5 Ingredients or Fewer


March 27, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by Anabelle Doliner
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes 1 large or 2 small mozzarella balls
Author Notes

This is the result of multiple trials, both in the Food52 test kitchen and at home. —Kristy Mucci

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
  • 1/4 rennet enzyme tablet
  • 1/4 cup cold filtered water (to mix with the rennet)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
  • 1/4 cup cold filtered water (to mix with the citric acid)
  • 1 gallon whole milk (non-homogenized is best)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix the rennet with ¼ cup water to dissolve. In another small bowl, mix the citric acid with ¼ cup water to dissolve.
  2. Place a 5-quart pot into a large bowl with enough room to pour water around the sides. Pour your milk into the pot and add warm water to the bowl—you're creating a water bath to gently heat up the milk. Once it reaches 86°F, add the citric acid solution and give it gentle stir with a slotted spoon to evenly distribute. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes at 86°F.
  3. After 10 minutes, add more warm water to the bowl to bring the temperature of the milk up to 90°F. Once the milk reaches 90°F, add the rennet mixture. Very gently stir the milk in an up and down motion to disperse the rennet for about 1 minute, taking care not to stir too vigorously. Allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes.
  4. At this point, the curds will have come together into a solid-looking mass. Add more warm water to the bowl to bring the mixture up to 105°F and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, it's time to drain the curds. Place a colander on top of a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, lift the curds and place them into the colander to let the whey drain off. Lift the colander to keep draining. Using your hands, very gently press the curds into the colander to release more whey. You want to remove as much whey as possible while handling the curds as gently as possible. They should feel firm when they're ready for kneading.
  6. Add a few cups of hot water (we think 180°F is best) to a large bowl. Food-safe gloves can help protect your hands from the heat if you're sensitive.
  7. Break up your drained curds into evenly sized pieces. Gently drop the curds into the hot water. Use all the curds to make one large mozzarella ball, or divide them in half to make two smaller ones.
  8. Using a large spoon, lift the curds to see if they're ready for kneading. They're ready when they are melty and stretching off the spoon.
  9. Now it's time to stretch and knead, salting your cheese as you go. If the cheese starts to get cold and stiff, dunk it back into the hot water. Keep stretching, kneading, and dunking until the cheese starts to feel smooth. This can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.
  10. Form your cheese into a ball, or any other shape you'd like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Carla Guariglia
    Carla Guariglia
  • Sophie S.
    Sophie S.
  • Kristy Mucci
    Kristy Mucci
  • Devangi Raval
    Devangi Raval

11 Reviews

Carla G. May 13, 2018
Is this temperature in Celsius or Farenheit ?
Sophie S. May 16, 2014
what do you mean by 'filtered water'? does the water need to have a certain level of purity? thanks!
AnnieHynes May 12, 2012
THis recipe did not work for me. The cheese never melted. Big disappointment as I had made mozzarella successfully using a different recipe (actually taking parts of different recipes). Disappointing because I used this recipe for the mozzarella party., ugh
Rebecca M. April 10, 2012
Please tell us how much salt to use. That's the only part of the recipe that's iffy. Thanks!
Kristy M. April 16, 2012
I've already answered a question like this: http://www.food52.com/hotline/13608-a-question-about-a-recipe-mozzarella

I think the water should be at least as salty as the sea.
carswell July 19, 2014
That answer would be far more helpful if you stated the size of pot you use, the amount of water and the specific amount of salt.

It's been years since I was near an ocean and I really can't recall how salty the water was. I don't expect I'm alone in that - in fact I'm sure that some people have never tasted sea water.
kcg August 20, 2014
The directions say: "at least as salty as the sea." I googled "how salty is the sea" and got the answer, 3.5%: So 35 grams of salt/liter of water. If you want it saltier, add more. I'll leave it to the reader to do the conversion for your individual pots.
JD M. April 2, 2012
I have had better luck with liquid rennet. I found it at my local food co-op in Olympia WA
Kristy M. March 27, 2012
I think as long as you use filtered water, you're fine. The main point is to not let the water add any funny tastes to your cheese. If your water tastes like chlorine, even after being filtered maybe you should use bottled spring water.
Devangi R. April 18, 2012
Thanks! I use filtered water for regular consumption. But, used bottled water to made some for practice before the actual potluck.
Devangi R. March 27, 2012
Wonderful! If you all had multiple trials how many are we going to have..I wonder..
Lot of people say we need particular type of water is it true..