Did you know you can make homemade mozzarella?

Photo from TheKitchn.com

I have a giant basil plant in my yard that grows rampant and demands I eat it at every meal. This means that the caprese combination of mozzarella/basil/tomato/balsamic is a staple. But I always buy my mozzarella at the store. But I had no idea that it was one of the easiest cheeses to make yourself and only takes about 20 minutes. I pretty much had never considered making my own cheese before this.

You do need to get your hands on some powdered citric acid and rennet (vegetarian or non-veg), but otherwise it's like any other recipe. Plus you get to do some kneading and actually work with curds and whey.

All of the steps are available at TheKitchn.com with lots of pictures to make it easy. And if you end up trying this out, let us know!

  1. I'm dying to do that, but my husband thinks it'll end up making the apartment smell like cheese… I'd love to hear from anyone who's tried it if it makes your house stink!

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    • I made feta cheese once, in an apartment with no ventilation at all, other than a small window by the stove. It did not make my apartment smell like cheese, just.. milk and the usual awful smell of my kitchen (it was a gross apartment). I think because of the lack of aging, it doesn't get very smelly. Mozzarella isn't a very fragrant cheese to begin with.

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  2. We tried this a couple of times, but had some difficulty, it was still delicious, but the texture was off. Maybe these directions will yield better results!

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  3. What an awesome idea! I have to put this on my fall projects list..

    I made feta cheese once, but oversalted it to the point that no one would eat it (and I have a husband who sometimes eats salt straight).

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  4. I make ricotta at home and it is super easy and you don't even need rennet, use lemon juice instead. Dying to try the mozzarella as my basil is going nuts but my tomatoes are all still green.

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  5. I've made it a few times… it doesn't smell at all, and is pretty easy (esp. after you've done it once). I would say the most important things are probably to make sure your thermometer is adjusted properly, to make sure you have pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized milk (which is the standard for most milks I believe), and to not over-knead the cheese, but it will probably be a bit or trial and error for each individual to find just the right flavor and texture for how you like it.

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  6. I want to try this! I read about making 'farmhouse cheese' once, but I would love to try the mozzarella.

    I also would love the details on how you grow basil so successfully. Specifically where you got the plant or seeds, the temp range, watering and sun amounts? I grew it once on a balcony 7 years or so ago in full sun, but ever since, no matter where I try to grow it, it either wilts and rots or burns up.

    Sorry it's off topic but I'm jealous of your green thumb!

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    • i don't have a green thumb, but i just grew basil for the first time successfully this year from seeds. i got the seeds from burpee (i think) and started a bunch of little ones inside in a little plastic greenhouse, and then once they were of a viable size i moved them outdoors. i live in the south and have them in an area where they get a good bit of sun (not quite full all-day sun, it's west facing) and a LOT of humidity, and they've gone crazy. before that i had tried growing them indoors, but it seems like the air is too dry. i water them every few days or if they start to look sad.

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  7. Omg yes! I am totally going to try making this as a gift for my sister's birthday.

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  8. Oooo, I can't wait to try! I just made yogurt cheese for the first time. It's so so easy. Drain it in cheesecloth over a bowl for 12-24 hours. That's it! I now have whey to ferment my homemade mayonnaise and the cheese which is cream cheese-like. I mixed in dill and chives and we're going to have it on toast for breakfast tomorrow. Yum! And THANK YOU for the Basil Soup recipe! I have six giant basil plants and have started to run out of ideas.

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  9. The biggest trick to Basil I know is pruning it, always pinch it back to the next place where there are 2 leaves sprouting, those will grow into 2 more stems…look up pruning basil it makes a huge difference,. I have basil growing in a wide variety of pots, including a 9 inch deep rubber maid box and a dollar store garbage can both with holes on the bottom as well as 2 deep planters and another 15 inch deep garbage can with some very small holes in the bottom. I use good potting soil but they will do ok in most dirt, they live full sunshine and I water them every other day unless it is over 100* then I water daily. Once a month I mix up a plant food in their water and soak them good. I prune them 2 to 3 times a week preferably in the evening if it is going to be roasting hot so the stems don't bake.
    I make frozen pesto or just crush the basil and freeze in little muffin time with olive oil…or there is basil syrup for tea and best of all BASIL LEMONADE!

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  10. I've made it, and although delicious, it did not keep well. After the first day, it became very slimy and the consistency changed even though I stored it in water as recommended. I would make it a lot more often if I had access to a Bufala, as mozzarella di bufala is much better than cow's milk mozz!

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    • I've never actually stored it in water. I just put it in a tupperware. But then again, I usually make it for a specific recipe like lasagna or pizza so it doesn't last long.

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  11. Years ago, Cooking Light gave instructions on how to make ricotta and then had a series of recipes you could make with it.

    The article's up on their website: http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/essential-ingredients/ricotta-the-real-deal-00400000001288/

    I've made it several times. Once I even made it in my classroom, because we had a free milk day, and a bunch of my kids didn't want their milk, so I chucked it into the staffroom fridge, and we made cheese with it the next day.

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  12. I make this all the time and love it. It's so easy. I use goat milk (I have dairy goats) instead of cow milk but it works just as well.

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