We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Jars of Clay: Making Mozzarella at Home

We've had some ups and downs here this week. But I'll focus on the cheese for now. That was up and down too. After the excitement of the cheddar last week, we had a rather disappointing mozzarella when we tried on Wednesday. In the middle of the other "downs" I was almost ready to give up! We just didn't get enough yield from the milk to be able to consider making it a viable business for Lucy. But we remembered Geoff's suggested name for our cheese, "Hard-Pressed" and we didn't despair and persevered! We tried again on Friday. And it really worked! We got a pound of cheese from 4 litres of milk - much more successful! Now, I'm not sure how many of you are actually interested, but I'll tell you anyway, as it really is so much fun making mozzarella - you really should try it! Amisadai photographed the whole procedure for you, so here you go!

First we pasteurised the raw cow's milk (keeping the temperature as low as possible, as overheating the milk was something that hadn't helped us). Then we cooled it down to 32 C and added 1 1/2 tsp of diluted citric acid (this also seemed to work better than the lemon juice we had used before) and 1/4 tsp diluted rennet. 

Adding the rennet

Then we let it sit in a warm place for a little while and watched those glorious curds appear!

After a short while, the curds were soft and silky smooth and ready to be cut crosswise and lengthwise.

Then we put the curds back on the heat and slowly heated them to 40C, stirring gently with our hands. When they had clumped together slightly, separating from the yellow whey, we removed them from the heat and let them sit for five minutes, stirring gently with our hands (it feels lovely). Then we strained the curds from the whey.

Next is the fun bit. We boiled a potful of water and used it to heat our curds in a smaller pot. The curds have to reach 60C and then they go delightfully shiny and stretchy.
Heating the curds
It gets even better now. Taking the curds away from the heat, we quickly worked in the salt and stretched and folded the pliable curd into a glossy, shiny cheese! The girls love this bit! Believe me, it really is fun.

Stretching the curds
After being shaped into a lovely round of cheese, it is plopped in a bowl of cold water and then when cooled and ready, it's taken out to drain. Yummy, beautiful mozzarella! (Although Louisa rather quickly observed, "It's just like a pig's bladder, Mum!") But the good thing about mozzarella is you don't have to wait a few months to try it. Pizza for tea!
Mozzarella Cheese!

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed." (II Cor. 4:7-8)

These words are encouraging in any situation, cheese or no cheese!  But isn't it interesting thinking about these words in the context of cheese? The cheese in the press, hard-pressed, but the end result is better and stronger. And clearly life is at work - as seen in the growing mould! We have a perplexing situation here at the moment but are encouraged to know that we don't need to despair. Things may be squeezed, it may take time, but ultimately everything we do is through His power and help and all for His glory. LIFE is at work in each of us who have this treasure; we are the cracked, clay pots designed to carry it! It's a treasure worth having. Let's carry it, display it and see life worked through us. May more and more people cause thanks to overflow to the glory of God (vs. 15).
Check out Amisadai and Louisa's blog to see how they made the clay cooler
and also to see the two new additions to our family!


  1. Congratulations on getting the mozerella to work. Not an easy feat. We are so glad to read of your cheese developments. G.

  2. Great work! I actually live just outside of Mwanza in Sengerema (working at the district hospital). Quick question: Where did you get the rennet? Did you get it locally or did you import it from somewhere? I've been wanting to make some cream cheese (I've already perfected by bagel recipe). Thanks!

    1. Hi Dave, Great to hear from you ... and you not too far away! Actually I got the rennet from the UK ... but I am looking into sourcing some here now that we are in Mwanza ... so watch this space! You can make a simple cream cheese without rennet though. And I'd love to try your perfected bagel recipe ... not totally happy with mine here :)

    2. Hi there, I am currently living in Iringa working on a development project to help local villagers begin making cheese. I was wondering if you have yet found a local source for purchasing rennet. If you have please do let me know! Thanks for your help!

    3. Hellow.
      your article is surely impressive, and super instructional.. I would love to make my own mozzarella for pizza and many cooking needs but RENNET is my biggest draw back.. I would like to know where you purchase yours so I can also have some or if uou have an extra bottle it would be helpful if u could sell me some or even if you do have veggie rennet. I currently live in Mwanza Tanzania.. my e-mail is joel.lubyama@gmail.com please help me out my dear friend

  3. Hey Rachel,congratulations on making mozerella cheese.i am coming to iringa on Tuesday next week.i would like to meet u and talk business.thanx mustafa


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