Some flavor combinations are classic, but when it comes to combining ingredients with mozzarella cheese – everyone has their preference. My preference is a delicious and juicy slice of heirloom tomato paired with a mouth-watering slice of freshly made mozzarella cheese, a piece of fresh basil and strawberry balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzled on top, and finished with a dusting of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Yum!
I started making my own mozzarella cheese in 2004 as I was preparing to publish my Tomato & Mozzarella cookbook. I was taught by a very handsome first generation Italian man that had a passionate love of Italian cooking. My interest in the process has grown over the years, as has it’s popularity in the United States amongst chefs and home cooks alike. I even am teaching mozzarella making classes at Sweet Basil Gourmet in Scottsdale, Arizona once a quarter.
The key to making a great mozzarella cheese ball is in the cheese curd that you use. I think BelGioioso produces the very best, and you can find their product here: http://www.belgioioso.com/. As is the case with most of my recipes, I am taking a few shortcuts (such as buying the cheese curd) by using store-bought products, but still using my own technique and craft to make the finished product my own. These little “back pocket” tricks will stick with you for a lifetime, and elevate the overall quality of the dishes you prepare.
How to Make Mozzarella Cheese
1. Cut curd into jellybean-size pieces, or long thin slices.
2. Pour 180° salted water over curd; allow to sit for one minute
3, When curd “knits” together, gather into one glob.
4. Gently lift curd from water. Slowly begin to stretch.
5. Stretch and fold; repeat 2 or 3 times till smooth and shiny
6. Form into mozzarella balls. The size and shape are up to you.
7. Pinch or cut off newly formed ball.
8. Drop into ice bath to cool completely. You’re done!