It was nearly a year ago when I was hovering over a stove with 10 other students. We all had one goal in mind…to learn the art of fresh mozzarella making. Ever since that faithful day, I’ve enjoyed serving the glorious white cheese for dinner parties. Explaining the preparation process is a wonderful conversation starter.
Mozzarella is super easy to make and the versatility is endless. I guarantee you will never look at the processed stuff found at grocery stores the same way ever again.
There are many websites out there that show you how to prepare the curd from milk before transforming it into mozzarella. I don’t feel that part of the process is worth the effort. That’s why I turn to buying prepared curd from my local market. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, I buy curd at Penn Mac in the Strip District Market. Otherwise, you should be able to find curd at any local dairy or authentic Italian grocery in your area.
- 1 lb. mozzarella curd
- ¼ cup sundried tomatoes; not in oil
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 pair food safe heat resistant gloves
- kosher salt
- Line a half sheet pan with plastic cling wrap. The plastic should hang 2-3 inches over each of the edges. Roughly chop the sundried tomatoes into thin strips. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Bring roughly 4-6 cups of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. The water should taste like the sea. Crumble the mozzarella curd into large one inch pieces. Place the crumbled curds into a large heat resistant bowl. While wearing the heat resistant gloves, pour a third of the water over the curd.
- Carefully gather the curd and massage until it comes together into a ball. Continue to stretch and gather the mozzarella until it becomes entirely silky and smooth. Run your hands under cold water if they become unbearably hot while massaging. If you are finding the mozzarella is not becoming smooth or the temperature decreases, add more hot water as needed to keep the temperature high.
- Remove the mozzarella ball from the water and press it evenly in the half sheet pan. You will need to work quickly before the cheese sets. Evenly sprinkle the top of the cheese with basil and sundried tomatoes. Starting with the short end of the pan, tightly roll the cheese with the toppings inside until it forms a log. Tightly wrap the cheese log in the plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Remove from the fridge and slice into ½ inch disks before serving. Makes roughly 18-22 pinwheels.