Sunday, September 23, 2007
It's that Easy?!?
Needing to use the rest of my mozzarella curd, I decided to try my hand at Armenian string cheese. For some reason, I've always enjoyed making the most labor-intensive Armenian dishes (manti is my favorite), so of course I'm crazy enough to want to make my own string cheese. But after actually doing it, I can't believe how easy it is... why have I never done this before?!? (Oh right, finding the curd has been a bitch...)
If anyone else decides to try this, I thought I'd provide a more pictoral recipe - I didn't think I could describe the process well enough without examples...
Armenian String Cheese
1 pound mozzarella curd
Fill a bowl with cold water and salt it heavily; set aside.
Chop curd into small pieces and put into a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until the lumps are melted, but before the curd becomes soupy. Drain off whey and add a large pinch of mahleb and a large pinch of nigella seeds. Kneed the cheese to incorporate mahleb and seeds; pour off any more whey that may have separated. In your hands, form cheese into a ball. Poke a hole in the middle, forming a donut, and begin to stretch.
Double the cheese over and stretch some more.
Keep stretching and pulling, doubling it back up when it gets too long.
The more you stretch and twist the cheese, the more stringy the final product will be.
As the cheese begins to cool, twist the cheese like a rope as you pull, then let it twist up upon itself.
Keep twisting and pulling. When the cheese seems like it has cooled too much to stretch without breaking, tuck one end over the other, forming a braided ball. Place the cheese in the salted water for 2-3 hours. It can be eaten immediately or frozen, wrapped in plastic.