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What's the secret of slicing fresh mozzarella thin ?

chefwong Aug 21, 2007 09:11 AM

With a sharp knife, I'm still cutting it waaay too thick.
Is it possible with just only a knife ?

Just watched a guy over at the counter do it with a deli slicer....sure wish I had one of those at home ;-)

  1. MMRuth Aug 21, 2007 09:11 AM

    You could try using a serrated knife.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth
      RGC1982 Aug 22, 2007 08:59 PM

      I have a cheap "tomato" knife I once bought at a supermarket as an emergency purchase. It is a super thin, curved, serrated knife. For about $5, you can get such an item and you won't need to worry about getting peppermint flavor on the mozzarella from dental floss (which I think it's a little weird, since I never saw my Italian grandma slice mozzarella with dental floss). I do agree with chilling to make it more firm.

    2. r
      roasted138 Aug 21, 2007 09:14 AM

      I would try dental floss if the knife doesn't seem to work. I'm not sure how blasphemous this is, but I often put soft items like that in the freezer for a little so they're easy to slice. Works really well with bacon, flank steak for stir-fry, etc.

      1. p
        PeteEats Aug 21, 2007 11:42 AM

        Use a shape knife. Put it in the freezer 20-30 minutes before you want to slice it.

        1. sivyaleah Aug 21, 2007 11:48 AM

          I saw this in the William Sonoma catalog. Don't know if it works, or if it even slices thin enough:


          Actually, I find my boning knife does a nice job of slicing really thin.

          1. c
            chefwong Aug 21, 2007 12:27 PM

            I wasn't sure if by slightly frezzing the mozza and then taking it out.....would it change the consistency of it.

            I do that al the time with meat though ;-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: chefwong
              desantmj Aug 21, 2007 04:45 PM

              It will most definitely change the texture. Fresh mozzarella shouldn't even be refrigerated. A boning knife or thin serrated blade should get the job done.

              1. re: chefwong
                goodhealthgourmet Aug 22, 2007 09:05 PM

                definitely DON'T put the cheese in the freezer! it'll destroy the texture & alter the taste. a serrated knife should work well if you don't have a wire cheese-cutter. or in a pinch, as roasted138 suggested above, dental floss would work [same premise as the wire cutter].

                but please, please don't put the cheese in the freezer :)

              2. m
                missfunkysoul Aug 21, 2007 02:34 PM

                i do it all the time with a serrated knife, no problem!

                1. h
                  huruta Aug 22, 2007 10:25 AM

                  I use a serrated cheese knife -- it has a few rounded holes where the blade would normally be solid. It does a great job with fresh mozzarella but is a limited use item given its really only useful with such soft cheeses. I also use with with goat cheese logs.

                  1. Gooseberry Aug 22, 2007 10:31 AM

                    If you are talking about balls of mozzarella; I'm not sure what you are using the mozzarella for, but I *never* slice it with a knife. Its natural texture is stretchy-stringy layers, which I feel is best served by being torn by hand. It actually tastes different when torn rather than sliced! So if your dish allows it, try tearing rather than cutting.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Gooseberry
                      Karl S Aug 22, 2007 06:12 PM

                      I agree: slicing fresh mozzarella or fiore de latte may *look* neat but it violates the nature of the cheese, which is to be shredded, and it's texture is infinitely superior when shredded.

                      1. re: Karl S
                        MMRuth Aug 22, 2007 06:37 PM

                        Not questioning any of this - esp. since I've never (gasp) been to Italy - but how is a caprese salad traditionally served there? I.e., how is the mozzarella presented/included in the dish - I'd just always assumed that it was sliced, though I see your point.

                        1. re: MMRuth
                          Karl S Aug 22, 2007 06:54 PM

                          I assume it's sliced there, but I think that presentation puts visuals over eating, which is not a chowhound value.

                          1. re: MMRuth
                            Gooseberry Aug 24, 2007 08:32 AM

                            I've never eaten caprese in Italy, despite living there. Just a ball of mozzarella with a bit of olive oil on the side was a popular antipasto though, and that was always served whole to me. They slice the processed mozzarella (yes, you can find that in Italy - though it's used mostly for melting, and served in salads mainly to tourists at buffets in Florence and Rome as far as I could see!), but haven't seen the real balls sliced.

                            1. re: Gooseberry
                              MMRuth Aug 24, 2007 08:34 AM

                              Interesting to know - thanks - is it served though, and you just haven't eaten it, or it's not a typical menu item etc.?

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                Gooseberry Aug 25, 2007 02:39 PM

                                I'm sure it is served, but I think it is not as common a restaurant dish as we outside of Italy have been told! Or perhaps it is more common in the south of Italy; I was located in the north.

                            2. re: MMRuth
                              amyzan Aug 25, 2007 07:32 PM

                              I had the pleasure of being in Rome for three weeks in 1989. At a friend's home, the fresh mozzarella was sliced before serving. I don't think it was in caprese salad. In fact, I don't remember what dish it was in, but I remember it was sliced and somewhat thickly, too.

                              I'd never had fresh mozzarella at that point in my life, and it was a total revelation. It was served as a part of an excellent shellfish and salmon Christmas Eve dinner, and my friend's family were Catholics. After my first bite of mozzarella, I ignorantly exclaimed in halting Italian, "It tastes like flesh!" Highly amusing, if not a little offensive to the more pious of the party that evening...

                              1. re: amyzan
                                Karl S Aug 26, 2007 03:35 AM

                                Well, it tastes even better shredded by hand than sliced. The ability of the tongue to capture the flavor is much enhanced in that form; because this type of cheese is a hand-gathered cheese, it is stringy by nature.

                                1. re: Karl S
                                  amyzan Aug 26, 2007 07:16 AM

                                  Well, sure. I was just sharing my experience, that's all.

                                  1. re: amyzan
                                    Gooseberry Aug 26, 2007 12:38 PM

                                    I liked the story. It brought back many memories of my either ignorant or unknowing errors in Italian. I remember an Italian friend patiently explaining to me using mimickry the difference between papà, papa, pappa: father, Pope and porridge OR 'pimp daddy'. I unfortunately was confusing Pope and pimp daddy at the time...

                                    But I digress. More to the point regarding mozzarella, every Italian believes that his or her way is the right way. So slicing it is obviously your friends' authentic version; most of my Italian friends believed it was more authentic (and perhaps luxurious - mozzarella is expensive!) to leave it whole, or shred it by hand for salads. To each his or her own.

                        2. g
                          GG Mora Aug 22, 2007 11:35 AM

                          I use a very sharp knife with a very long blade – a meat slicer, to be exact – and I draw the blade towards me in a long, firm stroke, then reposition and draw it towards me again...so I'm only slicing in one direction. I also rotate the ball a quarter turn between slices. Works like a charm.

                          1. c
                            cheesemonger Aug 22, 2007 01:03 PM

                            boning knifes work, but if you have a wire that'd be best. Or dental floss.

                            But what I use is one of those egg-slicer deals- with the many wires? I cut the mozz ball in half, since it's too big to fit on there and the ends will squish, and place on the egg slicer, then bring down the tire, and voila- 7-8 beautiful slices of mozz.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: cheesemonger
                              debit Aug 22, 2007 01:27 PM

                              Ingenious! And multi-tasking a gadget, to boot. I like it. Thanks cheesemonger!

                              1. re: cheesemonger
                                mschow Aug 22, 2007 01:58 PM

                                that is a fabulous idea; I always slice it too thick and unevenly as well. Someone else said they use the egg slicer for slicing fruit, like strawberries. My parents had one of those in their kitchen drawer for years. I haven't been able to find one at the grocery store or even Target. Been looking for 2 weeks!

                                1. re: mschow
                                  sivyaleah Aug 22, 2007 02:09 PM

                                  Yep, I use it for large mushrooms too.

                                  1. re: mschow
                                    cheesemonger Aug 22, 2007 05:23 PM

                                    I googled it, and it says Target has it, but each store is different, I know. I think I've seen it at Bed Bath and Beyond, but I'm not sure. I need a new one, since mine is kind of bent. Makes for wavy slices...

                                    Oh, and... You're welcome!

                                    1. re: cheesemonger
                                      mschow Aug 22, 2007 07:17 PM

                                      You're my (new) hero!!! Thanks!

                                    2. re: mschow
                                      RGC1982 Aug 22, 2007 09:01 PM

                                      Let me know if you find it. I'll get one of those square egg makers too and see if I can have some fun with this. I agree, the egg slicer is ingenious if the ovalini is small enough.

                                      1. re: RGC1982
                                        gordon wing Aug 22, 2007 09:21 PM

                                        there are several different variations on the egg slicer .... width of wires, metal vs. plastic, and how far down the wires come - I like the ones that come down below the bottom of the egg holder - it insures a clean cut all the way through. I think the metal ones can be a bit easier to use because of their added rigidity....

                                        1. re: gordon wing
                                          mish Aug 22, 2007 09:54 PM

                                          Cooks illustrated did a rating on egg slicers and tested it on eggs, mushrooms, mozzarella and strawberries. Here are their top two choices:

                                          1) Leifheit Pro Line Stainless Steel Egg Slicer, model #21413, $14.50 @ amazon.com
                                          2) Westmark Egg Slicer, item #Q1020, $13.95 @ chefgadget.com

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