Saturday, November 23, 2013

Making "Dry" Mozzarella in Pakistan

Imran Saleh
Imran Saleh is bringing a little bit of Italy to Lahore

We have posted 2 articles about Imran since we first met him (via e-mail) last winter - one in February and one in March.

At that time, Imran surprised us when he told us how popular pizza is in Pakistan. Imran himself has a commercial sized pizza oven in his kitchen which he built 10 years ago.  It can hold 6 large pizzas!

Imran's dream is to create a cheese culture in Pakistan and he seems to be realizing that dream.  He has trained 4 students to make cheese so far and he has a waiting list.  His cheeses are sold at his local supermarket and through his ad on the website OLX.

When we interviewed Imran for the previous articles, he was using buffalo milk for his Mozzarella.  Now he is getting raw Australian cow's milk from a nearby farm.  He told us that, in his opinion, the milk he is using now makes a better cheese.

This week, Imran's dry version of his Mozzarella will go on the market for the first time.  He describes it as a Provolone-style Mozzarella with little or no aging required.  He developed it because he felt that his Mozzarella had a tendency to burn in the pizza oven.  The dry version has a lower yield but a better shelf life.  He generously shared his new recipe with us:

Imran Saleh's Dry Mozzarella

After adding the thermophilic culture and allowing it to ripen for 60 minutes (at 90F), I add the required microbial rennet, dissolved in water.
I give it 40 minutes to make a firm gel before cutting and cooking.
While cooking the curds, I slowly raise the temperature up to 113F. 

I cook the curds 15 minutes more than usual - 40 minutes, with a fast spin for the last 2 minutes (this is to extract as much whey as possible).
The wire on the right is a digital thermometer.

The rest of the procedure is the same as Jim Wallace has explained in his Mozzarella Made With a Bacteria Culture.
After draining the curds, when 5.3 Ph is achieved, I put them in lined molds with a little weight to press for 3 to 4 hours. 

I then remove them from the molds and freeze them for the hot water bath later or just slice them and work them into Mozzarella right away.

The result is a dry Mozzarella.  I age it for a week prior to use.  It works amazingly on pizza, is very easy to grate, has much elasticity after baking and no burning issues.

Imran's eldest son, Junaid has learned the art of cheese making from his father.

This is Imran's current make room.  He is building a new one upstairs in his home.

Phone: #03334649134


Madiha said...

I found out about Mr. Imran when I was searching on Google about the availability of cheese making supplies in Pakistan.He is a great man and doing a great work by sharing his knowledge of cheese making with others. He not only supplied me the products but also helped me with the methodology. By his help I am now able to make my own fresh Mozzarella at home. May God bless him more.

Nain Tara said...

You are doing a great job Imran.. Glad to know there is someone in Pakistan promoting cheese culture. As you know milk is available in abundance in Pakistan and using it to make cheese is probably the best option.. After living in the UK for 10 years I have fallen in love with cheese and tried making some at home, your tips on your facebook page were of great help. Well done and I hope you succeed in your mission and soon we have the major names like cheddar, stilton, brie, feta etc available in our local shops :).

Sameer Qadir said...

I read about Imran Saleh on the New England Cheese Making Blog, and was very happy to learn of his achievement. I then proceeded to call him and travelled from Islamabad to Lahore, specially to meet him. I arrived at his house with flowers for his lovelyand most hospitable wife, a cake to celebrate his feat and a book on Bar b que, to set a new direction perhaps with cheese. I spent a good deal of time with him and sampled many of his cheeses. We have agreed to work together, and to begin with, I will use his Mozzarella Cheese on my pizzas, I make at my small place called" The Basil Leaf Cafe' and Gallery", located in the scenic Saidpur Village, Islamabad. I too, like him am very fond of experimenting, and have recently, made my own All Steel wood fired multiple storied oven, able to make a pizza, grill meats, bake cookies/cakes, bake lasagna andvother pastas and smoke meats/vegetables all at the same time. I am able to achieve temperatures unto 700degrees farenheit for pizzas, 450degrees for baking and grilling , and 250-350degrees for smoking meats/vegetables all at the same time. I have recently tried and successfully made a gluten free pizza using imported soy flour, millet flour and local blend of flours. On this I used a sample of Imran Saleh's Farmers Mozzarella Cheese successfully, although I will share my experience and possible improvement to his product. I am very excited for him as well as myself. I have also told him, I too will continue experimenting on Cheesemaking independently, given the tips he has shared with me, to make a Mozzarella Cheese, myself also. I am constantly in touch with Imran and pray for the success of his cheese making . My name is Sameer Qadir and I can be reached at my email.