Fresh mozzarella is the perfect gateway cheese into the world of cheese making.
1 gallon whole milk, not ultra high pasteurized (UHT)
1/2 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon vegetable rennet
2 teaspoons kosher salt
In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup cold water and citric acid. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and rennet.
In a large, non-reactive pot, combine the citric acid mixture and milk, then stir well. Place it on the stove on medium-low heat, and let the mixture warm up to 90 degrees, while gently stirring.
Remove from heat, and slowly stir in the rennet mixture for a few seconds. Cover with a lid, walk away from the pot, and wait for 10 minutes.
Check to see if the curd resembles a soft custard or silken tofu. If not, allow the mixture to sit covered for a few more minutes. Use a long knife or long offset spatula to cut through the curd to create large chunks.
Heat the pot again on medium, while gently stirring, until the temperature reaches 105 degrees Use a mesh strainer to remove the curds from the whey, and place in a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave for 1 minute, knead the curd 2 times, and drain excess whey. Microwave for 35 seconds and repeat the process 2 more times, or until the curds reach 135 degrees. Be sure to get rid of any whey each time.
Sprinkle with salt, stretch, fold, and knead the cheese several times, until it appears more smooth and glossy. Fold into a ball.
Serve immediately, or cover and store in the fridge in some salted whey liquid.