Guide to Cheese Types
Mozzarella Cheese - Cheese Guide
June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly
Mozzarella Cheese is a semi-soft fresh Italian cheese. Authentic Mozzarella Cheese, called Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, is made from the milk of water buffalo. While water buffalo are not native to Italy, some accounts place their introduction to the Campania area of Southern Italy during the 6th century. Legend has it that Mozzarella was discovered by accident when cheese curds fell into a pot of hot water at a cheese factory near Naples. Interestingly, water buffalo milk was typically too rich to drink as milk, but had just right the consistency to be made into cheese. Mozzarella was first mentioned in a cookbook in 1570 and by the late 1800s, documentation exists which includes Mozzarella Cheese as an ingredient in pizza along with tomatoes and basil. The popularity of this soft, fresh cheese has drastically increased in the past century due to the development refrigeration and faster transit systems.
The word Mozzarella is derived from the word Italian word mozzare meaning "to cut off". This references cutting the cheese curd during its production process. Mozzarella cheese is made by heating whey until it forms stringy curds. These curds are then stretched until they are smooth, a process called pasta filata. The Mozzarella is cut and formed into balls and stored in a whey brine solution to keep it moist.
Due to the scarcity of water buffalo throughout the world, most Mozzarella Cheese today is made from cow's milk. Mozzarella is available in a low moisture or high moisture form. Low moisture Mozzarella has moisture content under 50%, is typically commercially produced, and is commonly found in many US grocery stores. High moisture Mozzarella Cheese contains over 52% moisture, is soft and more perishable. High moisture fresh Mozzarella Cheese is mild and delicate with an elastic and springy texture and a slightly sour taste. Mozzarella Cheese is also available lightly or heavily smoked and in low-fat and part-skim varieties. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese is best served with sliced tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and salt, called Insalata Caprese. Fresh Mozzarella is also perfect for pasta dishes such as lasagna and pizzas, as an appetizer added to bruschetta, or melted on vegetables, in a grilled cheese or quesadilla.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is a Protected Designation of origin (PDO) cheese in the European Union. This label protects the authenticity of the cheese. Only Mozzarella di Bufala that is made from the milk of water buffalo using specific production methods in certain regions of Italy earns the Protected Designation of Origin label. The Mozzarella di Bufala Consortium seal also guarantees the authenticity of this PDO cheese.
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