Making cheese at home is interesting and fun.
- 2 level tsp. citric acid
- 1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
- 1⁄8–1⁄4 tsp. lipase powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes, for a stronger flavor (optional)
- 1⁄4 tsp. liquid rennet (or 1/4 rennet tablet)
- Add the citric acid to the milk and mix thoroughly. (If using lipase, add it now.)
- Heat the milk to 88°. (The milk will start to curdle.)
- Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion and continue heating until the temperature reaches 105°. Turn off the heat and let the curd set until you get a clean break. This will take only a few minutes.
- The curds should look like thick yogurt. If the whey is still milky white, wait a few more minutes.
- Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2-quart microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey.
- You may want to put on heavy rubber gloves at this point; the cheese has to be almost too hot to touch before it will stretch. Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute [or see non-microwave variation below]. More whey will precipitate from the curd. Again, drain off all excess whey. Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands, forming it into a ball until it is cool enough to touch.
- Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each. After each heating, work the cheese into a ball until it is cool enough to touch. Drain all excess whey each time.
- Knead quickly like bread dough until it is smooth. Sprinkle on the salt, if desired, while you are kneading and stretching. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it is done. If it breaks, the curds need to be reheated.
- When the cheese is smooth and shiny, it is ready to eat. Although this mozzarella is best eaten right away, if you must wait, cover it and store in the refrigerator.