We have had the same project sent to us 9 times now...we figured it was past time to check this one out and do some testing. I'll just jump right in...the pictures pretty much speak for themselves.
The Original Pin
Homemade Mozzarella Bites. Mmmm. Those look absolutely delicious, but, as LeVar Burton always said in Reading Rainbow, "you don't have to take my word for it." Here are nine other people that thought these looked delicious as well:
|Aimee: "Well I found this yummy recipe for baked cheese bites. In all honesty I just had my 4th baby,and I had my first day back at work to prepare for so I did probably turn my head and 10 mins may have slipped by, lol but not by much."|
|Alaina: "This is clearly a Pinstrosity...I think if I maybe used egg and flour along with milk, they may have held their shape? I even froze the cheese chunks before dipping, cooking etc."|
|Emily: "I followed all the tips on the site but at the end of the day oven is too hot and its finicky."|
|Jennifer: "Not sure what went wrong, but when it was over I felt like I should've seen it turning out badly! lol"|
|Katie: "I just wanted a quick snack; I think I nailed it."|
I could feel the disappointment in the emails. What an awesome snack gone awry. I decided to give this one a test to see what I could figure out hands on. First step? Go check out the original post by Abby at http://www.justaddasliceoflove.blogspot.com.
The pin that many people sent us had Abby's photo with these instructions as the pinned caption: "string cheese chopped into bite size pieces, dipped in milk and bread crumbs, baked at 425 for 8-10 minutes- serve with marinara sauce! Delish!". Well, as with many of these "instructive" captions...they were missing some of the details. There's a little more to it than that...not a whole lot, but some.
I gathered my supplies, visited the grocery store and set out to follow Abby's instructions and see what I could come up with. Here's my adventure:
The first thing I saw was that Abby didn't just use plain bread crumbs as her breading. She used Italian Style Bread Crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings. That is the main part that the pinned instructions were missing. I used bread crumbs for other recipes, so I just got plain ones and added Italian seasoning and onion powder for more flavor.
So, as per Abby's instructions, I mixed all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Next I cut up the cheese sticks, poured some milk in a bowl and dropped the cheese in. One by one I pulled the cheese out, dropped it in the crumbs, and swirled it around to coat the cheese thoroughly.
That just didn't seem like a whole lot of breading to me...
...so I decided to experiment. With three of the cheese pieces I just did one coat of crumbs, and with 3 of the cheese pieces I re-dipped them in the milk and gave them a 2nd crumb coating. The single dipped are in the triangle in the pan (below) and the double dipped are in the vertical line on the right.
I stuck them on my beautiful pan and popped them in the 425 degree oven. Abby said that she didn't know exactly how long she had baked them, but she was sure it was under 10 minutes. So I set my timer for 3 minutes and figured I'd go from there. Here's what they looked like after 3 minutes:
The single dipped ones didn't fare as well as the double dipped...but the double dipped ones still didn't do great. So I decided to try again, this time with 3 doubled dipped cheeses and 3 triple dipped cheeses. And, this time I decided to do as Abby did and I stood with the door ajar and watched them bake until I saw the first hints of melting (which was at about 4 minutes).
I pulled them out and the cheese was about right this time.
The breading wasn't my favorite at this point though because it was still to "raw" and not crispy at all...so I did an extra step. We keep bacon grease in the fridge, so I pulled that out and melted a glop (which is a very precise measurement) in our pan.
I then used my most awesome pig tongs to fry up the cheese balls.
|I'm not left-handed actually...I just had to hold the tongs in my left hand so I could hold the camera in my right hand...I'd rather drop the tongs than the camera).|
I fried one a little too long (the one in back), but the rest were just about perfect. I pulled our our leftover pizza sauce and had me a nice little snack.
After fixing these up I think that the main problem that everyone had was that they read the instructions as "Bake for 10 minutes" but Abby's exact words are "I actually don't know how long I baked them because I watched them the whole time thinking they were going to cheesily explode in the oven because how could the cheese not just melt instead of staying in between the teeniest layer of breading that I could barely see after I put them on the greased baking sheet? I would say 10 minutes or less". 2 minutes with a closed oven door or 4 with an open oven door worked perfect for me. Before you stick a whole pan full of these buddies in, test one or two to see what the right time is for your oven. Start with 2 minutes and go from there.