Traveling Welcome Wagon
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Somewhere, US
I've never seen cheese curd in a regular store. Are there any places near you that make cheese? You should be able to get cheese curd there. Or maybe online. When you bite into a fresh cheese curd, it squeeks in your teeth!
I found this at BBCi:
"Authentic mozzarella is made from buffalo-milk, primarily in the Italian provinces of Caserta and Salerno, and also in the neighbouring communes in the provinces of Benevento, Naples, Latina, Frosinone and Rome, which together constitute the single geographical area in which mozzarella is produced.
Notably, the history of the Mediterranean buffalo is unknown although it is thought to have originated in Eastern India. They may have been introduced by any of the series of invaders from the Greeks to the Normans, or the breed may be aboriginal having been there since the quaternary period. However, it is fairly certain that the Romans made some use of the buffalo as a draught animal in ploughing watery terrains, both because of its strength and the size of its hooves, which don't sink into the moist soils. Certainly, the buffalo found sanctuary in the swampy Campania, the countryside beyond Naples, and perhaps that is why the tradition of buffalo-rearing (so to speak!) in this region has sustained.
Certainly, anyway, the manufacture of authentic mozzarella is centuries old, and now it is protected by European Commission Law, through Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) legislation. This means that the European Commission has decided that only mozzarella cheese made in the specified manner and in the specified regions of Italy can now be sold as authentic mozzarella di bufala.
However, 'industrial' cow's milk mozzarella may still be manufactured and sold by all and sundry. This comparatively bland (sometimes yellow) plastic imitation lacks the brilliant blue-white porcelain finish of genuine mozzarella. On account of the need for shelf-life, it is always compromised in terms of moisture content and (by definition) freshness, and, anyway, will never(!), due to the difference between cow-milk and buffalo-milk be able to compete on equal terms in terms of body and texture. Nevertheless, cow-milk mozzarella should not be considered as an inferior product - just a different one.
Buffalo milk, obtained from a single early-morning milking, is heated to of 35°C (95°F). Rennet2 is then added and the concoction is allowed to 'rest' for around an hour, after which the whey is drained off. The curd is then broken up into small pieces, immersed in boiling water (according to legend, mozzarella first came into being after some cheese curds fell into a bucket of hot water), and spun until long ropes of cheese form, which the blessed cheesemaker kneads until he obtains a smooth shiny paste. Herein lies the skill ... waiting too long will result in the elaboration of a mushy cheese, while a tough dry cheese will result from stringing too early. After kneading the lump is broken up. Indeed, the name mozzarella is a diminutive derivation from the Italian noun mozza (a cut), from mozzare, (to cut off) and moulded into balls (ovoline or bocconcini), rolls, loaves, or plaits (trecce), which are stored in cold brine so that they maintain their shapes while they cool.
And thus, the cheese is now ready, just eight hours after extracting the milk from the buffalo's udder.
Genuine fresh mozzarella, prepared by evening is ready for consumption the next morning, oozing with freshness and flavour, and ideally set upon a hunk of fresh bread. At room temperature, it should yield pearls of milky whey (like a lactating nipple) upon slicing and should squeak when in contact with tooth enamel (more of the same!) after which it should melt in the mouth. Mozzarella's life span is only 3-4 days, if that."