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Mozzarella: What's the good stuff?

I just ate a pizza sub and the mozzarella cheese on it was awesome. I've had amazing pizzas that had the same amazing cheese. I've made pizzas with liberal amounts of mozzarella. I usually use whatever packet of shredded mozzarella from Publix we have in the fridge. But I've also used fresh soft balls of mozzarella too and those can get chewy from my experience. 

I'm finally going to ask the smart people. What mozzarella do I need to start using and what should I avoid? What's the most amazing mozzarella? And, what am I potentially doing that might be ruining my mozzarella?  
XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
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Comments

  • Don't use the pre-shredded stuff. It contains a caking agent. 

    Read this:  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/02/the-pizza-lab-the-best-low-moisture-mozzarella-for-pizzas.html

    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 15,084
    edited December 2016
    Fresh Buffalo mozzarella from Italy is the good stuff. It's made from water buffalo milk and is the creamy melty blobs on a lot of high end pizza and subs.

    You can find fresh local (cows milk) mozz in most decent stores and it's a serviceable substitute. Fresh mozzarella comes in balls (like this size of a lemon or so) sometimes its in a tub in water, others it's in tight plastic wrap. You would slice this, not grate it. 

    If you want to use shredded, always buy the best you can find in a block or wedge and shred it yourself. Shredded cheese in the bag starts with commodity cheese and has all kinds of anti caking agents added to it. It's garbage. 
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,311
    im a fan of going to the deli section and having them cut me a block to take home to shred. im seeing my supermarket selling shredded stuff without the caking agents but its dryer than just shredding it yourself.
  • Fresh mozzarella looks like this when you buy it:



    And like this when melted on something


    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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  • RRPRRP Posts: 19,772
    edited December 2016
    I think freshness is the key and that's why when I take the mere 30 minutes to make a ball of it that is the best money can buy. For use on a pizza I then cut some into strips and then use an egg slicer to get uniform thickness in my pieces to dot my pizzas.



    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • RRP said:
    I think freshness is the key and that's why when I take the mere 30 minutes to make a ball of it that is the best money can buy. For use on a pizza I then cut some into strips and then use an egg slicer to get uniform thickness in my pieces to dot my pizzas.


    Wait, you can make mozzarella in 30 minutes? From scratch (whole milk I presume)? 
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • im a fan of going to the deli section and having them cut me a block to take home to shred. im seeing my supermarket selling shredded stuff without the caking agents but its dryer than just shredding it yourself.
    And it's already in a bag. You can't see it, smell it etc. you can grab a taste from your deli person to see which one is best. Plus Who knows what grade of cheese they started with before they bagged it up.
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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  • RRPRRP Posts: 19,772
    RRP said:
    I think freshness is the key and that's why when I take the mere 30 minutes to make a ball of it that is the best money can buy. For use on a pizza I then cut some into strips and then use an egg slicer to get uniform thickness in my pieces to dot my pizzas.


    Wait, you can make mozzarella in 30 minutes? From scratch (whole milk I presume)? 
    Sure can!

    30 Minute Mozzarella


    This is a summary of a recipe from a library book entitled Recipes For All Types Of Cheese - Recipe recap and revisions by RRP - Dunlap, IL


    Ingredients needed:


    1 gallon whole milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized

    ¼ teaspoon  liquid rennet (or ¼ rennet tablet) diluted in ¼ cup cool, unchlorinated water

    1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional) BTW un-idolized Kosher salt is a fine substitute.

    2 level teaspoons citric acid (powder)


    Method:


    1. Add citric acid to milk and mix thoroughly


    2. heat the milk to 88° - I used my Thermapen


    3. gently stir in the diluted rennet using an up and down motion and continue heating to 105°. Turn off heat and let curd set for a few minutes – I let it go for 4 minutes - Secret here is to stop stirring - otherwise it will break up - you want it solid!


    4. The curds should look like thick yogurt. If the whey is still milky white instead of yellowish wait a few more minutes.


    5. scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon into a 2 quart microwaveable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey.


    6. microwave the curds for 1 minute on high. Drain off the whey and quickly work the hot cheese into a ball with a spoon or your hands using rubber gloves for protection.


    7. microwave two more times for 35 seconds each time draining off the whey and working the cheese OR for it to be more creamy then just one microwave period for 35 seconds is better!


    8.  knead the cheese quickly like bread dough until it is smooth. Sprinkle on the salt if desired while kneading and stretching. When the cheese stretches like taffy it is done, but if the curds break you need to reheat them again.


    9. when the cheese is smooth and shiny it is ready to eat. If you want to eat it later cover it and refrigerate.


    Yield: ¾ to 1 pound - Use of the by product of whey is a whole other topic!!!


    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • Good stuff Ron. It's a lot of fun too and you can make ricotta out of the remaining whey if you are in to that kind of thing. And if you make your own cheese, you clearly are :)

    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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  • RRPRRP Posts: 19,772

    RRP said:



    This is the cheese made from the solids in the milk - note the line of how much whey is left out of that gallon.
    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • Good stuff Ron. It's a lot of fun too and you can make ricotta out of the remaining whey if you are in to that kind of thing. And if you make your own cheese, you clearly are :)

    Holy cow. I am definitely into that kind of thing. My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. I'm definitely going to get into homemade mozzarella now! 
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 15,084
    edited December 2016
    Good stuff Ron. It's a lot of fun too and you can make ricotta out of the remaining whey if you are in to that kind of thing. And if you make your own cheese, you clearly are :)

    Holy cow. I am definitely into that kind of thing. My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. I'm definitely going to get into homemade mozzarella now! 
    Bet you never thought you were headed down this path when you asked your original question :). You went from shredded crap in a bag to making your own in under an hour!

    IT's really fun and even more fun to tell everyone you make your own cheese. You will get some funny looks for sure. 
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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  • BotchBotch Posts: 4,902
    MisterCode said:
    My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. 
    Interesting, where do you purchase such milk?
     
    Regarding fresh mozz, some you can buy in tubs, the cheese is in small, marble-sized spheres.  If you get this style, make sure to cut the spheres in half, or they'll roll off the pie when you "snap" it onto your stone (and mozz smoke is NOT good smoke).  From personal experience. :o   
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 6,960
    I used this the first time I made fresh moz now I just buy the rennet and citric acid as needed 

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003XLWTIO/ref=mp_s_a_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1482860374&sr=8-2&keywords=mozzarella+cheese+making+kit&pi=SY200_QL40

    -----------------------------------------


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 19,772
    Botch said:
    MisterCode said:
    My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. 
    Interesting, where do you purchase such milk?
     
    Regarding fresh mozz, some you can buy in tubs, the cheese is in small, marble-sized spheres.  If you get this style, make sure to cut the spheres in half, or they'll roll off the pie when you "snap" it onto your stone (and mozz smoke is NOT good smoke).  From personal experience. :o   
    Here I can only buy such milk from two stores so you may have to search for it. Try a health food store or a speciality food store maybe there in Ogden.
    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 1,764
    edited December 2016
    I agree with all of the above about the greatness of homemade mozzarella. It's a load of fun and easy to do.  It took me a couple of tries to figure it out - but it's worth the little bit of trouble. 
    Central Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok
  • RRP said:
    Botch said:
    MisterCode said:
    My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. 
    Interesting, where do you purchase such milk?
     
    Regarding fresh mozz, some you can buy in tubs, the cheese is in small, marble-sized spheres.  If you get this style, make sure to cut the spheres in half, or they'll roll off the pie when you "snap" it onto your stone (and mozz smoke is NOT good smoke).  From personal experience. :o   
    Here I can only buy such milk from two stores so you may have to search for it. Try a health food store or a speciality food store maybe there in Ogden.
    Farmers markets are now a haven for non pasteurized dairy stuff too. 
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
    2 Large BGE
    1 MiniMax BGE
    1 Karubecue C60 (aka-"The Dishwasher")
    More accessories than TFJ knows about and one more purchase from mandatory counciling
  • Botch said:
    MisterCode said:
    My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. 
    Interesting, where do you purchase such milk?
     
    Regarding fresh mozz, some you can buy in tubs, the cheese is in small, marble-sized spheres.  If you get this style, make sure to cut the spheres in half, or they'll roll off the pie when you "snap" it onto your stone (and mozz smoke is NOT good smoke).  From personal experience. :o   

    Here's what's in the fridge now:


    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 8,797
    Costco has this stuff. Excellent mozzarella at a great price. 

    https://goo.gl/images/hCsJSg

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 10,741
    Pretty sure regular pasteurized milk is fine for this. It's the ULTRA pasteurized stuff that doesn't work well (or at all). It's heated to a higher temp. 

    I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded... dead.

                                                      Woody Allen

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,436
    Botch said:
    MisterCode said:
    My wife swears by raw whole milk, non pasteurized, non homogenized. So we always have a gallon on hand. 
    Interesting, where do you purchase such milk?
     
    Regarding fresh mozz, some you can buy in tubs, the cheese is in small, marble-sized spheres.  If you get this style, make sure to cut the spheres in half, or they'll roll off the pie when you "snap" it onto your stone (and mozz smoke is NOT good smoke).  From personal experience. :o   
    @Botch Natural Grocers in southern utah sells raw milk, they do make you sign a waiver for it though.
  • GlennMGlennM Posts: 561
    Pretty sure regular pasteurized milk is fine for this. It's the ULTRA pasteurized stuff that doesn't work well (or at all). It's heated to a higher temp. 

    Is this correct?  ^^^^
    In the bush just East of Cambridge,Ontario 
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 1,764
    GlennM said:
    Pretty sure regular pasteurized milk is fine for this. It's the ULTRA pasteurized stuff that doesn't work well (or at all). It's heated to a higher temp. 

    Is this correct?  ^^^^
    Yes. He is correct. It is my experience however that some milk labled pasteurized has actually been taken to temperatures nearing ultra pasteurized. The end result is not all milk labled pasteurized ends up making cheese. Sellers do this for safety concerns and longer shelf life. What this means for you is it may be necessary to try several brands of milk in order to find the one that makes cheese well. 
    Central Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 10,741
    @SciAggie thanks for the clarification. 

    I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded... dead.

                                                      Woody Allen

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • Where do you find rennet and citric acid?
    Two Large Eggs, 36" Blackstone, 6 gal Cajun Fryer, and a MiniMax in SE Florida - My New Table
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  • Citric acid can be found in the canning aisle of most grocery stores. I buy rennet at ModernistPantry.com. You can get CA there too but it's super cheap at the grocery store. 
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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  • Sea2SkiSea2Ski Posts: 1,746
    I have to try this. I have meaning to do this for about a year the last time this topic was discussed in depth, but never got around to it. I just have to do it.

    What can you do with the whey? (I do not like ricotta) Is there something else? Or does that really require a separate discussion?
    --------------------------------------------------
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    Burning lump in Downingtown, PA or diesel in Cape May, NJ.
    ....just look for the smoke!
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  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 1,496
    Sea2Ski said:
    I have to try this. I have meaning to do this for about a year the last time this topic was discussed in depth, but never got around to it. I just have to do it.

    What can you do with the whey? (I do not like ricotta) Is there something else? Or does that really require a separate discussion?
    Use for risotto, oatmeal, rice or beans instead of pure water
    soup broth for cream-style soups
    soaking liquids for beans and grains
    ice cream or sorbet
    biscuits, bread, and pizza crust
    smoothies instead of dry whey powder
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 15,409
    Color me lazy. I buy it from the market and haven't been disappointed in the least. I've grown found of the fresh pearls in evoo with herbs or even the 4pk of fresh log style presliced portions. At some time I may dive into making my own. 
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 1,496

    SciAggie said:
    GlennM said:
    Pretty sure regular pasteurized milk is fine for this. It's the ULTRA pasteurized stuff that doesn't work well (or at all). It's heated to a higher temp. 

    Is this correct?  ^^^^
    Yes. He is correct. It is my experience however that some milk labled pasteurized has actually been taken to temperatures nearing ultra pasteurized. The end result is not all milk labled pasteurized ends up making cheese. Sellers do this for safety concerns and longer shelf life. What this means for you is it may be necessary to try several brands of milk in order to find the one that makes cheese well. 
    Not all milk that is ultra-pasteurized is clearly labeled as such.  Check the fine print on the label. UHP or UP are sometimes all that is printed on the label.
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
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