Thursday, July 26, 2012

Making Much of Mutz - Italian Food Week

You know it.  You love it?  But Whadayacallit?

OK yes, a caprese salad but what is that pillow-ey tender stuff in the middle?

At our house, we call it  "Mootz-A-Rell", and we made some the other weekend.

You may already know this cheese as "Motts-uh-rell-ah" (mozzarella) and indeed many do, but if you've eaten it most of your life in North Jersey (where the Paradis family used to) you don't pronounce it that way, and commonly, it is known as just "Mutz".   (If you need practice with any of this, just watch a couple of episodes of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.)  

So we were making this with friends and we started with:  Milk!  A couple of gallons of it and it was whole milk and raw.  Because we were making mutz in Petaluma, home to chicken farms of old and steps from the dairy farms of Tomales Bay just north of San Francisco.  (We have a very clever friend who wheedled this out of a couple of farmers).

I'm talkin' about loca-sourcing here!  In a very sweet part of the world.

We also needed a couple more packets and bottles of mystery ingredients.  (You could find them here if you thought that you might also try this at home.)  And yes, a large stein of beer for the Chief Cheese Maker never goes amiss!   

Mr. Paradis did all of the "heavy lifting" since he'd been looking forward to this weekend for so long

and he's the kind of guy who figures it all out really quick and gets stuck in.

But mostly because he LOVES fresh mozzarella.  Sometimes, more than life itself, it seems.

So you saw him pour the milk into a big stewpot, he added the mix of additives - rennet, citric acid    etc.   Heated the milk gently.  In a little time the milk separated into curds and whey and.....

after just a very brief period of pulling and shaping, Bob's yer uncle now!  Fresh mozzarella cheese on chewy bread.   (Yum, go back to the top picture and take a minute to savor it.)

We followed our nice appetizer with a couple of these:

They are called "Aviations" (no idea why but: recipe here.)  Ever had one?  You should try 'em.

*Here's a great online recipe.  Though I'm pretty sure the old guys making this in Italy or North Jersey never used a microwave!   This one is good too, a little easier to follow - no microwaving.


  1. Nice try but no way are you going to trick me into watching Real Housewives of New Jersey.
    I did enjoy your Mutz Chronicles here though.
    By the way, my wife owns a great consignment store in Petaluma called Red Umbrella. I think you might like.

  2. Splendid post mlle p ....
    I want to share this far and wide... have never sen the domestic kitchen version of making Mutz... nor hear d of the name mute... but am sure this shortened name would be popular here!
    can i come over for the next mutz-making day?