Of course I would choose one of the hottest days of the summer to make my first foray into cheesemaking… I followed this recipe, more or less, but mine definitely did not form a gelatinous curd. A milky, crumbly curd, yes, but firm enough to actually cut with a knife? No.
And it certainly didn’t take me only 30 minutes. I noticed that the first curds didn’t fully utilize the milk, as my yellow whey was left a bit milky and the remaining curds were quite small. I removed most of the curds, added a second teaspoon of citric acid and brought it up to 90 degrees again. This separated the protein from the whey more definitively and yielded more curds. Next time, I think I would start with 1 1/2 – 2 tsp of citric acid. It’s cheap. Use it. Other commenters said they waited longer for it to cool and this seemed to work but I like quicker methods.
Before I did this though, I added a second quarter tablet of dissolved rennet to see what kind of effect it would have. None, apparently, so don’t bother, though I suspect this is why it didn’t become stretchy, and ended up as a harder cheese.
I also had to put it in the microwave about a dozen times. The purpose is to remove the remaining whey so use a sieve or something and stir your curds as much as possible. I don’t know how you could possibly remove all of the remaining whey in only two turns in the microwave but maybe using a cheesecloth next time instead of just my sieve would have helped.
It also did not become taffy-like at any point. I put it in the microwave so many times, it finally just dried out. It ended up crumbly and much like ricotta or white cheddar – tasty overall, so not an epic failure but definitely did not meet my expectations for fresh, stretchy mozzarella.
Next time, different recipe and more research!