ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Mozzarella is an incredibly versatile cheese that can be used across an endless number of recipes while also being a common snacking cheese for both kids and adults.
The Tracy, Calif.-based California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) had an expansive booth at the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA)’s 2023 show June 4-6 that provided space for the wide range of cheesemakers authorized to use the organization’s Real California Milk seal, which is regulated by CMAB.
Pomona-based Di Stefano Cheese is one of the CMAB’s certified brands and was showcasing its fresh mozzarella products and sharing the company’s story at the show.
According to the company, Mimmo Bruno, Di Stefano’s founder and owner, was raised in Puglia, Italy and was the first artisan in the United States to recreate Burrata, a cream-filled fresh mozzarella.
Bruno’s entire family is involved in the business. The company is named after Bruno’s oldest son Stefano, who works at the Di Stefano plant full-time. Bruno’s younger son, Alessandro, was also working at the IDDBA show and told the story of his father’s first job cleaning the cheese vat and floors at a cheese plant in Italy when he was only 11 years old.
Alessandro explained that while a lot of cheesemakers use animal rennet in mozzarella, all of Di Stefano’s products are completely vegetarian and only made with milk, which allows the products to be enjoyed by a larger group of consumers.
According to the company, Di Stefano only uses milk from cows that have not been treated with growth hormones and instead supports farmers who have ethical farming practices and give the cows large pastures to roam freely.
Alessandro also shared a video of his mother giving a tutorial on how to make mozzarella cheese.
The company offers 1-pound curds for consumers who want the at-home experience of learning to make their own mozzarella.
The Di Stefano brand is active on social media and posts videos of Mimmo and Stefano Bruno doing live demonstrations on the cheesemaking process on its YouTube channel.
“From curd to final product, the mozzarella comes alive before their eyes from the father and son who do it best — and of course, tasting the final product is a must,” the company said.
For more consumer engagement, the brand’s website has a page dedicated to wine pairings for all of its products and even offers consumers the code “DISTEFANO” for 10% off their purchase at The Organic Wine Store, which is also based in Pomona.
How to make fresh mozzarella
Makes 1 lb of curd. Courtesy of Di Stefano Cheese.
- 1 lb curd
- 2 bowls
- Wooden spoon
- Boiling water
- 2 T salt
- Heat resistant gloves
- Fill one bowl with room temperature water; the other will be used to stretch the curds.
- Slice curd into thin strips (approximately ¼-inch thick).
- Place in a bowl and add 1 to 2 T of salt to taste. Do not add too much or the mozzarella will not stretch properly.
- Mix using your hands to break apart the strips into crumbled pieces.
- Carefully add 1 cup at a time of boiling water until about half the mass of the curd is submerged. If using only 1 pound of curd, we recommend a 6-8-inch diameter bowl.
- Allow to sit for 20 seconds; then add boiling water to completely submerge the cheese. Don’t overdo it, as more water used will remove more fat from the cheese, causing it to dry out.
- Immediately begin bunching the curds together and begin to gently pull and knead them.
- After 60-90 seconds of stretching, the curd should become shiny and elastic, and you may begin making your desired shapes. Get creative with it, or tie knots to make a traditional Pugliese Mozzarella called Nodini.
- Place finished Mozzarella into second bowl with room temp water to cool off.
This article is an excerpt from the July 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the full Mozzarella feature and more in the digital edition here.