Wednesday, May 6, 2009
MAKING MOZZARELLA AT HOME
I was so happy to be able attend a mozzarella making class this week. It was held by my local KOWALSKI store. For some time now I have been reading about it with varying comments. Some articles say it is simple to make at home while others reported the whole thing being unpredictable and difficult. I still wanted to give it a try.
I am happy to report that the evening was really informative thanks to Scott, the cheese manager from the store, and Dexi who was giving instructions at my station. They made the whole process very straightforward, simple and fun.
The secret, I think, is buying the curd. To make the curd would be more difficult and extremely time consuming. Perhaps that is for a later date when I feel I have accomplished this method to my satisfaction.
I was amazed that on the night I actually made cheese to bring home. It really was a simple task and I am sure I will be making it regularly. It tasted so good when it was still warm straight from the water. Only thing missing was a nice tomato & some basil. An instant caprese.
How easy is it? Very, provided you have the curds to set you on your way. If your local supermarket makes mozzarella on the premises then they will sell you the curd. Just ask.
All that is needed is your curds, and for 1lb of curds you need a large pot of salted boiling water, about 5-6 litres(5-6quarts). You will need 1/4 -2/3 cups of salt per litre depending on how you like your cheese to taste. You will work it out as you go.
First set the water on to boil and cut your curd into slices approx 1"x1"(2.5cmx 2.5cm)You will also need 2 large stainless steel or glass bowls. Fill one with iced cold water, this is where you will put the cheese once it is formed. Into the other bowl put your curds. When the water has boiled turn it off. Now pour some of this water over your curds until they are submerged. Wait a few minutes until they soften then start to gently squeeze them together. It is almost like making pastry.Treat it grntly with as little handling as possible I should say at this point to wear gloves as the water is very hot. Treat the curds gently until they form one big ball.
The next bit is the forming of the ball. Just squeeze the piece of cheese through your thumb and forefinger until it squeezes through and into a ball shape then break it off. You can make them as big or small as you want. This bit takes a bit of practice but it is worth it.You then drop it into the iced water until it cools when you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You can also at this point drop it into cooled salted water and store it this way. It will keep for about 10 days.This is not a soft crumbling cheese but a perfect cheese for grating or using in salads and on pizzas.
I am so happy to have taken this class and to realise that it is not so difficult as I had thought. Perfectly doable in a domestic kitchen. Now I can't wait for the summer tomato harvest when I can invite some friends over and serve my mozzarella still warm fro the pot with delicious homegrown tomatoes and basil. a sprinkling of good sea salt a turn of the peeper mill and a drizzle of fruity olive oil. Mmmm can't wait. Hope they will be impresed.