How To Make
This page will clarify the basic steps on how to make mozzarella or, rather, the steps that the artisans are taking.
To learn how to make your own mozzarella, visit our
"homemade mozzarella cheese" page
The Filtering of the Milk
The milk used in the transformation process (cow or, better still, water buffalo milk) is usually filtered in order to cancel all traces of impurity and it is (looking at the mozzarella cheese making shops) shipped from the farm within 12 hours from the milking.
The Coagulation of the Milk
Coagulation is preceded by the addition of a natural serum-engraftation, obtained by letting the serum derived from the previous day’s processing, spontaneously acidify at environment temperature.
Coagulation takes place with addition of calf rennet to the milk (generally with a potency of 1:10000).
Milk is then heated (nowadays directly by inducing water vapor into it; in times past, boiling milk was added to the curd) and rennet is added (ca 20 ml per quintal of milk).
The optimal temperature range is between 36 and 38 °C and the average duration of the coagulation usually does not exceed half an hour.
Breaking of the Curd and Seasoning
The curd is usually broken manually, typically with an instrument called “ruotolo” (wooden club with a convex end) or other means, until lumps of ca 5 cm in size are obtained.
Two phases are then executed: the first breaking cuts the curd in cubes and, after half an hour, the breaking with “ruotolo” is performed.
The extraction of the curd is usually a manual process, and it’s then cut in big slices with a knife or a special sickle.
Curd, compact and with regular holes is let to discharge on a draining table, to season for an additional half an hour.
After the breaking the curd is let acidify in milk serum at first: this can last from a few and up to 8 hours. This duration is perhaps the variable in the mozzarella making process that most influences the overall quality of this cheese.
The duration of the maturation is empirically established with a manual sampling.A small quantity of the fresh mass is melted in hot water and wrapped around a stick: if it can be pulled in single threads of up to 1 meter of length without breaking, it is deemed ready for the pulling.
The Pulling (“la filatura”)
This phase influences the final consistency of product and is possibly the fundamental aspect of how to make mozzarella.
If done manually (as it is tradition) the mass is cut in slices and melted in a wooden bucket by adding hot water. Subsequently, usually with other wooden utensils , the melted paste is pulled until a homogeneous dough is obtained.
The water which has not been incorporated into the dough (“acqua Bianca” or white water) is taken out of the bucket where the pulling takes place and filtered so that the tiny pieces of dough can be gathered as well.
At the end of the pulling, the dough shows the typical stringy-structure of these cheeses “a pasta filata”.
The Shaping (“Formatura”) of the Mozzarella
The traditional “formatura” is done manually (with up to two people working together): the dough is cut in pieces with index finger and thumb (“mozzatura”).
This mass is then skillfully shaped in dozens of different fashions.
The Curing (“Salatura”)
The curing is the last step describing how to make mozzarella, performed by immersing the mozzarella in brines (salty water solutions) of different concentrations (between 10 and 18%) and the duration varies from one producer to another.
Once extracted from the brine and immersed in its “serving water” (“acqua di governo”), salt concentration in the mozzarella stabilizes.
People I know are actually experimenting themselves with homemade production of mozzarella, with more than palatable results (you'll have to trust me on that, as I tried personally).
This shows that the production (and consumption) of a high quality mozzarella relies on proven, simple steps, on the quality of the ingredients and on the experience of the hand of the cheese maker.
Who knows? Maybe, after reading this, you will start making your own mozzarella!
Tempted? Click on the link just below this text to start producing homemade mozzarella.
If you do, why don’t you let us know?
Share the results with us, using the form below.
Learn How To Make Mozzarella At Home
Read More On Mozzarella Cheese Here
From How To Make Mozzarella to Italian Traditions Homepage