The Naples-based delicacy "Mozzarella in Carrozza" consists of mozzarella cheese that is enveloped in bread, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, then fried often along with a filet of anchovies for a bit of salt. Inspired by a friend Nicola Cavallini on my Facebook post, I made this batch at work.
My friend Domenico is a great educator on Italian cheese. One recent night, he introduced me to some fabulous bufala mozzarella while teaching a class at Serafina restaurant, specifically exploring this wonderful Italian cheese.
Made in Italy's Campania region, close to Naples, Salerno and Caserta, mozzarella di bufala comes designated with an official Italian stamp that certifies is was produced in this area. Like other famed Italian cheeses (like parmigiano, asiago, and gorgonzola), the Campana trademark has a protection status. As sold and eaten in this country, the so called "mozzarella" is more often "fiore di latte," a cows' milk cheese. Though similar in shape to bufala mozzarella, it is not genuine "mozzarella, though it is used for pizza and, unfortunately, mistakenly substituted for the infamous Caprese salad of tomato, basil and... mozzarella! But there's distinct taste and textural differences between these two cheeses.
Using samples from Ace Endico, an importer planning to package a line of bufala mozzarella called "Sole," Domenico started the evening by warning us with this rule: "Never serve cold bufala mozzarella." He then placed it in a pot of heated water, allowing it to sit there for three minutes. To my palate, the warmed cheese tasted as if it were just made, the whey wonderfully creamy and delicate. I wondered why so many restaurants often serve mozzarella di bufala straight from the cold of refrigeration. Domenico pointed out that warming smoked bufala mozzarella will enhances the smoking process. The lesson of the evening about mozzarella, "Chill out! Bring on the warmth!" Give it a little heat, and this cheese will reward you with delight.
My recent attempts at making goatzzarella came up shy, leading less to a nice shiny ball, it came out less close to mozzarella than to caciocavallo cheese. So when Coach Farm tweeted me asking for a sample made from their milk, I tried another batch. With experience guiding me a bit about tweaking temperature and process, the second batch yielded something much better. And as a byproduct I made some ricotta (or rigoatta). Can't wait to try it with some tomatoes or on a pizza!
I'm trying to make goatzzarella, a goat milk version of mozzarella. I had the curds set and whey , but it wasn't quite right in temperature. Still, I'll give this idea another run, with a good source for milk from Coach Farm.
Every season at work - whether spring or autumn, I change my kitchen's menu. For a winter menu, I put together a cold weather appetizer of goat-cheese cheese cake. Sporting pomergranate, pears and micro greens,the base is basically a half-and-half mixture of cream cheese and goat cheese, with a couple eggs. For a mold, I used just a muffin tin lined with panko bread crumbs, and pre-baked it to a golden color. Pour in the goat cheese appareil and bake real quick at 350 F for about ten minutes, Voila!
Cheese - For me, it's one of the final frontiers in food processing, or just a good excuse to make my own. Last year on a whim, I bought a bottle of rennet at Murray's Cheese. A liquid that is extracted from the stomach lining of cows, sheeps or goats. The complex enzymes(protease) are what coagulates the milk in cheese production, seperating the curds and whey. In this case, mozzarella, which can be made with cows milk, but also with goats milk. A version described by Canadian Chef Derek Damman calls "goatzarella." It didn't turn out so well as my first cheese project.
More recently I decided to finally make some mozzarella. I started with milk from a huge bulk grocery supplier. It's good to use local, and while pasteurized is okay, avoid ultra-pasteurized. I failed somewhere in my first attempt. And so instead of my curds coagulating perfectly, the first batch turned into a bad version of ricotta. But I would not be deterred and went out for new basics; using New Jersey milk, local enough, not overly pasteurized, and well..success!
Footnote: My fathers family were dairy men, I still have the dairy boxes with the name Shapiro and son's, this feels like full circle, cheese, milk......