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
nigella seeds

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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these photo-directions. I will need to reserve a bit of curd the next time I make some and give this a try.

Liney said...

Dude that's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Oh, cool! Thanks for sharing that - looks like fun to make.

louiza said...

Hello ..can any one tell me where can i get the mozzarella or online ? thank yo

Anonymous said...

If you are from MA there is a great place in RI called Supreme Dairy. They are located in Woonsocket. If you are looking for a large amount call ahead.

Anonymous said...

Making mozzarella at home is surprisingly easy and doesn't take that long. Thank you for the photos of process!

Unknown said...

I have just made this with an Armenian neighbor so that I could learn it and take the tradition to the rest of my Armenian family. The woman that I made it with makes the cheese into bars because when she makes it into string cheese, she slaps it together as she is stretching it to add air so that it will string well - and it makes an absolute mess of her kitchen. Also, the cheese curd gets so hot in the microwave that it burns our hands. She said that she tried wearing gloves, but it would not work. Do you have any suggestions for not burning your hands with the hot cheese curd? Did you wear gloves and if so, did it work for you? I wonder if I should try it. It was so hot that I honestly could not handle it. I had to give it back to her to do and she was in so much pain, I could tell. I felt so bad asking her to make them for me but honestly, it tastes to much better as string cheese. The taste of course is the same. I don't know how to explain it, but the experience of eating it as string cheese is just so much better than eating a piece of cheese like it's a bar of cheddar. Not complaining! I am so thankful that she was kind enough to take me into her home and show me how to do it. Her husband went to the place in Woonsocket, RI to get the cheese (as anonymous person stated above). He also went and picked up the spices I need to take this and show my sisters how I make it. They have prepared me to make it on my own and teach my sisters how to make it, which my sisters are extremely excited about. I just need to know how to handle the hot cheese without crying. Yes the process is easy and doesn't take long, which is great. But not if you cannot handle the cheese. HELP!