Homemade Cheese

General Instructions for Homemade Cheese
Buy whole, pasteurized milk from a creamery for the best possible cheese.

1. Heat the milk in a stainless steel saucepan and, stirring often, warm it to the required temperature (each recipe varies slightly).

2. Still stirring, add the rennet (or citric acid), as for ricotta. Cover; let curds form without stirring, keeping the temperature steady.

3. Using a rubber spatula, break up the curd. This will allow the whey to separate from the curd. A resting period usually follows this step.

4. Place a sturdy cheesecloth over a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curd to a cheesecloth.

5. Grab the cheesecloth and pull it tight, allowing the whey to drain off into the bowl underneath.

6. Transfer the curd to perforated baskets over a plate with a slotted spoon. The baskets should be perforated in order to facilitate the draining of the whey.

7. Refrigerate the curd; it will set into cheese. Allow it to set for the number of hours specified in the recipe.

8. Turn the cheese out of the basket and press the basket on top of the cheese to create an imprint, or weigh it down with a small can or weight if required.
9. Some cheese is rubbed with salt or immersed in brine before being eaten. Refrigerate the cheese and serve within 3 to 5 days, depending on the recipe.

American Mozzarella

“American mozzarella” is the cheese commonly used on American pizza. It is made using citric acid for acidification instead of bacterial fermentation as in other cheeses. It is very elastic, melts well and strings when hot.


  • 5-quart covered stainless pot with heavy bottom
  • 1 cup pyrex measuring cup
  • 2 cup pyrex measuring cup
  • Thermometer
  • Long-bladed knife
  • Sterile handkerchief or non-terrycloth dish towel
  • 8-inch strainer
  • Receiving container to catch draining whey
  • 1000 watt microwave oven


  • 1/2 tablet Junket® Rennet Tablet
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1 gallon milk (whole milk for a richer flavor or skim milk for low calorie cheese)


  1. Warm milk over gentle heat 88º F (31ºC), take care not to scorch.
  2. Dissolve 1-1/4 tsp. citric acid powder in 1/2 cup cool water. Add to 88º F milk, stir well.
  3. Dissolve 1/2 tablet Junket® Rennet into 1/4 cup cool water. Stir thoroughly into warmed milk mixture. Let set undisturbed for 1-2 hours, until a clean break is achieved.
  4. Cut curd into 1/2 inch cubes.
  5. Warm the curds and whey over low heat, stirring gently to warm evenly and keep the curds separated until temperature reaches 42º C (108ºF). Hold at 42º C for 35 minutes, stirring every five minutes to keep curds separated and off the bottom.
  6. Collect curds by pouring curds and whey through a fine cloth held in an 8-inch sieve over a 1 gallon container, let drain for 15 minutes. Save whey to make ricotta if you wish (see recipe).
  7. Break up curd, mix in 1 teaspoon salt thoroughly.
  8. Place 1 cup of salted curd into 2-cup measure.
  9. Microwave on high for 45 seconds
  10. Separate hot curd from container with the back of a fork, knead with hands to distribute heat evenly. Heat again for 20 more seconds. Stretch and fold to make smooth and elastic, shape into a soft ball.
  11. Drop into cold, salted water (1/3 cup salt per quart), let sit in refrigerator for a day, store in an airtight container. Use within a week or so.