Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fresh Mozzarella


Fresh mozzarella is probably one of my most favorite foods. I'm not sure what it is about it, but I can't get enough. My love {obsession} for this smooth, rich, salty cheese, has been passed down a generation...to my children. Both of whom, are just as obsessed as I am.
My husband's grandparents used to make homemade fresh mozzarella. They would bring it to family parties. Little hand-tied mozzarella knots...usually, served with some roasted red peppers & really good Italian bread {a meal I could live the rest of my days eating}. I have always wanted to try making some myself...but, until now, never had. I knew it would be difficult to shoot pictures while stretching cheese curd...so, I enlisted the help of my 9 year old.
What I have here isn't really a "recipe", as we cheated & started from curd. You can make your own curd at home...there are tons of recipes out there on the internet. Someday, I would like to make some from scratch & when I do, I will be sure to post it here! But, until then, I will share this somewhat homemade technique.
As this was our first attempt...not to mention the cheese was made by a 9 year old...it didn't come out perfect. The curd got a bit overworked & came out a little too rubbery. But, the flavor was unlike any fresh mozzarella you could buy at a market. It was the best ever! Next time, we will try working it a bit less & see how it comes out.

First, you will need some fresh mozzarella curd. We purchased ours online @ Golden Age Cheese. It's sold by the pound & gets to your doorstep super fast.
To begin, heat a pot of water to about 140-150 degrees. Place the curd in a large stainless steel bowl & break it up into small pieces.

Pour enough water over the curd to cover completely & let it sit for 3 minutes. The curd will begin to come together into a mass; the texture will become soft & pliable.
Using kitchen gloves {if necessary}, gather the cheese together in a ball. Gently stretch the curd, until elastic.


If it gets too stiff to stretch, dip it back in the hot water to re-soften it. If the water cools too much, simply pour off the water & add some fresh hot water. Do not overwork the cheese, as it will get very rubbery {our lesson learned}. Simply work it until it is soft & smooth.

Shape the ball of cheese into the size & shape of your choice. It can be left as is, in a big ball, ideal for slicing. You can divide the cheese into pieces & form them into small balls, called ciliegine; or form the cheese into long, thin ropes & tie them into knots.

Drop the finished cheese into a bowl of cold, salted water.

Let the cheese sit, until it's completely cool.

Once cool, serve the cheese however you'd like. You can eat it as is, with a sprinkle of salt. Slice it & use it in salads, on pizzas, or in sandwiches.

Or, serve it as a little appetizer, on a toothpick with some red, ripe tomatoes...as we did here.

Fresh Mozzarella

Makes about 1 lb. of mozzarella, from curd
Mozzarella curd can be purchased online, at Golden Age Cheese, or at some specialty stores. If a store near you makes their own mozzarella on premises, chances are they will sell you some curd. Alternatively, you can be adventurous & make your own cheese curd from milk.

1 pound fresh mozzarella curd
water
kosher salt

special equipment: large stainless steel bowls, a candy thermometer & kitchen gloves

Heat a pot of water to 140-150 degrees. If you do not own a thermometer, heat the water to the point where it's hot, but not boiling. You know it's ready when tiny bubbles begin to form around the edges.
Place the curd in a large stainless steel bowl & break it up into small pieces. Pour enough water over the curd to cover completely & let it sit for 3 minutes. The curd will begin to come together into a mass; the texture will become soft & pliable.
Using kitchen gloves {if necessary}, gather the cheese together in a ball. Gently stretch the curd, until elastic. If it gets too stiff to stretch, dip it back in the hot water to re-soften it. If the water cools too much, simply pour off the water & add some fresh hot water. Do not overwork the cheese, as it will get very rubbery. Simply work it until it is soft & smooth.
Shape the ball of cheese into the size & shape of your choice. It can be left as is, in a big ball, ideal for slicing. You can divide the cheese into pieces & form them into small balls, called ciliegine; or form the cheese into long, thin ropes & tie them into knots.
Drop the finished cheese into a bowl of cold, salted water. Let the cheese sit, until it's completely cool, then serve.
Note: The cheese can be refrigerated, submerged in salted water, for up to 5 days.
Click here for the printable recipe.

8 comments:

Isabelle said...

I grew up in a cheese-obsessed family, too. My mother often referred to my sister and I as her "little mice", because we had a habit of making her cheese supply disappear practically overnight. :)
I've tried my hand at cheesemaking a few times, but haven't ventured past the basic soft cheeses like paneer and fresh cheese. I think my next attempt will have to be fresh mozzarella, though, especially since your tutorial makes it look so easy. Thanks for sharing!

Salt in Suburbia said...

impressive!

Joanne said...

I think that it is THE coolest thing ever that you made your own mozzarella! We used to get ours fresh from an Italian market that made it on sight...and it was out of this world good. I imagine yours probably tasted even better than that.

Winnie said...

You did a great job with this post! You know what's funny? I drink raw milk and have made mozz a few times. In the fall I took a bunch of photos and was going to post about it. Seeing your post reminds me that I never did do my post. Doh. Maybe I should still do it...ps mine has come out rubbery, too, but I still love it. Cause it's homemade :)

Josie Lee Susk√° said...

This is seriously so inspiring! I'm looking into online cheesemaking sources at this moment!

kate said...

winnie-definitely post yours! I'd love to see it.

Megan said...

This looks delicious!

Ed Schenk said...

Cheesemaking is a true passion of mine. I always make my own ricotta and often do the Mozzarella too!

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