This Mozzarella Cheese post will guide you through it’s history of accidental conception, to how to make stretchy Mozzarella at home, with our delicious recipe.
The best part?
We have included our favourite and the most delicious recipes to use your Mozzarella.
That’s not all…
With a written and video tutorial on how to stretch your Mozzarella properly and all the nutritional facts that are with held inside this delicate cheese.
What Is Mozzarella Cheese?
A soft Italian cheese that is often used on pizzas, it melts easily and becomes stringy and can also be eaten fresh.
The cheese is traditionally made using Water Buffalo milk, but can also be made with cow’s milk.
This cheese gets it’s character by being stretched and kneaded and pulled into a stringy, pliable ball. It is quite easy to make and comes in various varieties, which are as follows;
- Fresh mozzarella (my favourite)
- Mozzarella di Bufala
- Smoked Mozzarella (my second favourite)
Mozzarella Cheese Taste
It has a soft, moist texture and its taste can best be described as being full of a milky flavour.
Fresh Mozzarella cheese is much creamier and softer compared to older cheese. Unlike most cheeses, it is not aged.
Normally it is eaten fresh and often within a couple of hours after it is made.
If made using Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk, it can have a tangy taste and may contain a higher concentration of fats. When made using cow’s milk has no tang and has a lower fat content.
Mozzarella Origin And History
Like most amazing things, it was first made purely by accident. Which occurred in a cheese factory near Naples, Southern Italy, when cheese curds fell into a pail of hot water.
Poor milk storage conditions dictated the need to transform milk into cheese as fast as possible.
The heating and hot spinning process significantly reduced the acidity with the resulting curds being formed into Mozzarella by hand.
The earliest records place the existence of Mozzarella cheese to somewhere in the 16th century. It is probable that the technique and knowledge of it’s making was handed down by the Benedictine monks.
Protected Geographical Status
Under the European Union laws and the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) regime, a number of cheeses produced in European countries have protected geographical status. Mozzarella di Bufala Campana cheese has a PDO status.
This type of cheese is made from the milk of the Mediterranean buffalo, an Italian breed of water buffalo.
How To Make Fresh Mozzarella Cheese At Home
Photo: Luigi Versaggi
Mozzarella Cheese Ingredients
- 10 litres or 2.6 gallons of raw cow’s milk
- Half a teaspoon of thermophilic culture
- Rennet – use the amounts recommended by the manufacturers.
- Half a cup of flaked non-iodized cheese salt.
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Recipe
- Heat the milk up to 32ºC or 90ºF.
- Stir in the thermophilic culture
- Leave the milk to ripen for one hour while maintaining it at 32ºC or 90ºF.
- Add in the rennet and stir using up and down motions for about 30 strokes.
- Leave it for an hour or until a clean cut is achieved.
- Cut the curds into equal one-centimetre
- Leave the curds to settle for 15 minutes.
- Pour off the whey into another large pot or bowl to the level of the curds. You will need it later.
- Add in two litres of cold water to the curds in order to rinse them. Gently stir to ‘wash’ the curds.
- Drain the curds in a colander that is lined with a cheesecloth, then cover.
- Leave to sit at room temperature at least overnight but up to 2 days if required (I have personally had the best results from a 2 day ‘sit’).
Photo: Greg O’Beirne
Stretching Mozzarella Cheese
To test if your curd is ready to stretch bring a few cups of water to 90º Celsius/195º Fahrenheit and then drop a few chunks of curd in. Using a fork pull and fold the hot curd. If it stretches and forms ‘strings’ and a glossy surface it is ready.
If it doesn’t stretch (snaps) leave your curds to ripen longer.
- When the curd is ready to stretch, add the cheese salt to the whey you reserved and heat to 90ºC or 195ºF.
- Cut the curds into large chunks and drop a handful of these at a time into the whey.
- After about half a minute, use a fork to press the chunks together. The curds should melt into each other. Bring the clumped curds out using two forks, then stretch and pull the curd.
- Put the curd clump back into the salty whey until it softens once more and then repeat the process 3 to 4 times.
- When a ball of stretchy curd is formed, stretch, pull and knead it until it gains a glossy and smooth surface.
- When the curds form a lovely smooth and glossy ball, drop it in cold water and proceed to process the next batch.
- Take the balls out of the cold water and let them drain and dry for 10 minutes.
If your Mozzarella is not stretching check out this post.
If you would like to watch a video of how to stretch your Mozzarella I found the one below to be quite helpful.
How To Store Fresh Mozzarella
It can be stored in the fridge for 7 to 10 days in a container of cold water. Alternatively, you can freeze the cheese for longer shelf life.
Fresh Mozzarella Recipes
Any cheese enthusiast will tell you that Mozzarella is perhaps the greatest Italian export after Leonardo D Vinci, Marco Polo and Galileo. It can be used to make some tasty meals and treats that you and your family will absolutely love.
This cheese recipe is well loved for its simplicity and amazing taste. It is a staple in most gourmet menus.
They are crunchy on the outside and gooey and creamy on the inside, a wonderful taste explosion waiting to happen.
Dip these fried Mozzarella sticks in any sauce of your liking. I bet you’re going to love them!
The bare mention of lasagne stacks sparks an appetite to most people. This recipe is easy to put together and doesn’t take a lot of time at all. Want to wow some hungry mouths? Try these grilled eggplant lasagne stacks.
This salad is so simple and delicious, it is one of my favourite dishes in summer. A Caprese salad is the perfect combination of the flavours and textures of fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh ripe tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of either balsamic vinegar, olive oil or both!
You can have this salad alongside a piece of meat if you desire as a main course or even as an appetizer on its own. Either way it will steal the show.
The best substitute for Mozzarella cheese would be Provolone Cheese. Provolone is another cheese from Italy and is similar to Mozzarella in flavour, appearance, and texture.
Provolone is a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk. It is also formed by stretching the curds and curing it for about two to three months.
Wine Pairing for Fresh Mozzarella
A medium bodied Merlot brings out the full flavour of Mozzarella with its balanced tannin’s and fruity undertones.
Another recommended wine pairing is Champagne which works quite well.
A Pinot Grigio and its acidity go well with this classic pizza cheese.
Mozzarella Cheese Nutrition
Per 100 gram serve.
Mozzarella cheese calories – 280
Total fat – 17 g
Cholesterol – 54 mg
Protein – 28 g
Total Carbs – 3.1 g
Sugar – 1.2 g
Mozzarella During Pregnancy
Is listed among cheeses that are safe for consumption by pregnant women. It won’t cause any harm to the unborn child or the mother.
Do you have any comments or questions? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you! I hope you really enjoy my mozzarella recipe.