If it wasn’t already obvious from my last article, Why Mozzarella Cheese is the Perfect Ingredient for College Students, I love fresh mozzarella cheese. My sister and I took the liberty of taking a class on how to make this heavenly cheese at New York’s famous cheese shop, Murray’s Cheese. 

The Tasting

Emily Taub

First, we tried a plain mozzarella cheese curd (pictured above in the top-middle). The contrast between this and the next was stark solely due to the addition of salt. Going clockwise, the following cheese was stereotypical mozzarella.  

Next, we sampled the burrata: regular mozzarella stuffed with cream. On our tasting plate we were given sun-dried tomatoes, which complemented the burrata perfectly. Afterwards was buffalo mozzarella, which they import from Italy three times a week to keep up with the demand. 

Buffalo mozzarella is made from the fatty milk of a water buffalo and is only produced in Italy and Australia. Water buffalo are a bit tricky to milk; the manual way is when two people rub either side of it and a third person is milking it. The automatic way is when it stands between vertical spinning brushes (like a car wash) while being milked.  

Freshly-Made Mozzarella Cheese

Finally we moved on to the cooking portion of our class. Mozzarella cheese is easier to make than one could imagine. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Rip (or cut) the curd pieces up into cube sizes

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This allows the curds to warm up more evenly than a larger curd would have.

2. Pour hot water into the bowl with the curds

Emily Taub

The water should be around 120-130 degrees. Never pour the hot water directly onto the curds; pour around the side of the bowl so it trickles down to surround them.

Let this stand until the curds have warmed all the way through. Pour only the hot water into a different bowl or container for safe keeping. This liquid will later be used to store your mozzarella. 

3. Add salt

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Add 5-6 full-finger pinches of salt to the curds to give them their flavor.

Note: Adding a pinch or two of salt to the separated liquid can add flavor later on as well.

4. Pour even hotter water onto the curds

This water should be around 160 degrees; use the same method as Step 2 with pouring the water down the edges of the bowl. Let the curds sit for about two minutes to let them melt and soften. The goal is for the curd pieces to become form one huge glob.

Note: The water should be almost too hot to touch. If this is not the case, add more hot water.

5. Stretch the mass of curds out

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Emily Taub

When the curd pieces have all joined together, form your index and middle finger into a scissor shape and slowly pull a handful of the curds through them. This will smooth out the curd mass into a flat line.

Note: Make sure to continually dunk the mozzarella that you are working with in the water so that it stays moist and silky.

6. Roll up your mozzarella

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Take one end of the mozzarella line and hold it vertically (some may still be floating in the bowl of water). Begin rolling from the end until all of the mozzarella is rolled up like a croissant.

7. Poke the “croissant” of mozzarella through 

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Emily Taub

This part is a bit tricky. Take one hand and form a closed “C” with your thumb and index finger (have your other fingers stretched out so they don’t get in the way.) Place your croissant-shaped mozzarella on top of the “C” so that it rests over the hole. Poke it through the hole so that a large ball comes out from the bottom. 

8. Put the ball into the bowl of water that was separated earlier

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Immediately put the ball of mozzarella into its container with the separated liquid from Step 2 in order to keep it moist. 

9. Enjoy! 

Emily Taub

My whole life I have always thought that making mozzarella cheese was the most complicated process because of how smooth, unique, and flavorful it is. Now I finally understand what it takes to make fresh mozzarella: curds, hot water, and salt!