A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Homemade Mozzarella

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Leigh Vandebogart

Leigh Vandebogart › Leigh has three major passions: teaching, writing, and food. After living in Brooklyn for over three ...


Leigh Vandebogart recently took it upon herself to price out the difference between making her own mozzarella cheese and purchasing it. This cost-benefit analysis of homemade cheese is a lesson a lot of us can stand to learn, and then apply to various aspects of our household overhead.

Most homemade products are far cheaper than their store-bought counterparts (and safer to consume or use), but in the instances where homemade costs more, you have to weigh in the quality and piece of mind that comes from making something yourself.

Unfortunately, everything seems to have a price.

Maybe one day we will live in or create a world that doesn’t deal so much with the direct exchange of goods for money, but right now, that is the world that I live in, and I’m pretty sure it’s the world you live in, too.

Until that day, or until we are looking at the cost-benefit analysis of cattle so we can get fresh dairy on the daily, we need to do a little cost-benefit analysis of the food we make at home.  Specifically, I want to take a look at the cheese I recently made.

The milk we bought from Hawthorne Valley Farm was $4.75 for a half gallon of whole, raw milk.  In order to make a pound of mozzarella, you need a gallon of milk – so the total cost of milk was $9.50.

You also need citric acid, which cost $3.99 for 4 oz.  This is something we’ll have for quite a while … we can make a lot of different things with this citric acid before we run out.  The cost of citric acid per batch of cheese is small – we used 2 teaspoons – which comes out to about 30 cents per batch.

Last thing you need is rennet.  The rennet tablets we bought were $6.00 for 10 tablets.  The cool thing about rennet is that you only need a 1/4 of a tablet – so you’re basically using less than 20 cents of rennet per batch of cheese.

Total cost of cheese: $10/lb

There’s a bunch of different types of mozzarella you can buy in the store.  Here are a few prices from local stores:

Fresh mozzarella from Trader Joe’s: $3.99/12 oz

Sorrento’s Fresh Mozzarella from Price Chopper: $4.49/8 oz

I don’t buy the shredded variety … they just add stabilizers and chemicals to keep it in those little shreds, and the extra two minutes it takes to shred my own mozz is much more worth it to me in the long run.

Obviously, there’s a range of cheeses out there.  You can spend anywhere from $6.00 a pound to probably upwards of $15.00, depending on where you shop and how fancy you like your mozzarella or where you live.

Does Leigh decide making her own cheese is worth it?

Click here to read the rest of the article over at For Now, Farm Dreams.

This article originally appeared on For Now, Farm Dreams. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.

Do you make your own cheese at home? Is it always worth it to you?

Photo Credit: Farm Share Stories