Mozzarella di Bufala is made from buffalo’s milk. Traditionally, buffalo were raised in the pastures of Campania and Lazio and their milk was used to make this exquisite cheese. Before cow’s milk mozzarella came along, there was no need to specify what type of milk the cheese was made from.
Mozzarella di Bufala DOP
To make mozzarella, milk is heated to a low temperature and mixed with a natural starter. The milk should begin to coagulate within a half an hour, at which point the curd is broken into hazelnut-sized pieces. They curd is left to rest in the hot whey for about four hours or until it develops enough lactic acid to pull or spin the cheese. Spinning the cheese is based on the heat and the movement of the water. It occurs in large tubs filled with equal parts 212°F water and cheese curd. The pasta filata, or “spun paste,” is then chopped or mozzata (hence the name mozzarella,) either by hand or machine. The pieces vary in weight and shape: round, braided, in knots, or in small balls called bocconcini. The pieces of spun cheese are left to cool in water for about twenty minutes. They are then moved into tubs filled with saltwater, where they are kept for varying amounts of time based on preference. The mozzarella is stored in a brine solution, and according to law, it can only be sold immersed in its own whey.
Mozzarella should be eaten fresh and preferably close to where it is produced. It should never be eaten directly out of the refrigerator because it will have no flavor. Let it rest at room temperature for at least half an hour and you will taste the difference.