Learn to make fresh mozzarella
Chef Pasquale Sorrentino from Amore by Wegmans shows you how
Even before tasting it, I found watching someone make fresh mozzarella to be a truly spellbinding experience. This was at a cheesemaking class at Amore by Wegmans where chef de cuisine Pasquale Sorrentino showed guests how to make fresh mozzarella and ricotta.
It was a full room. Guests sipped wine and passed around plates of flat, crispy pizzas and sliced mozzarella drizzled in olive oil. I bit into the soft mozzarella that was creamy with just a touch of saltiness. It was as rich as the whole milk it came from. The ricotta was also airy and light, a far cry from the pasty version you might find in the refrigerated foods section.
We looked on as Sorrentino gently explained each step of the cheesemaking process, answering all kinds of questions from the group. Notably, cheese curd, one of the main ingredients, is not sold at Wegmans stores, “…but we’re working on it,” the chef assures. He recommends shopping from cheese vendors at the public market in the meantime.
Both recipes were shockingly simple (though for the sake of space I will only share the mozzarella steps here). It was a pleasure to watch and learn from the chef, who showed great warmth and hospitality to rookies like me.
Follow his recipe to try your hand at making it at home.
5 pounds cheese curd broken into
2 cups whole milk
4 cups water
2 ounces (by weight) kosher salt
Combine the milk, water, and salt in a pot and place over medium low heat. Prepare a cold salt water bath to submerge your fresh mozzarella balls. Water should be “salty like the ocean,” but not overly salty.
Use a kitchen thermometer to measure the temperature of the liquid. When it reaches 140–150 degrees, add the cheese curds. Use a wooden paddle or rubber spatula to periodically stir the mixture to keep the curds from sticking to the bottom of the pot. It will take several minutes for the temperature of the mixture to rise.
As the curds start to melt and stick together, wait until the temperature returns to 140–150 degrees. Then you can begin stretching. Drape some of the curd over the long handle of your spatula and begin to pull it as you would taffy. Resubmerge the curd and repeat the stretching until it has a smooth and slightly shiny consistency.
Remove the pot from the heat and have your cold saltwater bath nearby. Begin to form the curd into balls by pinching the bottom of each one from the rest of the curd. Place the mozzarella balls in the bath until you are ready to serve.
Bethany Bushen is a Rochester area freelance writer. Follow her at @BRBushen.