Ok, so Daniel and I thought we’d apply the lessons from Round 1.
What we discovered is that (1) We learned some of the wrong lessons & (2) even though everything seems to go outrageously wrong we ended up with a tasty product!
Daniel was enthusiastic enough when I said that it was about time that we used the cheese curd I had gotten with Alexis in the Italian section of the Bronx on Wednesday. We were going to make fresh Mozzarella this morning. Torri on the the other hand was quite skeptical. From the look on my wife’s face I could see the thought process in her head: “The likelihood of success here is so near zero here I’m just going to laugh at you two idiots when this all goes oh so very wrong.”
Given my propensity to dive into something head first without all the details, she was, of course, right to be skeptical.
You need 3 things to make mozzarella: water ( hot and warm ), cheese curd, and salt.
If you have never seen Mozzarella made fresh, I should tell you that it is like three parts pure artisan craft acquired over many many many trials and errors as well as one part the art of managing hot water. Boiling hot water. With cheese curd, salt, and your hands. In your hands. Did I mention that the water is really really hot?
There’s no way that being good at this is going to be a first time event. Torri is totally right about that. I’ve spent some time watching Alexis’ Uncle Joe ( via this most excellent video from her Village of NYC Sunday Dinner Blog ) make the “Mutz”, but there can be no substitute for actually getting engaged in the process.
A note to people like me who hate to plan in advance for anything: take the time to go to grocery store and buy some 3 layer rubber gloves BEFORE you actually start the process. For starters you’re going to need them. Secondly, you can avoid having your wife make fun of you as you head out to the store mid process.
Notes from today ->
1. You need to use way more than 4 quarts of Boiling water. Alexis thinks ( and I agree ) that as the water cools the cheese gets more rubbery. We found that the last ball we made ( the first one we tasted ) to be quite rubbery – good tasting but rubbery, kind of like string cheese. The second ball we made, not so much and the first ball not at all. She’s going to check with Uncle Joe. In the mean time I’m going to use way more boiling water for the folding process.
2. We could have probably used a little more salt ( although the cheese tastes great ).
3. The video chronicles our little adventure this morning. As the process starts to appear to be working, Torri drops her skeptical stance and offers up that she’s “pretty sure we have some tomato and fresh basil in the fridge…”