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Italian food excellences: how is buffalo milk mozzarella made?

Last week Italian Traditions introduced you to the delicious world of buffalo milk mozzarella, an Italian gastronomic excellence known all over the world. This Made in Italy product has enviable characteristics that make it one of the tastiest and healthiest foods in Mediterranean cuisine. Its production takes place only in certain areas of Italy and follows a well-defined procedure. Do you know how is buffalo milk mozzarella made? Let’s find out!

The production process of buffalo milk mozzarella

Before explaining how buffalo milk mozzarella is made, it is necessary to point out that this Made in Italy product‘s specification features high quality raw milk with the addition of whey, which gives the finished product that characteristic taste. From an organoleptic standpoint, buffalo milk mozzarella must have the following qualities: weight from 30 g to 600, globular shape, smooth and shiny surface; very thin crust, porcelain white color, homogenous texture.

How is buffalo milk mozzarella made? All the steps

The milk for cheese making must contain at least 7,2% of fats and at least 4,2% of proteins and its processing must take place within 60 hours from milking.

Filtering: raw milk is filtered to remove potential foreign matter. 

Insemenzamento: it is the addition of whey, which is the serum of the Buffalo milk obtained in the previous day of processing. The insemenzamento must happen between 35°C and 39°C. In non-DOP mozzarella ferments starters are used, mainly termophilic ones, which mends that they resist even to higher temperatures up to about 45°C. The starter is essential because through it, the casaro (cheesemaker) can increase the level of acidity of the milk through the production of lactic acid so as to her with coagulation and subsequent draining of the curd. 

come si fa la mozzarella di bufala - italiantraditions
Source: Qualivita

Coagulation: following the heating of the milk at a temperature of about 330°C, calf rennet is added, which allows for the separation of the solid part (curd) from the liquid (serum). The rennet must have a percentage of pepsine that ranges from 20% to 30%. The coagulation is carried out in about 30 minutes.

Breaking of the curd: it happens by decreasing the cheese lumps dimension to that of a few cm through a tool called “spino”.

Serum extraction: in this phase a part of the serum is removed to be then used in the making of ricotta, whilst in the remaining part of serum the curd is immersed so that it can continue with the acidification. Acidification is essential because it allows the cheese lump to have the ideal features for the spinning stage. In fact, after this step the curd is cut in thin slices and moved on to the most important stage for kneaded-dough cheeses. 

Spinning and shaping: the aim of the spinning in boiling water is to replace the serum with fusion water which allows to clean the curd and remove the sour taste that the serum brings. This stage varies according to the pH and calcium content. In the pH range between 5 and 4.8 you get a good base for spinning as well as a good cohesion. The percentage of calcium tends to increase during the spinning phase going from about 55% to 85% at the end of the process. This happens because acidification leads to demineralisation and as a result the release of calcium. 

Empirical spinning test: the cheesemakers crumble the curd with their hands and melt it in hot water at a temperature of 95°C. With a wooden stick they stir the molten curd until a continuous thread that does not break is obtained. When you get to this consistency, the curd is ready to be spun. 

come si fa la mozzarella di bufala - italiantraditions
Source: Fattorie Garofalo

Cutting (mozzatura): when the dough is ready, the cheesemakers take a piece of the paste and works it with their hands so as to obtain a spherical shape. Another person starts with the cutting, which means that he/she breaks with their hands the buffalo milk mozzarella, giving it that typical shape.

Cooling off: the cooling of the cheese in fresh water so as to compact the mozzarella and make it stable in terms of aspect.

Salting: it happens in brine for about 30 minutes.

Storing: the preserving liquid changes from cheese factory to cheese factory. Generally it is composed of water from spinning to which sodium chloride and watered sour serum are added. 

Buffalo milk mozzarella’s features

Buffalo milk mozzarella is not only good in taste but could also be looked at as functional food that can reduce the risk of developing a variety of diseases. Moreover, it is a great source of proteins with high biological value, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, A and E as well as mineral salts, especially calcium and phosphorus; it is low in sodium which makes it also a good option for those who suffer from water retention. It contains average cholesterol values that do not go over 50/60 mg for 100g of product (the maximum quantity advised by the World Health Organisation is 300 mg/day), so lower than the levels contained in meat and eggs. Its calorific value is about 257 kcal/100g. 

Featured image: Ristorazione Italiana

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