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Aug 25, 2014 07:44 AM

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

Hi Everybody,

I'm getting demotivated from making mozz. I used 1 gallon non homogenized milk from whole foods, 1/4 tab of rennet, 1 1/2 teaspoon of citic acid bought from I slowly heated the milk to 90. At around 50 degree Fahrenheit, I added the Citric acid. After the temp hit 90, I removed it from the stove, added the rennet and mixed it for no more than 30 seconds. I let it sit for 15-20 minutes, I cut the curds and noticed they were softer than what I've seen in the pictures so I mixed it very slowly while heating to 105. Then I removed it from the stove and stirred it very softly for 2-3 mintues. I then drained the curds in the strainer after taking out of the pot. I put the curds on high for 1 minute in the microwave and I was able to take out more whey. After draining the whey, I put the curds in the microwave for another 30 seconds, and bam, the cheese started to feel like cottage cheese, the whey that came out was milky white. I think that is ok. I didn't know what to do so I microwaved it for 30 more seconds and that didn't help....please help me, I really want to learn how to do this but apparently looking at youtube videos, recipes, I still can't do it. Also, it doesn't help that there are different methods. I believe my method for the most part is the right way to do it. Please advise.

- Wes :(

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  1. Try it with another brand of milk. I took the course with Ricki at her location, years ago, and I do remember her saying different brands of commercial milk act differently. Make sure the milk is not Ultra-Pasteurized, but I think I remember that the best results I had was not with the organic milk but with a supermarket brand (Garelick, here in Boston, IIRC).

    9 Replies
    1. re: Chris VR

      Hi Chris,

      The milk I had used was pasteurized, non homogenize. I attached the picture of the milk that I used twice. I also, used whole foods brand milk, pasteurized, homogenize, and I got the same issue. I live in Miami, I will try to see if those brand milk are sold here. If anybody else has any input, please let me know.

      1. re: Wesleyg

        It sounds like you used the right type of milk. It sounds crazy but try it with the most mundane, off the shelf milk you can get, something like Publix brand, if it's not ultrapasteurized. Sorry I can't offer any specific feedback on your technique, it's been a long while since I've done it. I do remember a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves made kneading the curd when it was a hot out of the microwave much less painful.

        1. re: Chris VR


          Is it possible that I microwaved it too long where the curds dried up too much? I only microwaved it at first 1 minute as instructed in several videos then about 45 seconds after I drained the extra whey. Should I have left the "cottage cheese(curds)" clumped up together for several hours hoping they form into a ball? Thanks for the glove advice.

          1. re: Wesleyg

            Could be, and different microwaves have different power levels, so maybe try doing it either on a lower power, or not as long.

      2. re: Chris VR

        btw Chris, thanks for responding. this is my first time posting something on the net for feedback. Again, thanks

        1. re: Wesleyg

          Happy to try to help! This is the method I've used There are some differences from your recipe (the citric acid and rennet is diluted in water, for example). You also don't mention kneading yours, but if it was the consistency of cottage cheese, that's probably why.

          1. re: Chris VR

            lol, I did use that site as a guidance : and

            #12 is when my curds seemed to be a bit dry and didn't clump up. As you can see, my description I originally posted, my procedure is almost exactly the same as the pics.
            The person in the youtube video, didn't mention about heating the curds to 105 so I think that is where I believed I messed up the first time. So, last night, I did increase the curds to 105, still same issue. I know the milk I'm using must be good because the guy from the youtube vid is using the same one. I think I just have to try it again using the same milk. Do you have to heat up the curds to 105 after the curds formed? I'm not sure if the guy in the youtube vid, left out that technique or he actually made the cheese without doing so. I need to take a class.

            1. re: Wesleyg

              I'm out of my depth on this, like I said it's been years (and 2 kids) since I've done it, so my memory really is fuzzy. I got a lot out of the class I took... if you have the opportunity to take one, I'd recommend it. I really got into cheesemaking, to the point where I was doing hard cheese as well, but the kids effectively killed my hobbies for years :)

              1. re: Chris VR

                Thanks Chris, no problem. I understand the fuzzy part but thank you very much. I'm going keep on a look out for a class if I fail again. I'll attempt it 2 more times. One with the same milk and another with a different brand milk.

      3. microwave will destroy enzymes/microbes and ruin the texture and flavor of the cheese. please dont use it

        1 Reply
        1. re: vonshu

          I've made fine mozzarella with this microwave method. It's not gourmet or top of the line in any way, but a fun thing to do. It's neat to serve mozzarella you made yourself, and the ease of this technique is great for getting people interested in more traditional methods.

        2. I agree here that cheaper milk makes more successful mozzarella in the home kitchen.

          Fancier milk is often shipped longer distances and is therefore ultra-pasteurized, which kills the little buggies that will help to "grow" cheese.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sandylc

            thank you, I will try other type of milks. I tried the exact milk that this person in the youtube video used and I didn't get the consistency as he did. The milk I used seems to be right. I attached the picture.

          2. If you have too-soft curds, it's your milk. I used what I thought was good quality milk-- Organic, non ultra-pasteurized from Trader Joe's. I failed repeatedly-- the curds disintegrated into molecules and were impossible to strain out of the whey.

            My greatest success came from using raw, unpasteurized milk from Organic Pastures. However, that milk is very expensive and impractical to use regularly. (Plus, raw milk is illegal to buy in most of the country, however Organic Pastures will ship some to you labelled as "pet food/not for human consumption" to circumvent the law.

            If raw milk is unavailable to you, Ricki recommends using high quality reconstituted powdered milk. I did that method once with carnation brand milk, and lo and behold I got large, structurally sound curds. Apparently powdered milk is treated in a gentler way that does not denature the proteins.

            Mr Taster

            5 Replies
            1. re: Mr Taster

              I've used expensive milk (Kalona Supernatural), I've used store-brand milk. No discernible difference in the outcome and never had a problem. Not sure what the OP is experiencing. Then again, I only use double-strength liquid rennet.

              1. re: ferret

                Kalona is not ultra-pasteurized; that's why it works.

                It is a generality that more expensive milks are ultra-pasteurized.

                1. re: sandylc

                  Trader Joe's milk is not ultra-pasteurized either, and it falls apart.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    thanks for the advise. The milk I used is pasteurized, non-homogenized. I used a brand that a the person in the youtube video used in the link below, . I just don't understand why when I heat the milk the second time in the microwave for 45 seconds, the curds become like a cottage cheese texture. Is that suppose to happen? It didn't come out smooth and clumped together like I've seen in several videos and recipes. Should I double up the rennet(1/2 a tab). Not sure if that does a difference. I've seen that some recipes only require about 5 minutes before the curds actually get the consistency they want while others say 20 minutes. Why the difference?

                    1. re: Wesleyg

                      When you microwave the curds, all that happens is that (in addition to squeezing out a bit more whey) the curds melt together a bit (it is cheese, after all).

                      You knead and squeeze the curds until they melt and coalesce into what you'd expect mozzarella cheese to look like.

                      Mr Taster

            2. Here is the recipe that I've had success with in the past: