There is really nothing better than homemade mozzarella.
Homemade GOAT’S MILK Mozzarella, that is.
We’ve been chuggin’ the goat milk for about 6 years now. 6 years of bliss. I’m telling you, if you haven’t tried fresh goat’s milk, well then my dearie, you’re missing out. If you come to my house, I’ll pretty much force you to try it. I can’t help it. Visit my farm and I’m probably going to talk your ear off about how amazing goat’s milk is and how it tastes almost identical to cow’s milk. I’ve got into some serious debates about it. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it, yo’.
After you’ve conquered the raising, breeding, & freshly squeezing of goats, the next level is, of course, to make cheese with your bounty. (Read my guide on how to raise & milk goats here.) Cheese is a whole ‘nother level when it comes to making things homemade. It’s not horribly difficult, but it definitely is an art, and just like anything else, your cheese-making skills get better with practice!
There are a lot of homemade mozzarella recipes out there. Some will use cultures, some will use lipase. In my experience, the best mozzarella comes out tasting fantastic when you keep it simple. I use citric acid to raise the acidity of the milk and rennet to separate the curds from the whey. You, in theory, could use lemon juice or some other acidic ingredient to replace the citric acid, but an important part of cheese making — especially goat cheese making — is to get the correct acidity. Too little acidity will make your cheese not stretch in the final steps, and too much acidity turns the curds into a horrible lump of a mess.
Some tips to remember about working with Goat’s Milk:
- Goat’s milk has smaller globules overall, (this is why it’s so much easier to digest) and so when working with goat’s milk, you have to remember to stir slower & be gentler. Stirring too fast and over working your cheese will result in a tougher end product.
- The acidity of goat’s milk can be tricky. Milk at the beginning of a goat’s freshening (right after they have babies) has a higher amount of acidity, then, over the course of the year, it decreases. Keep this in mind when adding citric acid.
A word about those 30 minute mozzarella recipes:
Let me give you a quick translation. 30 minute mozzarella recipe = microwave recipe. Please, please, don’t use this method. I mean, if you’re going to all the trouble to make your own cheese, especially goat’s milk cheese, why ruin it by nuking it with radiation?
I can get my recipe down to 45 minutes if I have all my supplies ready and I work fast, but a 30 minute mozzarella made the real way just ain’t possible. Stick with the real version. It’s better. Schedule out an hour of your day, turn on an old Doris Day or Henry Fonda movie, and get to it!
Homemade Goat’s Milk Mozzarella Recipe
There are three parts to making mozzarella. The first part involves raising the acidity and temperature. The second part involves “setting” the milk with rennet. The third part involves stretching the curds kind of like taffy and forming it into a mozzarella ball of goodness.
Gathering Your Supplies:
- 2-3 gallon pot
- large colander
- cheese ladle
- large-sized bowl
- medium-sized bowl
- spoon or spatula to stir
- long knife
- rubber gloves
- some measuring cups & spoons
- cheese salt (cheese salt is salt that is free of additives and doesn’t contain iodine. Iodine will ruin your cheese) – click here to buy
- citric acid (non-gmo) – click here to buy
- rennet (not junket rennet) – click here to buy
Before you Begin:
Sterilizing your equipment isn’t completely necessary with mozzarella because it’s not an aged cheese. Still, I like to do it because I like to work in a clean environment and also it gets the pot warm which makes your cheese making process go faster!
To sterilize, simply boil about 2 quarts of water in the pot, and once it comes to a boil, dip all your utensils in. I even sterilize my gloves and turn my bowls over on top to be sterilized by the steam.
Making Goat’s Milk Mozzarella – Part 1:
In the first part of making mozzarella, you need to first dump out the hot water, then add your cold milk to the warm pot. I like to make mozzarella in 2 gallon batches. Once the temperature reaches 55 degrees, you’ll add 3 tsp. of citric acid. Be sure to level off the citric acid a knife when measuring. You want a precise amount of citric acid. Sprinkle this in slowly while stirring.
After the citric acid is well incorporated, move the pot to the stove and crank up the temperature to MED-HIGH heat. Stir slowly but continuously until the temperature reaches 80 degrees. (This is a GREAT job for kids!) Once you hit 80 degrees, reduce the heat to MEDIUM and let it continue to rise until you hit 90 degrees.
There are two things I want you to remember in this stage:
- Stir gently & slowly. This is a task I give to my kids while I clean up the kitchen. It can take about 15 minutes to get to 80 degrees, so just let them stand there and stir slowly.
- Even when the milk hits 90, remember, it will still be cold to you. Body temperature is around 98.6, so just keep that in mind that this beginning process is all cold to the touch.
Making Mozzarella – Part 2:
In the second part of making mozzarella, you are ready to add the rennet, which will separate the curds from the whey. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the stove. Take a minute to first stop stirring and try to get the milk to stop swirling and to become still. Mix 1/2 tsp. of rennet into 1/2 cup of cool, filtered water. Pour into the milk and stir VERY slowly with an UP & DOWN stirring motion for only 15 seconds, then stop. I can’t stress enough how important this is. The rennet will set up the milk into a solid in about 2 minutes, and if the milk is swirling, it won’t set correctly! So, when you stir, be sure to stir gently up and down for only about 15 seconds, then stop that motion pronto.
Cover the pot with a lid and set a timer for 5 minutes. Don’t touch the milk at all, just let the rennet do its job. After 5 minutes the milk should be “set”. It should have a consistency of a thick yogurt or pudding. Now it’s time to cut the cheese. Take that long knife and slice it into cubes. You can even cut it on an angle as well to get it to cut underneath. After the curds are cut, now it’s time to raise the temperature to 100 degrees while stirring the curds very slowly.
This heating of the curds helps them to toughen up a bit and get ready for the last step, the stretching process. It doesn’t take long to get the temperature to 100, just turn it on to MEDIUM and stir slowly again until it rises. (Again, this is a great job for kids!)
Once the temperature reaches 100 degrees, use your cheese ladle and scoop out all the curds into your colander which should be sitting on top of a bowl. Resist the urge to squeeze the curds or squish more whey out. Just let some whey drip from it naturally, don’t force anything.
Making Mozzarella – Part 3:
Now comes the stretchy part! This is the part that those 30 minute mozzarella makers use the microwave, but you’re not going to do such things:) Stretching the mozzarella is easy and fun! You know that whey that’s leftover in the pot? You’re going to add 1/2 c. of salt to it and heat that sucker up to 175 degrees. As it’s heating, you can get a medium-sized bowl of ice water ready to cool your mozzarella ball after you’re done stretching it.
Once the pot of water reaches 175 degrees, divide the mozzarella that’s sitting in your collander in half, throw those gloves on and dip the of mozzarella in the hot whey with your cheese ladle. I like to swirl it around, but it’s not necessary. Your goal here is to get the that cheese slab of yours hot and melty!
Now, the tricky part here is to make sure all of the mozzarella gets hot enough evenly! Too often, the outside of it gets melted before they inside. You can cut it into smaller pieces and stir while they heat evenly, or you can just keep dipping it and testing it with your (gloved) fingers to make sure it’s soft enough inside. I like to lift it up and flip it over a couple times as it gets softer and softer. Your goal is to get it soft enough that you can squeeze all the way through without resistance.
The stretching part is just how you’d imagine. You are stretching and folding, much like taffy is made. As you stretch and pull and fold over, you’ll notice how shiny it gets as the curds change. Once your mozzarella becomes shiny, you can salt it with 1 tsp. of salt, fold a few times, then form into a ball. If your mozzarella has cooled in the end, you can dip it in the hot whey again to get a nice smooth ball.
- It should be so hot that it’s almost too hot to touch, even with gloves.
- It should stretch easily, almost falling out of your hands.
- If you have to pull and tug to get it to stretch, it ISN’T HOT ENOUGH, so keep dipping in the hot whey.
After you’ve formed a ball, cool it down in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes.
Whew, you made your first batch of mozzarella! How do you feel? After your mozzarella has cooled for about 30 minutes, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 1 week, or you can freeze if for up to 6 months.
Homemade Goat's Milk Mozzarella
- Sterilize your pot & equipment.
- Pour 2 gallons of cold milk into the warm pot.
- Once the temperature reaches 55 degrees, add citric acid by sprinkling an stirring slowly.
- Put the pot on the stove and turn to MEDIUM-HIGH heat. While stirring contantly, bring the milk to 80 degrees.
- Once it reaches 80 degrees, reduce the head to MEDIUM heat. While stirring contantly, bring the milk to 90 degrees.
- Once it reaches 90 degrees, stop the stirring, turn off the heat, and add 1/2 tsp. of rennet diluted in 1/2 c. of cool water.
- Stir for only 15 seconds in an up & down motion, then stop the stirring.
- Cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, take a long knife an cut the cheese top to bottom and side to side to create cubes.
- Turn the heat to MEDIUM, an while stirring slowly & gently, bring the temperature to 100 degrees.
- Remove the cheese and place into a colander.
- While the cheese is draining, add 1/2 c. salt to the whey and bring to 175 degrees.
- Divide the cheese in half and dip into the whey with a cheese ladle.
- Heat the cheese until it is soft and you can press it with your fingers with no resistance.
- Once the cheese is hot and soft, stretch it with your (gloved) hands, and fold it over itself, about 10 times.
- As it gets shiny, salt with 1 tsp. of salt and continue stretching.
- Form into a ball and cool it in ice water for 30 minutes.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 6 months.