Stretching the curd is magic: a liquid becomes not only solid, but also workable.
Every day, in the Caseificio Di Nucci rennet and whey starter are added to around 50.000 liters of fresh milk. When the curd is formed, boiling water is added to it and causes a milk protein called casein to become stretchy and doughy. The cheese paste thus obtained is like a doughy strand. In Italian, we use the word Filatura to describe the technique used to make stretched curd cheese. Filatura comes from filo, literally “thread” or “strand”, and describe perfectly this extraordinary process: the solid and compact curd becomes a doughy and stretchy filo - strand of cheese paste.
The strand is manually cut to make Bocconcini and Scamorze, stretched to obtain Stracciata, and winded up to make Caciocavallo. The strand of paste can also be worked to cover a ball of butter and create the Manteca, or a Soppressata to make a Caciosalame. The cheese paste can be also divided in small strands then woven together to make the Treccia or stretched to become the oblong Birillo.
In Italian, Mozzarella and Scamorza come from the verbs Mozzare and Scamozzare. Mozzare means literally “cut by hand”, while Scamozzare means “cut something’s top”. The Stracciata, the typical mozzarella of Alto Molise, is not cut but stretched, as indicated by the meaning of its name, literally “stretchy”.