Lured by the promise of homemade mozzarella in less than 30 minutes (thanks to Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver - cheese recipe is in the middle of the page), I bought vegetarian rennet from here, citric acid, and half a gallon of whole Strauss milk.
My first attempt at making mozzarella, documented here in the photos, did take 30 minutes. My next attempt took only 15 minutes - by 30 minutes, I had my kitchen cleaned up again.
Witness the magic:
I calculated that half a gallon of milk yielded almost 8 ounces of cheese. The milk cost $4, and is organic and local to boot, while the other ingredients I added were probably only $.10. So, for $4.10 and 15 minutes of my time, we have cheese that is better and fresher than what I can find in the stores. As a cost comparison, the brand of non-organic mozzarella that is readily available at my market is 6 ounces and costs nearly $7. It also has lots of other ingredients other than milk, rennet, sea salt, and citric acid.
The point of all of this is not to brag over my supposed kitchen prowess, but to say, "You can do this, too!" It was so, so easy. The only special equipment needed was a thermometer, but most of us have one lying around, right?
The next logical step would be for my tomatoes to ripen so I could make insalada caprese, but I have to sit tight for at least a month.