Fresh mozzarella cheese tastes simply delicious. Especially when it’s handmade in small batches in Italy. In fact, once you try fresh, there is just no turning back. Whether you use it in a Caprese salad, melt it on top of pizza or just eat it plain, nothing can quite compare.
I’ve often wondered how exactly it’s made and thought it would be great fun to watch mozzarella making in action. As I found out during my recent trip to Puglia, it’s a relatively simple process. One that I got to witness first hand.
Mozzarella gets its name from the Italian word ‘mozzare’ which means to lop off, which is exactly what the mozzarella maker does to make smaller pieces.
A basic overview of the process, which is not meant to be used as a recipe or tutorial to make your own at home, is described below.
In order to make the best mozzarella it’s important to start off with farm fresh milk. Either cows milk or water buffalo milk (which is what the famous bufala mozzarella is made from) can be used. The milk is then curdled and drained to eliminate the whey. The curd is cut up into smaller pieces that are ground up and immersed into hot water.
Using a combination of hands and a stick, the cheese maker stirs and kneads the curds until it becomes a rubbery, smooth and shiny mass. Once the cheese maker determines this white blob has reached the right consistency, he takes his fingers and ‘lops off’ small pieces which form the cheese.
These shapes can be the familiar round balls, a large braid called a treccia or in this case, tied into little knots called nodina.
The formed cheese is then placed into cold water and soaked in brine where the cheese will absorb just the right amount of salt to make the perfect texture – both creamy and elastic.
The result is of course salty, chewy, semi-soft cheesy goodness which is best eaten within hours of making it for the best flavor, which is why you’ll never find mozzarella which tastes this good outside Italy.
And if you can forgive the odd angle of the video I shot during the process (it was one of my first attempts at video and I’m still learning the ins and outs of camera orientation) 😉 you can see the mozzarella maker actually lopping off pieces to form the cheese.
How do you like to eat mozzarella?
Want to learn how to make fresh mozzarella in Italy? I’d be happy to arrange a mouth-watering excursion for you – just click here to get in touch!