Mozzarella di Bufala, A unique cheese
Legend has it that the renamed Mediterranean Italian Buffalo was brought in Italy by the Saracens in the Middle Ages, when they settled in Sicily and Campania to plunder monasteries and cities in the Italian peninsula. However, when the Lombards in 915 defeated the Saracens, they held for themselves these profits and strong animals, and they most likely learned from the monks prisoners of the moors the art of processing the milk according to the Saracen use. Myths aside, however, it is now accepted by the entire world that from this extremely nutritious milk comes one of the freshest and noblest cheeses in the already rich Italian Dairy panorama. Let’s see specifically how it’s created by the Campania masters, whom for centuries have remained faithful to the original recipe.
The result of this process is a compound called rather compact curd, which once ready is "broken" with a suitable wooden stick said “ruotolo” and cut into slices. After the breaking, the curd is left to acidify first under serum. In artisanal manufacturing the acidification cycle lasts on average 3-4 hours; However, sometimes these processes continue even up to 8 hours. Among other things, the duration of acidification of the curd in the whey is one of the process variables that most affect the quality of Mozzarella. At this point the right degree of ripening is determined by dissolving 100 g of pastry in hot water, and trying to work it and pull it until it’s one meter long. If it stands and stretches out into continuous filaments it can be considered ready for spinning. This is instead the processing phase that has the most influence on the consistency of the finished product and on the processing yield.
In the traditional process the spinning of the pastry is still carried out manually. The dough is cut into thin slices with a mince-curd and placed in a vat of wood in which is melted by the addition of boiling water. Subsequently, with the aid of suitable tools, which in traditional practice are constituted by a bowl and a wooden stick, the melted pastry must be risen and pulled, up to obtain a homogeneous and polished mixture. The stretched curd is then manipulated with great care and experience, following all the typical movements of this process handed down over the centuries between generations of cheesemakers. Finally, the now ready Mozzarella is immersed in saline solutions at different concentrations, and finally left to rest in the so-called liquid, in order to balance the salt concentration. A detailed and well-established process, which originates from a dairy product that has become the international symbol of Made in Italy, a cheese that can lend itself to many recipes and above all to reign even today, after more than a millennium, not only on Italian tables but on the entire planet.