Rennet tablet
- 1/2 tsp of cheese salt 2g
- 1/4 cup water 60ml
- 2 Tbsp water 15ml
- Heat milk in large pot with medium-low heat until it reaches 88F to 90F (31 to 32C)
- Combine citric acid and 1/4 cup of water and mix until dissolved. Pour it into the milk and stir for about 15 seconds.
- Smash the rennet tablet and combine it with 2 Tbsp of water and mix until dissolved. Pour that into the milk and stir for about 20 seconds until well incorporated.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let sit undisturbed for 1 to 2 hours.
- Remove the cover and cut the curd into 1/2 to 1-inch squares with a long knife.
- Place the pot back on the burner at medium-low heat and heat the whey and curd to 105F to 108F (40 to 42C). Once the temp is reached let it cook for 15 minutes. Rotate the pot occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- Scoop the curd into a strainer lined with cheesecloth, and a large pan underneath the strainer to catch the draining whey.
- Place the pot of whey back on the burner and set the heat to medium. Heat the whey until it reaches 170F to 175F (76 to 79C)
- While the whey is heating, press firmly on the ball of curd in the cheesecloth to allow more whey to be released from the curd. Repeat a few times until you are left with a firm fairly dry ball of cheese.
- Open the curd ball up and then sprinkle the cheese salt on it evenly. Knead the cheese curd until the salt is incorporated. Form it back into a ball.
- Immerse the curd ball into the hot whey for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove it and try stretching it. Repeat these steps a few times. You need to stretch the curd 5 to 6 times. Then form it into a nice cheese ball. The cheese is done!
- Place in a bowl of cold salted water. Store it in the water or store it in cold whey. Slice and serve. Use it for a Caprese salad or for homemade pizza. Or just eat it as is. Enjoy!
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I’m really looking forward to trying this, thanks! I would appreciate clarification on how much of the liquid renant to use as appose to the tablets.
Hi Alicia, thank you! It should say on the liquid rennet container how much to use with the quantity of milk. But I believe it is something like 1/4 tsp of liquid rennet per gallon of milk. So if you are doing a half gallon you would use between 1/8th tsp and 1/4 tsp. It is okay to use a little extra. And you will still mix the liquid rennet in with water first. about 1/2 cup of water with 1/4 tsp or tablet for a gallon of milk. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions along the way. 🙂
This is an awesome tutorial! I had no idea where to start but this was sooo easy to follow!
Thanks so much, glad you liked this mozzarella cheese tutorial.
We had a great time making your recipe. It was tasty and delicious, thanks!
You are welcome! Glad you had a great time making this homemade mozzarella recipe.
There is nothing better than homemade, fresh mozzarella!! It tastes so good!! I use it on so many recipes!
Agreed!! Homemade fresh mozzarella is so good!