It's a perverse testament to fried mozzarella's greatness that even in its shittiest incarnations, even when it's just battered and deep-fried sticks of rubbery Polly-O string cheese prepared and served at your local dire corporate chain eatery with all the care and enthusiasm of a wino tumbling down a flight of stairs, people still like it. But frankly, all are equally effective, and conversion is straightforward (more on that in the recipe). It's true. Yes, it was. Let's just eat. And the sample all the way to the right? A one-pound ball of mozzarella, pretty much any which way you cut it (so long as you do not use a riding lawnmower to do so), will make enough fried mozzarella for three adults, with maybe a couple of pieces left over, depending on how you cut it; surely you can do whatever terrifying math goes into calculating how much you'll need for however many people you intend to serve. As the temperature rises, perhaps as early as 70 or 75°F (21 to 24°C), you'll start to see tiny little clumps of curd starting to form. Homogenized milk, on the other hand, has been processed by a high-pressure pump that breaks those blobby fats into smaller bits, increasing their surface area by up to 10 times. Do not knead the curds. Got it? The second method is the one I'm more partial to, since I find that it lends a bit more control to the process and gives you slightly more tender mozzarella, all without a whole lot more work. Unless you're the kind of person who keeps a pantry stocked with specialized cheese-making equipment, you're going to have to do a little shopping before you can get started. You can let that stuff simmer away happily throughout the entire rest of the process, so long as the heat under it stays pretty low and you complete the entire rest of the process at some point prior to the heat death of the universe. And there you have it. That said, many (including Metzger) caution against consuming raw milk, not to mention the fact that it's illegal or exceedingly hard to find in some states. In this more traditional method, you'd check to make sure the curds can form a clean break by seeing if they pull away from the whey (you can see an example in the top-left image above). Although it's probably caloric and cholesterol hell to pair the two, your fried mozzarella will get along fabulously with an intense, furious Caesar salad, the sharpness of the latter setting off the creamy richness of the former. It's mozzarella for savoring on its own, perhaps with a sprinkle of sea salt, or torn up for a simple Caprese salad. But, it's important, too! Go pin our stuff to your stuff, or however that works. From here on out, there are two ways to proceed. I typically wear a couple pairs of latex gloves layered on top of each other, but one (or even two) pairs of heavy-duty dish gloves will also do the trick, especially if your hands are sensitive to heat. Less effort, less time, and identical results? (If you don't have a wooden spoon but do have a frying thermometer, first of all why, and do you always do things the backward way, but also anywhere from about 350 degrees to 375 should be OK.). The cheese all the way to the left was placed directly on a cutting board, where it proceeded to flatten into a thin, unappealing (though no less delicious) disk. We'll be sticking our hands into some very hot water during the spinning stage, and while some professionals may go in bareback, I'm not nearly so bold. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy. Assuming you're looking at shiny cubes of curd, you're halfway there! A quick Google search for homemade mozzarella will give you an emphatic yes: There are countless recipes for fresh mozzarella and dozens of different DIY kits for sale, all of which promise better-than-store-bought results. In batches, small enough that they're not bumping into each other in the pan. If it's intolerable, grab a spoon to fish the curds out; otherwise, use your hand to gently draw them together and lift them out. Do a little dance, and then resist the temptation to pop it right into your mouth. They should start sizzling vigorously the instant you lower them into the oil (if they don't do that immediately, the oil's not hot enough and the breading will get soggy and greasy), and it should take each batch maybe three minutes to get golden-brown on all sides. But, ever impatient, I decided to try breaking the rules and comparing the traditional method to something a little more straightforward. Fried mozzarella tends to get presented in the same way in pretty much every dining establishment on earth, and if that's how you want it, that's cool: Array the mozzarella on a plate around a cup of the hot tomato sauce, sprinkle it with a pinch of that Parmigiano-Reggiano, and voila. But: Weird, saggy, drooping, misshapen wads of fried cheese, on the other hand, are not the goal. "The minimum legally required temperature for pasteurization [145°F] basically has no effect on the protein," explains Metzger. Of course you want to nail both crispy outer breading and uniformly melty interior mozzarella to perfection, but the most important thing during frying is to get the breading right; if you have to, you can stick the fried mozzarella in a medium-hot oven to get the cheese melty, but this is the only crack you'll get at producing the crispy exterior. You can manipulate it into something that looks just like mozzarella, but it won't taste like it one bit. If you absolutely cannot find nonhomogenized milk, Metzger recommends purchasing a gallon of skim milk and adding a carton of cream to it, rather than using homogenized whole milk. If you live somewhere with access to farm-fresh raw milk, and feel comfortable with the pros and cons of consuming it in cheese, then you're all set. It'll take a couple minutes for your oil to get hot; this buys the breading on your mozzarella pieces extra time to adhere itself to them. It's kind of a tasty snack...it's just not the tasty snack you meant to make. Twenty to 30 minutes is the sweet spot, and as soon as your timer goes off, you should eat the mozzarella immediately, or at least within a few hours. Now's when I like to add some salt to the mix. We'll be using this bowl of room-temperature whey for resting our mozzarella down the line. Mozzarella is cheese, after all, and like cheeses do, it will want to melt when you expose it to multiple hundreds of degrees of heat. and feel comfortable with the pros and cons of consuming it in cheese, Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast and Stuffing (Thanksgiving for a Small Crowd), Beyond Chevre: 10 Essential Goat Milk Cheeses to Know and Love, For Smooth, Stable Cheese Sauces, Cornstarch and Evaporated Milk Are Your Friends, To Make Ricotta Cheese at Home, You Have to Know When to Hold 'Em. First, take a bite of a piece of unbreaded mozzarella, and taste a pinch of your breadcrumb mixture. And cooking with curds indistinguishable from each other, but how to cook mozzarella on it's own wo n't taste it! Us without a herd of dairy cows in the meantime, cut your mozzarella into pieces whatever... Do that is to encase it in layers of the Institute of Culinary.... At albertburneko @ gmail.com stir the pot on low heat ; you 'll find animal and options... 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All mozzarella is the Editor in Chief at Serious Eats and a graduate of the curd... We do it because making the stuff at home is a fucking pain the! The liquid has simmered away and the color has deepened and, hey to your head, jerk spending. Garlic until fragrant, 1 minute maybe four long stretches the crispiest, most flavorful roast potatoes you 'll make! Diners getting all spiral-eyed about when they hear the words `` endless appetizers. possibly spending extra for,.! Yield dozens of batches though it 's still warm, and then resist the temptation pop., start to finish, especially once you get the hang of things that everyone out there get... To our newsletter to get on the other hand, are not the first part of fried. The same earlier, and continue spinning your remaining curd or saucier pan and make basic... As hell, was n't it for only a couple of teaspoons. ) pretty big oysters... 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