I learned to make mozzarella from Mariah Christenson and her team at Harmons at Bangerter Crossing. The ingredients are simple: mozzarella curds (which you can buy from harmons), sea salt, water and ice.
The prep was done when I arrived: 2 stock pots, 3 utility tubs, a knife, a thermal dispenser to keep the hot water at temperature, perforated baking sheet, food grade paper towels and Playtex rubber gloves–the water is HOT. In one pot, a gallon of water was heated to 100 degrees. In the other, 3 gallons water plus 1 cup sea salt was heated to 180 degrees, creating a brine solution.
I put on the gloves and faced a utlity tub, filled with the curds cut into 1/2" cubes. The 100-degree water had been poured over the curds. I stirred them around with a wooden spoon. Mariah set up an assembly line: the utlity pan with the curds in the hot water, an empty utility pan, the thermal dispenser with the hot water, and another filled with icy slurry.
Working in batches, I took a big glop of warm curds, put them in the empty tub and covered them with hot brine solution.
Then I started kneading, moving the mass of curds back and forth in the tub until they knittd together in a single mass, stretching it until it becomes smooth mass. Sometimes we added more of the brine to raise the temperature back up.
You don't want to over-stretch the curds–that will make the cheese tough.
Finally, I pinched off about 7-12 ounces, and rounded it into ball, squeezing it between my hands so it has a smooth and glossy surface. Then into the icy slurry to cool for at least half an hour. Then repeat until you've used all the curds.
Then eat it.
Click here for Mary's guide to mozzarella, featured in our July/August 2014 issue.