By Peter Biancamano, co-owner of M&P Biancamano DeliGetty Images
You chop up the cheese curds with a knife. I just slice it up, make little pieces - three by one inch slices - and put it in a stainless steel bowl. It's got to be stainless steel because you put in the boiling water, and stainless steel keeps the water hot.
You put boiling water inside - cover the cheese, but not too much - and you let it sit for 5-6 minutes so everything will melt. After six minutes, you take the water out and push down on the curd to get it all.
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Then you pour more boiling water on, same as before and start to work on it. Work on it means with a spoon, a big wood spoon, and you turn it, and it melts, and you put it all together. You've got to keep on moving it. Sometimes you mash into it a little bit. If the curd melts right away, it's too much water, so you have to take some off. And if it doesn't work out smooth, you've got to put more water in.
That process takes a good 15 to 20 minutes until everything is melted. At the beginning the curd is very rough, but when it's nice and smooth and you pick it up with a spoon and it's stringy - that's when you know it's almost ready.
When it's ready, you start to do any shapes you want. You can do the braids. You can do the little bocconcini. You've got to work with your hands a lot to make it a little smaller, a little bigger. And then you put it in the cold, salty water. Just cold water from the faucet, and for a 10-pound batch, you can put 8 ounces of salt in the cold water.
Once it's sat a good hour, you can eat it. If you take it out right away, it's going to melt again. It's got to firm in the cold water. That's what the cold water does. And it gets it to a temperature that's good to eat. Not too cold, not too warm.
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