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Hand Pulled Mozzarella

Hand Pulled Mozzarella

The final product (photo by K.K.)

Katie Kwan | Chef's Blade

So I found this recipe in the “Cooking School” part of Gourmet magazine. I have long hoped for a instructional “how-to” section, and my prayers have been answered.

I used to read pieces telling me that I hadn’t truly tasted Mozzarella until I had eaten it fresh out of the cheesemaker’s hands, seconds old. So naturally, I wanted this experience. As we are in a recession, I decided to forego the $1,500 flight to Italy and buy a $6.49 gallon of Organic Strauss Creamery Milk instead. Though I missed out on in-flight peanuts, I was able to dig my teeth into fresh mozzarella, as if it were any apple.

Hand Pulled Mozzarella- (Makes a scant pound or 4 disks, 3-4 inches in diameter, 1-2 inches high)


You need time and attention to detail. The milk must be kept at a luke warm 88-91 degrees F, by heating it on and off the flame. There is no “set-to-simmer and leave” scenario here. This is simply a “stand-over-the-stove-with-some-red-wine” detente you play with your brew. You will do this for 2 hours and then you will rest for however long you can hold out on forming the cheese (at least 3 hours). You will then melt the cheese curds in scalding water until your hands hurt and full them to form clouds of cheese.


You need an instant thermometer, a thick 6 quart pot, cheesecloth, rubberband, some string. These are more or less non-negotiable. Plastic heat resistant gloves if you are a wuss (for cheese pulling).

TOTAL TIME: 7 hours; 3 hours to make curds, 3 hours to drain curds (inactive), 1 hour top pull cheese.


- 1 Gallon GOOD MILK (The better the milk, the better the cheese)
- 1 1/8 t citric acid
- 1/2 c water
- 1/4 crushed rennet tablet
- At least 1/3 c salt


Rennant tablet-just a snippit!

A note on purveying: Hit up the hippie store for fantastic milk. Ask the cheese section of a nice cheese store/market if they have rennet. (it may not be displayed in the open). Citric acid is obtainable in places that seem like they have things to help you make jam. It is essential because it makes the milk a bit acidic (like Italian milk), and allows us to pull the curds into balls. No citric acid and your curds may not come together. If you live in San Francisco, everything is available at Rainbow Grocery, a stunningly unique Co-op.**

Next page:Part 1, Making the Curds>>