Cheese has this incredible, therapeutic, magical ability to make life better and to make everything alright – I know this. You know this. Vegans know this, which is why they replicate it with those #hip cheese substitutes. Babies probably know this, and they don’t even have object permanence. Why else do we always reach for and obsess over those godly, cheesy comfort foods (mac-n-cheese, pizza, mozzarella sticks and grilled cheese sandwiches) when we’re dying on the inside while stressed over finals? Consider, for instance, the following tweet:

In the previous chapter of our cheese-making adventures, Jackie and I made homemade ricotta, which was probably one of the most Adult™ things I’ve ever done besides filing my own taxes, and it was at least 5,000 times more fun (and delicious). In this installment, we decided to tackle a cheese that was a little more difficult, but just as yummy–homemade fresh mozzarella!

Recipe inspired by the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.

Easy Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:2 hrs
  • Total Time:2 hrs 10 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 1 gallon Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp Citric Acid
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Rennet
  • Salt to taste
Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 1

    Dissolve the citric acid into the cold water and pour solution into a large pot. Add the milk, stir and heat the mixture to 90° F.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 2

    Curds should begin to form. Once it reaches 90° F, remove the pot from the heat. Mix in the liquid rennet and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 3

    At this point, the curds should be firmer. Use a knife and cut the curds into 1" by 1" squares.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 4

    Put the pot back on the burner and heat to 105° F.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 5

    Remove from heat and GENTLY scoop out the curds into either a colander or some cheese cloth for maximum drainage. Squeeze or press out the whey. You can salt the cheese, as desired, now.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 6

    Once you drain out as much whey as possible, transfer the curds into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, knead the curds and remove the whey that is released. Be careful–the curds are very hot. Use a spoon if your fingers are heat sensitive.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 7

    Now, on a clean surface, begin kneading and stretching the cheese. This can take anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 8

    Knead it into your desired shape. We decided to go with a sphere.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 9

    Enjoy your homemade fresh mozzarella! We chose a classic, refreshing Caprese salad. But you could top off your pizza with it, or use it in your favorite pasta dish.

    Jacqueline Yee

All in all, this was definitely more challenging than the previous recipe we tried, homemade ricotta, but no less rewarding. Stretching the cheese was an ethereal, otherworldly experience. I never thought I would experience something so beautiful as that decadent cheese pull.

Jacqueline Yee

It went more smoothly this time with the addition of our newly adopted child: a talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing instant-read cooking thermometer that has made our cheese-making adventure more precise with less work trying to guess what temperature the milk is.

We used liquid rennet in order to achieve a more dense cheese texture, unlike the soft ricotta. Rennet is used to thicken and coagulate the cheese curds and is made of the enzyme chymosin. Traditionally, it is derived from the stomach lining of cows or goats, but it can also come from plants such as artichokes or nettles. And do not fear, it can easily be purchased at your local food co-op or on Amazon

The homemade fresh mozzarella was amazing in a bright, colorful Caprese salad made with locally grown heirloom tomatoes–one of the many perks of going to a school in a farm town! This experiment fostered an even deeper love of cheese and the people who make it, within my finals-battered heart. I owe so much of my cheese-dedicated life to them.

Don't forget to stay tuned for our next cheesy adventure, paneer cheese!