How to pick the right Mozzarella cheese

June 29, 2018

I remember the first time I tried to make a pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese. I knew very little about cheese but I did know that “real” pizza is made with mozzarella. So I went to the grocery store and grabbed the first mozzarella cheese I saw. It was packaged in liquid and was extremely soft. I got home, tore it up, put it on my pizza and threw it in the oven. To my dismay, the resulting pie was a soggy inedible mess. I had made a critical error, I had chosen the wrong type of mozzarella!

 

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Fortunately, I’ve learnt a lot in subsequent years and now smart the little knowledge I have about Mozzarella. Here are the different types and how best to use them in your recipes.

What is Mozzarella cheese?

Mozzarella is an Italian fresh cheese. Fresh cheese are cheeses that have not been aged and are sold without any rind. These cheeses are usually soft, pliable, and fairly mild in taste. Mozzarella is prepared using the pasta filata method. Pasta filata involves essentially stretching and plasticising the cheese so it has a stringy and fibrous texture.

Types of Mozzarella

 

Buffalo Mozzarella

 

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This is the original form of mozzarella and is made from the milk of European buffalos. It is produced in the Italian region of Campania to exacting standards. This mozzarella is arguably the richest of the bunch and has a gamey flavor. Needless to say, this cheese is high end and probably the best choice for a pizza. It’s also high in moisture making it best served fresh and uncooked accompanied by tomato, basil, and olive oil.

Fresh Mozzarella

 

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This is one of the types most commonly found in grocery stores and delis, and the cheese I first used to make pizza with disastrous results! This mozzarella is usually in the form of a fist-sized ball and is packaged in a brine. If you’re planning to make a classic margarita pizza in the Italian tradition, it’s perfectly acceptable to use this type of mozzarella. However, for a regular American style pie, this cheese may prove too soggy.

Fresh mozzarella should be consumed soon after purchase. Ideally, it should be eaten a couple of days after purchase.

Low moisture mozzarella

 

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Finally, we come to low moisture mozzarella. This cheese has less water content than fresh mozzarella and is not packaged with brine. It also melts beautifully making it a perfect cheese for gooey pizzas. Low-moisture mozzarella has a stronger flavour than fresh mozzarella and aside from pizzas, it’s also a great addition to pasta dishes.

Low-moisture mozzarella lasts considerably longer than the fresh variety and can be kept in the fridge for weeks on end.

 

James Aitchison