Mozzarella is a traditional Italian cheese.
It is a mild, smooth-textured fresh cheese.
Originally, mozzarella was only made with buffalo milk.
Legend has it that mozzarella was first made when cheese curds accidentally fell into a pail of hot water in a cheese factory near Naples … and soon thereafter the first pizza was made!
The word “mozzarella”, derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania, is the diminutive form of mozza (“cut”), or mozzare (“to cut off”) derived from the method of working.
The term is first mentioned in 1570, cited in a cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, reading “milk cream, fresh butter, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella and milk”.
In the middle of the 20th century, mozzarella triumphantly advanced throughout all of Europe.
Mozzarella received a Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TEG) certification from the European Union in 1998.
The TSG certification does not specify the source of the milk, so any type of milk can be used, but it is speculated that it is normally made from whole milk.
Mozzarella is a stretched-curd cheese – the curd is mixed with heated whey and stretched and kneaded until it attains a smooth, pliable consistency. It is then molded into spheres or ovals and stored in water to keep it moist.
Delicate and perishable, it typically lasts only a few days – some versions, however, undergo an aging process that strengthens their flavour, toward that of provolone, and prolongs their storage life.
It is usually rolled into a ball of 80 to 100 grams (2.8 to 3.5 oz) or about 6 cm (2.4 in) in diameter, and sometimes up to 1 kg (2.2 lb) or about 12 cm (4.7 in) diameter.
In Italy, the cheese is produced nationwide using Italian buffalo’s milk under the government’s official name Mozzarella di latte di bufala because Italian buffalo is in all Italian regions.
Fior di latte is made from fresh cow’s milk and not water buffalo milk, which greatly lowers its cost.
Lightly smoked mozzarella is known as Scamorze.
Mozzarella made from cow’s milk is milder in taste than mozzarella made from buffalo’s milk.
Fresh mozzarella balls are sold in a brine, whey or water solution to help them retain their moisture and shape.
It is considered the best cheese for pizza for a few reasons: its delicate, milky flavor, its smooth, elastic texture, and its fabulous meltability.
The cheese is sometimes called “the queen of the Mediterranean cuisine”, “white gold” or “the pearl of the table”.
Mozzarella is the most popular cheese in the world.
Similar to other fresh cheeses, mozzarella is high in water content and therefore low on fat.
Mozzarella is most flavorful when served at room temperature, so unwrap the cheese and leave it out of the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.