I had seen on Facebook that Saxelby Cheesemongers had started to sell mozzarella curd to make your own fresh mozzarella. They got the curd from Caputo Brothers Creamery. It comes frozen and is $17 for the package (which I believe is about one pound…a bit expensive since you get less than a pound of cheese out of it). I had been inspired from looking at the instructions to try my hand at this because it seemed so darn easy. Dr. Awesome went to the Essex Street Market where Saxelby’s shop is and picked up a bag.
The instructions say to have two bowls: One that holds the curds and another filled with cold water for when the cheese is molded into balls to keep their shape. I broke the curds up into nickel- and dime-sized pieces and added about 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt to mix into the curds. Dr. Awesome then heated up water to between 170-180 degrees F and poured just enough water into the bowl to cover the curds.
I then used the flattened wooden spoon to gently stir the curds until they came together. Once together, I started pushing them lightly against the side of the bowl, letting the cheese drop down naturally. I did this until I had a smooth texture.
The fun part (and the sort of awkward and kind of hard part) is forming them into balls. You have to put a big lump of it between the space of your thumb and index finger and just squeeze. Then break it to the desired size, like so.
After, I put them in the cold water so that when I was ready to cut them (literally, like 2 minutes later), they held their shape.
The fresh cheese was accompanied by some amazing tomatoes we got at the Tompkins Square Park Farmers Market and some basil. We sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper over the sliced cheese.
Our mozzarella was just so warm and tasty. It reminded us of when we went to dinner for Dr. Awesome’s birthday at Torrisi Italian Specialties and they made fresh mozzarella to order. Nothing really beats that.
Since these curds were REALLY expensive, we found another place in the city that sells them for about $6 per pound: Todaro Bros. We’re going to try these curds out and see how they compare. If they’re just as good, we’ll be making our own fresh mozzarella from now on. The whole process takes about 10 minutes total (more just waiting for the water to get up to temp). It’s cheaper than going out and buying a pound of fresh mozzarella, which can cost about $10 or more at certain stores. This was actually a million times easier than making fresh ricotta or feta cheese!
By the way, this cheese will probably be added to our Thanksgiving menu as an appetizer. (Yup, need to start thinking about THAT already.)