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I'm trying to make mozzarella at home. I'm following this recipe (without citric acid), but I also tried this one (with citric acid), without any result. I think my italian is sufficient for understanding the above recipes. I'll summarize the video recipe for you:

  • I took 2l milk, (exact type below) and heated to 40°C
  • Add 1tsp natural yoghurt for each liter of milk (I doubled this)
  • Add the rennet dissolved in cold water (exact type below)
  • wait 1h, cut up the curd (so far seems to be ok)
  • wait 20min, till the curd and the whey separates (bit suspicious: the curd does not sink)
  • break the curd into small ("piccoli-piccoli") pieces, and let them separate for 4 hours (very suspicious: does not sink, floats on top of the whey)
  • remove whey, put the curd into a sieve, and let it drip-dry for 18 hours (suspicious: when it seems dry, I put it onto a plate for the remaining time c.a. 4h?, but the plate fills up with whey)
  • now I should be able to form the cheese in warm/hot water, but I do not get to this point, because the curd/cheese falls apart, it stays in little crumbs, like cottage cheese

What am I doing wrong? The materials I use:

  • milk: 3.5% fat, pasteurized (not UHT or ESL) and homogenized
  • rennet: c.a. 0.5ml for the 2l milk

I'm planning to try to get natural milk, only cooled, no pasteurization and homogenization, but before I do that, I'd like to know, what went wrong.


Note: I've looked around here before placing the question, I found these:

  • this does not apply, because the milk I'm using is not UHT pasteurized
  • the other questions are mainly about microwave recipes, which I try to avoid
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    Why do you think the curds should sink? They didn't when I made mozzarella and they don't in paneer. – Chris H Sep 14 at 19:25
  • @ChrisH in the first linked video, the curd definitely sinks. – moscafj Sep 15 at 18:09
  • @moscafj I believe you, but I don't waste time on video recipes. Ever. Certainly not to help someone else with debugging – Chris H Sep 15 at 19:48
  • @ChrisH ...just answering your question above..."Why do you think the curds should sink?" Answer: the OP saw them below the surface of the whey in the video. It can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the person asking the question. – moscafj Sep 15 at 20:29
  • @moscafj that's all very well, but you're actually guessing that's what the OP based their conclusion on, even if you're probably right. It might well be useful to put yourself in the shoes of the asker, but it's also reasonable to expect them to summarise sources, even when they're not videos – Chris H Sep 15 at 20:56
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It's a bad recipe. Here's why:

The way to make mozzarella without using citric acid is to use cheese cultures to acidify the curd, since in order to achieve the cheese's characteristic stretchiness it needs to have a pH of between 5.0 and 5.6..

That recipe has you add a "culture":

Add 1tsp natural yoghurt for each liter of milk (I doubled this)

... however, yogurt is not the same as Thermophilic cheese culture, which is what you use in mozzarella recipes. In fact, the 40C temperature you used is enough to kill the yogurt culture, meaning that it likely didn't acidify the milk at all. Besides which, the yogurt culture would have had other, undesirable, effects on the texture of the curd.

There's lots of other weird and suspicious factors in that recipe (18 hour drain? WTH?); I'd recommend simply discarding it and using the Ricki Carroll recipe instead.

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It could be that you are not maintaining enough heat through the process to get good curd separation, but ultimately, I think your curds became too dry. Eighteen hours seems far too long. I've had success with these instructions. They state that dry curds lead to tough mozzarella, but you might have drained them so much that they would not even compact together.

  • Thanks, this one worked. Although, I almost got the same crumbles, but I managed to work them together with my hands. The cheese got a bit too hard, but at least I succeeded (it was my 4th try :). Next time I'm gonna only wait 5mins for separation, and let the curds drain less to get a softer cheese. I'm going to accept the other answer though, because of the detailed explanation. – G. B. Sep 16 at 18:48

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