Hand Pulled Mozzarella
Local fromagers keep the tradition of this fine Italian cheese alive.
“I think the biggest issue I have to combat is that people think cheese in unhealthy. A lot of people see cheese and just think “high fat.” Getting people to think about quality over quantity when it comes to food is hard. Luckily the push for raw milk cheese has helped a bit. People are beginning to see other benefits in food other than just a calorie count.” ~Alix Hoylman: Owner, Wheel and Wedge
Traditionally mozzarella was made from goat’s milk but currently, especially in the United States, it is derived from cow’s milk. The process began in southern Italy during the time of the Roman Empire. Many other countries are now producing a fresh mozzarella in a similar style such as Japan, Australia, Venezuela, Spain, South Africa, and Switzerland.
The word mozzarella is derived from a procedure called mozzare, which means to cut by hand. Appreciated for its versatility and formability, it is often referred to as the “queen of Mediterranean cuisine.” Like some fine wines, real buffalo mozzarella is sold only in Italy as mozzarella di bufala campana and has be given the status of a DOC (controlled designation of origin). The protected name requires it may only be produced with a traditional recipe and in select locations throughout Italy.
The process of producing fresh mozzarella includes the following steps.
Our Process and Manipulations
- Raw milk must be stored in steel containers.
- The milk then goes through a thermal treatment and is poured into a cream separator.
- Through the introduction of natural whey the milk goes curdling process.
- The curd then is left to lie in tubs to reduce the acidifying process until the PH value is 4.95.
- The hot water is poured over to curd to soften it.
- Shaped with special rotating shaper machines or ideally by hand.
- By immersion in cold water the cheese is cooled.
- Cheese is then stored submerged in its original whey.
To produce our product, we purchase fresh mozzarella curds that have not been softened or shaped. These types of curds can be found in some local farmers market settings. By submerging them into water that is heated to about 200 degrees, we are able to soften the curds and begin stretching and pulling it into cheese. Once it becomes completely incorporated and begins to shine, it is ready to form. Afterwards it is easy as cutting into appropriate pieces and forming it into logs or balls of various sizes.
For presentation purposes and to create a “wow” factor we incorporate other elements into the finished mozzarella. We fold in herbs, roll logs into crushed nuts, and roll other goodies inside of it such as basil and prosciutto, red pepper caponata, and fresh pesto.
We take pride in producing a high end restaurant-style food experience in a mobile format. In addition to that it is important for some of our processes to be visually appealing and interactive for our guests, which is a lot of fun. We enjoy the vast span of cuisine that we are able to produce and the array of people we are privileged to work with and around.
But the greatest joy we have is giving our customer exactly what they were expecting and much more. We were surprised how easy working with the cheese could be, and we could spread the knowledge about the process to people at home. We advise anyone who wants to give this a try to keep with it. Don’t let a little screw up or failure prohibit your dreams.