When I first wrote about making fresh mozzarella aboard Legacy (Fresh Mozzarella) I noted that the texture of the cheese was different from what I was used to ashore. Since I have access to a shore-based kitchen this summer, I decided to do a little experiment. I made two batches of mozzarella, one from the Nido dried whole milk powder that I use on the boat, and one from fresh whole milk (pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized) from Trader Joe’s.
The first batch, made from the fresh milk, came together beautifully. After heating and kneading, the cheese developed the smooth and silky texture that I love in fresh mozzarella. The second batch, made with Nido, was much more trouble. The curds didn’t come together well enough for me to scoop them out of the pot, so I ended up using cheesecloth and a colander to separate the curds from the whey. I also found that I had to heat and knead the curds two extra times before the cheese developed enough structure to be usable.
Although the powdered milk-based cheese never developed the lovely silky texture of the cheese made from fresh milk, it still was a tasty and perfectly usable cheese. It seems that the texture issues I noted on the boat were due to the type of milk used.
Bottom line: If you have access to fresh milk you’ll end up with mozzarella that has a lovely texture. If you don’t,or can only get ultra-pasteurized milk, go ahead and make mozzarella from powdered milk. The texture may suffer, but you’ll still have a nice mozzarella. In the parts of the world where even regular mozzarella is rare, much less fresh mozzarella, you’ll enjoy having a reliable source in your own galley.
Fair winds and following seas,
Heather, The Cruising Cook