I bought my wife a mozzerella kit for christmas, and we tried to make it last night. We followed the directions pretty closely. I supposed we could have removed a bit more whey at some early steps. It also got up to 112F instead of the called for 105F before letting the curds form. But it never came together or reached the shiny smooth consistency that the directions called for. It would not hold together well enough to pull / stretch. It ended up like ricotta. It was good, but it wasn't what we were aiming for.

When doing my Christmas shopping, I noticed that some of the kits were for making mozzarella or ricotta, so I assume that the two have the same ingredients and a slightly different process. So what's the difference in process for the two? I'm thinking that's where we went wrong.

The result actually looked a lot like what this cheese making site says will result from using UHT milk, but I checked before making the cheese, and it was just pasteurized (and I just double checked, and it still just says pasteurized).

  • While not a duplicate, you might be helped by the answers in How do I make paneer firm and chewy like in the restaurant
    – justkt
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 13:58
  • Thanks, @justkt, but that doesn't really answer my questions. Michael's link exactly describes what happened, but I didn't use UHT milk. I updated the question with a link.
    – yossarian
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 15:20
  • I would like to ask the same question but would probably get closed as dupe. I'm not using UHT milk. Specifically the milk says it was pasturized at 60c for 30mins (vs all the other milk in the store which was 170c for 2 seconds). I'm not getting a solid "tofu like" curd. Instead I just get cottage cheese like substance. I've tried 3 times. The first time I did get a cuttable curd from the first step using lemon juice and veggie rennet but it still didn't hold together. The 2nd/3rd times I tried citric acid and more rennet but it didn't even get solid, just cottage cheese like. Help
    – gman
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 4:54

8 Answers 8


I have the same problem and went through 3 different brands of milk, thinking they were UHT. However, after some experimentation I determined what I was doing wrong.

In my case, after cutting the curd, and while the water was heating back up to 105, we were stirring too much.

The key is very slow gentle movement. Just enough to slightly move the curds, and not disturb them.

"Stirring" will cause you to end up with a nice tasting ricotta, but not mozzarella.


I had the same problem and bought a pH meter at which point I discovered my milk didn't have enough acid so I added 2 t citric acid and problem solved. The milk should get thick like cream prior to putting in rennet. pH should be around 5.2.


According to playing with fire and water, the key is raw milk - not pasteurized at all. The author says that she tried several times to make mozzarella and it always turned out like ricotta, until she switched to raw milk.

It's also very important to let the curds acidify, which essentially means letting it sit around for a while. If you don't do that, the curds won't spin, and if they don't spin and stretch, then you can't make a firm cheese, it'll just stay like jelly. The curds are acidified when they spin (stretch without breaking).

  • 5
    My sister makes mozzarella all the time with pasteurized milk, and hasn't had any problems. Raw milk might make it easier, but it's not required. Pretty much all sources say ultra pasteurized is right out, though.
    – bikeboy389
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 15:46
  • 1
    It's possible that it's not the pasteurization of the milk that's the problem, but the homogenization. In the US, the only way to get non-homogenized milk is to get raw milk, while (for example) in Hungary the only way to get homogenized milk is to get the UHT stuff - the regular milk you get in bags is pasteurized, but not homogenized.
    – Marti
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 16:39
  • @Marti - That's not entirely true. I can buy milk from a local diary that is pasteurized but not homogenized, and I live in the US. Look for local brands, Google for local dairies. You may find someone making simply pasteurized milk. Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 16:53
  • Raw milk is very hard to get hold of in the UK, it's illegal to sell it in Scotland and in England it is only legal to sell it "direct to consumer" by the farmer, so farmer's markets sell it to the general public, and farm shops, but no supermarket is allowed to carry it. Health risks are deemed too high.
    – Orbling
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 19:34
  • 1
    @bikeboy et al, I am honestly not experienced enough to go into great detail beyond what I've read and would welcome further contributions as to the science behind this. All I know is that several very reputable and well-known chefs and cooking enthusiasts seem to empirically corroborate the claim that you need raw milk, and that yossarian (the OP) claims to have gotten the same sub-standard result even with non-UHT (but still pasteurized) milk. Perhaps it's possible to make mozzarella with pasteurized milk but you need a different technique.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 3:01

this is similar to my question: how do I make my goat cheese creamy?

I would suspect that bringing the temperature higher than directed would cause your problems. In my case I ended up raising the temperature because my cheese wouldn't separate, which resulted in a crumbly hard cheese, instead of something creamy.


Mozzarella cannot be repeatedly made from a recipe since milk differs in pH and protein content from cow to cow. I have been making mozzarella successfully for more than 10 years. I have run hundreds of experiments and can tell you that. Buy a pH meter, that will make your life less stressful and your mozzarella will be consistent.


As a bit of a science geek, I think the PH meter is a great way to go. All research I've done confirms that you can make mozzarella with all milk types except UHT. I tried to make mozzarella for the first time the other night and it came out like creamy ricotta. I believe it to be my stirring technique and temp. However, there is no way to rule out PH without knowing for sure. So to not have the headaches and be able to consistently make the Caprese Salad I like so much, it's well worth it. Thanks everyone for your help, I'm going to try again soon. :)


It's not the pasturization that is the problem, it is the homogination which breaks up the casen molecules in the milk. These molecules are required for the curding proccess and when they are damaged, the milk will not curd. I know some add calcium chloride to the milk which apparently helps the curding proccess, but I have never tried this. I normally use raw milk to make mozzarella, but I have also used pasturized non-homogenized milk with no problem. I saw that someone posted not to stir the curds too much or you will end up with rocotta, this simply is not the case. If the curd is right, it is firm enough to stir with no problems at all. Furthermore, you have to stir occasionally to keep the curds from sticking together.

Another thing I would like to say is that there are two different ways to make mozzarella, which is using citric acid or using cultures. I have done both and I can say that using cultures is more fun and has a much better flavor. I have used different cultures over the years and have found that Kefir cultures has the best flavor. I recently created a instructable on making mozzarella cheese, Click Here to view. If anyone tries my method of making mozzarella cheese has further problems, please E-mail me or post on my blog what kind of problem occurred, and I'll point you in the right direction.


I kept experiencing the Ricotta thing and decided to change the milk I used. Living in a city, far away from any dairies, I went online looking for powdered-raw-milk. Needless to say, there is none. I did find some powdered goat's milk online. I went to the company's website and used their store locator and found a place close that sold the powdered goat's milk. After striking out with cow milk, I thought goat's milk may give me better results.

When I arrived, I found the powdered milk and I also discovered that the store sold raw milk, from both cows and goats.

I would suggest doing an online search for producers of: powdered goat's milk, almond flour, kambucha, etc. and use the "Store Locator" or "Where to Buy" features. Chances are, these products are sold in places that also offer raw milk.

Of course, after using the raw milk, the ricotta texture went away. I now have real mozzarella cheese.

  • You cannot have powdered raw milk. Powdering the milk involves heating it.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 13:16
  • 1
    It is possible to make powdered milk without heating it. It could be powdered by freeze-drying for instance. wikihow.com/Dry-Milk lists 3 ways to make dried milk. Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 2:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.