Dating back to 16th century Italy, Mozzarella cheese is part of the pasta filata family, which encompasses curds that are heated and then pulled or stretched. Mozzarella products traditionally possess a delicate, milky flavor with a smooth, plastic texture. While the original mozzarella is produced with water buffalo milk, cow’s milk mozzarella surpassed the former in popularity because it can better meet worldwide demand. (Mozzarella is the most used pizza cheese.)
Mozzarella cheese includes the following standards:
- Part-skim milk: 53-60% moisture, 30-45% milkfat in solids
- Low-moisture part-skim milk:45-52% moisture, 30-45% milkfat in solids
- Whole milk: 52-60% moisture, 45% milkfat in solids
- Low-moisture whole milk: 45-52% moisture, 45% milkfat in solids
The primary differences between part-skim and whole milk mozzarella are the meltability and the browning. Whole milk mozzarella is richer in taste, melts better and provides the stretch consumers associate with pizza. Part-skim mozzarella browns evenly at a faster pace than whole-milk mozzarella.
- Top a homemade pizza with shredded mozzarella, Fontina and Parmesan.
- Complete chicken parmigianas, lasagnas and casseroles with shredded mozzarella.
- Give an Italian flair to traditional meatloaf.
- Create homemade cheese curds by dipping sticks or cubes of mozzarella into beaten egg and herbed bread crumbs with grated Parmesan cheese, then frying until golden.
- String cheese, a low-moisture mozzarella, can be melted on an English muffin, peeled and mixed into a salad or eaten as a to-go snack.