Pressed Mozzarella


This is the best mozzarella. EVER.

Here is the traditional way to make quick mozzarella, which is my most favorite cheese in the world. It’s a popular cheese for beginner and experienced cheesemakers alike because it is quick, can be prepared at the last minute if you decide to make pizza or lasagna or just want an easy snack cheese. I’ve taught countless people to make it at workshops over the years. Despite being one of the easiest cheeses to create, it does have its nuances and over the years I’ve learned ways to make it better and better. My goal is always the most tender, the most delicious. Long ago I quit using a microwave and started dipping the curd in heated whey. This adds a lot of flavor and tenderness over the often popular method of using a microwave to heat the curd. I grew curious about trying pressing rather than kneading the curd. Would it yield a more tender cheese?

Yes! Yes, it does! Here’s how I did it: After making the cheese and removing the curds from the pot, I heated the whey and dipped the entire curd (in cheesecloth) into the pot, removed and kneaded gently, dipped a second time, kneaded gently–this time mixing in the salt. And rather than continuing to dip and knead, I put the curd–already in cheesecloth–into a two pound mold and pressed it at 30-40 pounds pressure for an hour or so then dropped it down to 10-15 pounds pressure.

Note that the curd WILL stick a bit to the cheesecloth. This isn’t a cheese traditionally meant to be pressed. But, that’s not a big deal. It just doesn’t make as pretty of a result because it sticks a bit, but! Wow, it came out so delicious.

It slices very easily. It doesn’t continue to drip whey at all, after sitting in the press overnight, and it’s tender, creamy, and so good.

Just had to share that!

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Pizza Margherita Flatbread


I had to do one more test on this recipe to make sure it was perfect, and I think it is now, so it’s ready to share! It’s delicious. The idea originally came from my friend Kat (who brought me my little dog Precious). She kept talking about this “pizza bread” she was making for her kids, and I had to get her to explain. It was bread using tomato juice in place of the water, with cheese and herbs. She made it in a loaf pan then sliced it and would broil it brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan. I tried it with tomato juice once, and thought the tomato juice was too strong of a flavor in the bread, so I nixed that and use sun-dried tomatoes instead, along with mozzarella and basil and garlic–like a pizza margherita! Of course! It should be called Pizza Margherita bread! I also thought it seemed a natural fit as a flatbread, and here’s how I make it.

Note: If you want to try it with tomato juice, substitute some or all of the milk and/or water with tomato juice.

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How to make Pizza Margherita Bread:

1/3 cup milk
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Combine milk, water, yeast, and sugar or honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, garlic, salt, and the first cup of flour. Gradually add remaining flour, stirring with a spoon, until you have a workable dough to start kneading. Sprinkle more flour and knead until you have a firm but pliable ball of dough; place in a greased bowl and let rise 30-60 minutes depending on the temperature in your house.

From here, you can do all kinds of things, depending on how you roll out the dough! You can make two 10-inch thick pizza crusts, or four 5-inch thick pizza crusts. Or roll out into a large rectangle, cut in pieces to bake, and make dipping breads. Or a variety of combinations of both! Here I’ve made one 10-inch pizza crust….

….and two rectangles for dipping breads.

Place flatbreads on greased baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt. Bake at 375-degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until nice and golden.

It makes divine pizza crusts.

The rectangular shaped flatbread pieces can also be used to make pizza, actually, but they’re delicious sliced in pieces and used as dipping sticks.

Try them with marinara sauce. Or Ranch. OR MELTED BUTTER.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.
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