Scamorza Cheese


Scamorza Cheese is a semi-soft white cheese that is like a firm, drier Mozzarella. It is made throughout Apulia, and in some parts of Campania and Molise.

The cheese is made from pasteurized milk. The milk can be cow's milk, or mixed cow and sheep milk. It is made like Mozzarella.

Whole milk from two milkings is used, the morning and the evening. It is strained, then heated to 97 to 100 F (36 to 38 C.) Starter culture and rennet are added, and it is allowed to sit for 2 to 24 hours. Then, it is worked with wooden shovels until it turns stringy, then it is shaped by hand into a large ball with a little knob added on top, making it look vaguely pear-shaped, rinsed in water, then soaked in brine for 1/2 an hour. Then the cheeses are tied together in pairs, with strings around their necks, and let age for about two weeks.

After two weeks, it can be sold, or it can be smoked. To smoke it, it is covered with a cloth and smoked lightly over smouldering straw for 10 to 15 minutes. When smoked, the thin yellowish rind becomes an orangey colour.

The weight will be between 7 oz and 1 pound (200 and 500g.)

In the Foggia and Brindisi provinces of Brindisi, it's called Silano, and made in a long cylinder. The cheese is also larger overall, weighing from 1 pound to 4 1/2 pounds (500g to 2 kg.)

A fresh version of Scamorza is also made that isn't aged, it's sold as soon as it's made.

Cooking Tips

Use the fresh version as you would fresh mozzarella. Use the aged version as a grating cheese.

Substitutes

Mozzarella, Provolone, North American Style Mozzarella.

Language Notes

The word "Scamorza" comes from "capo" meaning "head" and "mozzare" meaning "to cut." The idea is that when you go to eat it, the first thing you do is cut off the head.