How great is fresh mozzarella? Soft, creamy, a tinge of saltiness. Mmmm. Couldn’t be better. Unless it’s homemade! Homemade! I want to shout it! Kneaded by hand, fresh whole milk mozzarella!

I’m so excited. If you’ve read the About Me section you’ll know that one of my dreams was — and still is — to own a few goats or sheep, maybe a Jersey cow, and be a farmstead cheesemaker. Making your own cheese is a labor of love. It’s not something you do on a whim, it takes years of planning. It can’t be thrown together in a few minutes, while simultaneously folding laundry, making a phone call, and, for instance, working on a Masters thesis and defense It’s a 24/7/365-type deal.

But it’s easier than you think.

All it takes is four ingredients: milk, rennet, an acid — in this case, citric acid — and salt. [I’ll talk about where to get these things later on in the post.]

Ready, set

Step 1: Heat the milk with citric acid.

Step 2: Remove from heat, add rennet and stir. Cover and let sit.

Step 3: Cut curds into a checkerboard pattern, reheat and stir. Remove from heat and continue stirring.

Step 4: Scoop curds into a bowl and microwave. Drain off any whey and work the cheese with a spoon.

Step 5: Microwave two more times and repeat the kneading; use your hands when cool enough. Add salt to finish.

Step 6: At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable, enough to stretch like taffy. Form into a ball and drop into ice water to cool, and refrigerate.

Step 7: Enjoy. [Remember to let cheese come to room temperature before diving in. That’s when it has the best flavor!] Sprinkle with sea salt and eat as is; slice thickly for a prosciutto, fig jam and mozzarella sandwich on ciabatta; or enjoy as part of an antipasti lunch like we did this afternoon. Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, thick slices of tomato and basil leaves, cracked green olives, tart cherries and crisp parchment bread

The recipe from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company can be found here Complete with lots of helpful photos and much more detailed directions. The citric acid was purchased in the bulk section of a natural foods store here in town. The rennet was a little more tricky, but we finally found at a store in Cedarburg, WI called The Cheesemaker He ships if you can’t find any near you.

We’re extremely proud of what we made, and hope you give cheesemaking a try too!