So as you all know, I am a freak about cheese. And what better way to indulge myself than to take a mozzarella making class? The Brooklyn Kitchen does a class where Roberto Caporuscio, the owner of Keste Pizzeria and Tia Keenan (my cheese idol) co-teach a class on the subject. There were about 12 people in the class, and Tia and Roberto were tag teaming, between talking about cheese producer’s rights to use unpasteurized milk and how one learns to make pizza in Naples. It was splendid.

So how did we (Roberto) do it? We started with curds. Curds are the milk solids, separated from the whey. Yes, technically you could start with fresh milk. However, most milk, as Tia explained, is pasteurized beyond a point of any real flavor, and is stabilized to make it harder to spoil, which is technically how curds form. As you may have remembered from my prior entry on cheese, it takes a lot of cow’s milk to get a decent amount of solids. So basically, long story short, it’s a waste of your time. You can buy curds from your local cheesemonger, if they make fresh mozzarella on site. Lucky for us, our local Italian market, Rosarios’s does. Keep in mind that the amount of curds you buy, you’ll end up with that much cheese. And keep in mind that mozzarella doesn’t keep for long. So you can start with a small quantity.

Roberto showed us how he makes the fresh mozzarella daily for his pizzas. You start with the curds in a large pot or bowl, and add in some salt for flavor. Next, you heat a pot of water to boiling and add it to the curds to let them melt. To get them to melt, you kind of have to stir them around and squish them to get the water to melt the curds into a gooey ball. Roberto did this with his bare hands. (Well, he had plastic gloves on, but still..freaky, considering how hot boiling water is.) From there, the melted curds are pulled and stretched. Mozzarella is a pasta filata cheese, which means the curds are pulled (Provolone is also a pasta filata cheese). Once it’s pulled, it is shaped into small balls and then stored in lukewarm water.

We made two types of mozzarella. The first was like a pinwheel loaf, with sun-dried tomatoes, basil and pancetta in it. The second were actual bocconcinis that we got to take home.

All in all, I was geeked out by getting to meet Tia Keenan, and walking from Brooklyn with a pocket full of mozzarella, cheesing (literally – ha!) the whole way back to Astoria. I thought $65 for the class was a great deal.

Christina and I tried to make Mozzarella with my landlord Maria. It wasn’t so zen-like, but fun. More on that later…

~ Dana

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