Stretched Curd – A "Two for One" Cheese
What differentiates the Stretched Curd cheeses from the other families is their texture: velvety-soft and pliable when young, firm and hard when ripened. Stretched curd cheeses are also referred to by their Italian term, "Pasta filata," because the curd is pulled and twisted, giving an elastic quality. The two main cheeses of this family are Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses. This family is known for its versatility in shape.
Making of Mozzarella
The cheesemaker drains the curds of excess whey, cuts and reforms them several times. Then they are soaked in hot water, with a temperature between 149°F and 163°F, to melt the curds. They begin to resemble a taffy-like substance, which can be kneaded and stretched until it becomes pliable and soft. These curds can then be cut, shaped and molded.
Making of Provolone
Made from whole pasteurized cow's milk, the curd is cut into ribbons and stacked for natural drainage of the whey. It is then mixed until it's drawn and elastic through bathing in hot water (149°F to 163°F), then shaped and sealed by hand. At this stage, the cheese is salted by brine, then washed and hung to dry.