Make Your Own Mozzarella (cont.)
Homemade Mozzarella from Curd
If making curd from scratch is too intimidating or time-consuming, buy fresh curd from a gourmet grocery or online cheese shop and focus on the shaping. The hardest parts of forming mozzarella are the stretching and the pinching off of the curd (steps 7 and 8), so once you’ve mastered those, consider making the curd yourself, which gives you more control over flavor and quality.
1. Gather the equipment. Beyond kitchen basics like cutting boards, knives, and towels, here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 large glass or stainless steel bowls
- a large saucepan
- an instant-read thermometer
- 2 large spoons
- thick rubber gloves (dishwashing gloves work fine)
- 1 pound fresh cheese curd
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
2. Place the curd on a cutting board and slice it into thin strips. Place the slices in the first bowl; set aside. Fill the second bowl halfway with cold water; set aside.
3. Combine the 4 cups water and the salt in a large saucepan, place over high heat, and bring to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. When the water is ready, pour it over the curd slices. (The curd should be just covered.)
5. Keeping the curd slices submerged, use two large spoons to press them together until they form a solid mass, about 1 minute.
6. While wearing gloves, remove the now-solid curd from the bowl, and reserve the water.
7. Holding one end of the curd in each hand, pull on it (as if making taffy) until it forms a cord about 12 to 18 inches long. Fold the curd back on itself and continue to stretch and fold it until it’s shiny and small blisters have appeared on the surface, about 30 to 45 seconds. (If you stretch the curd too much, your cheese will be tough. If necessary, the curd can be dipped in the salted water to make it more malleable.) Form the curd into a ball and place it back in the salted water.
8. To form the mozzarella, pinch the curd between your thumb and forefinger to shape a two-inch piece, then tuck the ends under to make a uniform ball. Place the mozzarella ball in the bowl of cold water, and repeat the process until all of the curd has been formed into balls.
9. Refrigerate the mozzarella, submerged in water, in an airtight container. Use within three days.
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