Mozzarella, Italian Mozzarella

If you are new to cheese making, please read Beginning Cheese Making carefully. Mozzarella is a challenging cheese and should not be attempted as your first cheese. I do not yet consider that I have perfected my mozzarella to approach that which I have had in Italy, but the following recipe is makes a fine tasting, tender, succulent approximation. Of course, they make theirs with water buffalo milk, which HAS to make a difference.

The critical step is to get curds acid enough to “spin.” I have had problems getting it to spin in the past, mostly (I believe) because the curd had not acidified enough. This recipe makes delicious mozzarella when proper spin is achieved. When it hasn’t spun, the cheese is still good, but not what I was hoping for… I am eager to hear any improvements which you may offer to improve the process and/or product.


  • 1 gallon fresh milk
    I use goats’ milk.  The classic Italian calls for water buffalo milk (!), but cow’s will do.
  • 3 Tbl fresh yogurt starter (Dannon plain)
  • 3 Tbl fresh cultured buttermilk
  • 1 tablet Junket rennet
  • Salt


  • Stainless steel pot with cover (about 1.5 gallon capacity)
    Sterilized by boiling a small amount of water until steam rushes out from under the lid
  • Dependable thermometer, range 0-100°C (32 – 212°F)
  • Whisk
  • Long bladed knife for cutting curd
  • Table knife for finishing the cutting of the curd
  • Colander
  • Shallow glass baking pan
  • Slotted spoon



Ideally, when freshest mozzarella is cut, the thin “onion-like” layers of stretched should be visible, surface smooth and tight and a texture between rubbery and soft. The “onion” layers disappear after less than a day after making.

I believe that the problems I have had making mozzarella are primarily due to insufficient acidity in the curd. The result is a tough, rubbery mozzarella.

You may know that the classic and simple Neapolitan service of this delicious cheese is to slice it, and serve on slices of fully vine-ripened tomato slices, drizzled with olive oil and then balsamic vinegar, and finally sprinkled with fresh basil, salt and freshly ground pepper.

For further information, see:

Kitchen Cheesemaking by Lue Dean Flake, Jr, Stackpole Books, (1976), p. 72.

“Mozzarella,” in La Cucina Italiana, Vol 2, p. 36 (August 1997)


Beginning Cheese Making

Setting up your Microbiology Lab Notebook

Setting up your Microbiology Lab Notebook

Use a graph-lined 10.25 x 7.875 inch composition notebook.
Use a Precise V5 permanent black pen for all primary entries (You may add color to the line drawing later.)
Mount the provided name plate on the front of the book as shown.
Mount the two lab schedules (first half and second half of the course) on the inside cover and the facing page (page i).
The second half schedule will be distributed half way through the quarter.


Mount the First Half Handout Table of Contents on page ii. Fill in the page numbers in your notebook where the protocols are to be found as you mount them in the notebook.
Reserve page iii for the Second Half Handout Table of Contents, to be handed out half way through the quarter.


Type up and mount your table of contents for the contents of your notebook on pages iv and v.
When you hand in your notebook the second time, mount the table of contents for the second half of your notebook on pages v and vi.


Mount the Index to Prepared Micro Slides on page 1.
Leave the “Page in your notebook” column uncovered so that you can enter the page number of the respective illustrations.

Mount Micro Laboratory Notebook Procedures on page 2 of your notebook.


Before handing in your notebook for grading, type up 3-5 comments or suggestions on a single page as specified in the Lab Notebook Procedures. Mount it as shown.


Type up any new wordstems given which were not in the cumulative list of wordstems with the date given.
Mount it on the last page of your notebook and indicate the date you mounted the typed list.


On the inside cover of your notebook, mount in chronological order all gradeslips which have been given you with returned graded material. (One point per slip mounted)

Basic Cheese Making, Five Gallons

How to Make Cheese at Home

This recipe for a basic hard cheese works for any kind of milk. I primarily use my own fresh goats’ milk, but have made it quite successfully with cow’s milk purchased from the grocery as well as raw cow’s milk from a local farmer. I always use rennet tablets because of their dependability and availability from many supermarkets. I usually make 5 gallons of milk into cheese at a time in a 5 gallon Volrath stainless steel pot. Its thick aluminum bottom pad prevents scorching.

Five gallons of milk produces a 5-6 pound wheel of cheese .

Try several other simpler cheese related projects before you try making a hard cheese. I have written a page on Beginning Cheese Making for this purpose. It might also be wise to master the process for one gallon of milk before making cheese from 5 gallons.

The following images will show the critical steps in practically any cheese making endeavor.

Ingredients: To Turn Five Gallons of Milk into Six Pounds of Cheese

Five gallons fresh milk (Be sure that it has no off flavors due to bacteria)

1 cup (250 mL) live cultured yogurt (I prefer Dannon Plain (minimal additives). Get the freshest available from the store.)

1/4 cup salt

Alternatively, you may use 3 tablespoons (45 mL) active cultured buttermilk as starter.

1 tablet rennet “Junket Rennet Tablets” come in a package of 8 tablets (6.5 g) , by Redco Foods, Inc., P.O. Box 879, Windsor, CT 06095 (formerly the Salada Foods Division). Here is what the back of the package looks like.


They can often be found in your supermarket under the category of “puddings.” If they are not there, ask the manager if he would please order them. You may find some cheese makers on the web who prefer liquid rennet,and disparage the use of rennet tablets. I prefer using materials which are readily available locally. I have not had problems making cheese associated with Junket tablets. Here is a whole page devoted to rennet …

Thermometer, reading -10 to 110°C (0 to 225°F) (I prefer centigrade, but include Fahrenheit numbers as well)
Wooden mixing spoon or whisk
Stainless steel pot (with a heavy thick bottom is best) or enameled pot, 5 gallons, with lid, sterilized.
8″ strainer (You may use a colander, though the whey does not flow through as fast as a strainer.)
Pressing frame (6″ x 9″ piece of PVC pipe or tin can, with ends removed)
A ‘follower’: circular block of wood, 5.5 inches diameter
5 gallon canner
Large white dinner plate
White dish cloth (non-terry), very clean
Rubber band cut from an inner tube
Two chop sticks
Quart mason jar

Avoid aluminum pots, the acid will dissolve them. Sterilize the pot just before use by placing ½ inch of water in the bottom, covering, and bring it to a rolling boil, continue heating for five minutes after steam shoots out from under the lid. Pour out the water, replace sterile lid, keep sterilized pot covered until you are ready to add the milk.) 

Home Made Cheese Pressing Frame



Assembly of a Home Made Cheese Press

How to Wax Cheese