Fresh Mozzarella
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Mozzarella is a fresh & stringy cheese with a porcelain-white color. It has an extremely thin rind and a delicate taste. When cut, it produces a white watery fluid with the aroma of milk enzymes. In addition to the typical small round Bocconcini, it is also produced in plaits or braids and larger baseball-sized balls.

In North America, you may see Mozzarella marketed as "Buffalo Mozzarella" which is a term that should apply specifically to a fresh cheese made from Buffalo milk.  

Most of our domestic mozzarella will be of the cow's milk variety because the Bison just won't stand still for milking. That being said, domestic cow's milk mozzarella can be a tremendous treat.

Production

Making Fresh Mozzarella is a very fast process. The milk is taken in, curdled, then drained to eliminate the whey. Then the curd is cut into small pieces and ground up in a sort of primitive mill. Often the curd is put into a mold and dunked in hot water to reduce crumbling before  being stirred to an elastic, rubbery dough-like texture that the cheesemaker will knead by hand to achieve a smooth, shiny paste that can be worked.

Strands are pulled out and cut forming the individual mozzarella, which in turn are put in cold water and then brine to soak and absorb salt. "Mozzare" actually means to "cut off" in Italian.  Mozzarella, prepared in the evening is ready the next morning, soft and mushy when cut but also fibrous & elastic and oozing freshness & rich flavor.

Purchasing

Mozzarella comes in a variety of shapes. Small balls called Bocconcini (little bites), plumper baseball-sized orbs and plaited braids are all mozzarella forms and can weigh anywhere from one ounce to twenty ounces.

The best Mozzarellas are fresh products and should be eaten within days, if not hours of its production. Indications of freshness include:

•An elastic consistency.
•A tight smooth surface.
•A humid product that is neither too dry or too wet.
•Pure white color without yellowish spots.
•When poked gently it should not be soft nor rubbery.
•Once sliced open it should have a grainy surface.
•Pearls of Milky Whey should seep out of it when it is cut.
•And it should melt in your mouth.

Culinary Uses

Fresh: Inevitably a bit of the good mozzarella never makes it to a dish and is "sampled" for quality control before actual use. If served fresh, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and some ground salt and/or pepper augment the product. Fresh, It is also a strong complement to Mediterranean herbs like Basil or Oregano and ripe garden grown vegetables like summer tomatoes.

Many Mediterranean dishes (pizza, pasta, panninicrostini, vegetables) are terrific showcases for a fine, fresh Mozzarella. 

Some Italian variants include:

•Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad), where a Mozzarella Slice supports a tomato slice, basil and a drizzle of olive oil
•Diced in Salads
•In Carroza (in a "Carriage" in Italian) or between two slices of bread, in Campania the combination is often battered and fried.
•Stirred into hot or cold pasta dishes, or into vegetable dishes.
•Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmigian)
•Atop  Crostinis (toasted bread slice, open face) (best if drained in a colander before use to prevent soggy bread).
•In Pizzas or Calzones (best if drained in a colander before use to prevent soggy crust). Though in Italy they have a drier mozzarella just for pizza.
•In Foccacia (best if drained in a colander before use to prevent soggy foccacia).
Kebab Style, skewered and grilled with vegetables and bread topped with sauce. A traditional Roman Antipasto uses an Anchovy Sauce.
 

If you are lucky enough to come across a source of consistent, fresh Mozzarella maximize your enjoyment. As Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is quoted to have said “A meal without cheese is like a pretty woman without an eye.”

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes