Originally made in Naples from the rich milk of water buffalos, mozzarella cheese is available outside of Italy and can be made from any type of milk. The name mozzarella comes from a process called mazzatura, which consists of cutting curd into small balls.
Mozzarella is a fresh cheese with a creamy, springy texture and is delicious served fresh in salads or melted into pastas and pizzas.
There are several fresh varieties of mozzarella, including buffalo mozzarella, smaller bocconcini, burrata, and smoked mozzarella.
Fresh mozzarella is usually sold packed in a salty water or whey, or sometimes will be wrapped tightly in plastic. Low-moisture mozzarella is sold in tight plastic packaging and lasts much longer than the fresh type.
Fresh mozzarella will keep up to a week in the refrigerator, while low-moisture mozzarella will keep for about a month.
Look for the freshest mozzarella you can find, often at a local cheese shop or specialty grocery store.
Buy the log-shaped larger pieces of mozzarella for control over the final size, whether you want shreds, slices, or round pieces. Avoid buying pre-shredded mozzarella as it has a light cornstarch coating and sometimes preservatives to prevent clumping and molding.
Like most cheeses, fresh mozzarella has an ideal flavor and texture when served at room temp. Remove it from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before serving if you have the time.
The stretch properties of the mozzarella are dependent on the interactions between casein micelles. Casein micelles are spherical globules of milk fat in a three-dimensional matrix of milk protein. The more these micelles are connected the more stretchy the mozzarella will be.
Mozzarella, unlike aged cheeses, has a high whey content which causes it to mold quickly.
Fresh mozzarella is preferable to the low-moisture kind, especially for fresh preparations.
Mozzarella is the perfect cheese to toss in egg dishes, including omelettes, frittatas, and scrambles.
When you get a hold of a perfect tomato, make a caprese salad with sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, drizzled with olive oil, aged balsamic, salt, and a sprinkle of fresh torn basil leaves.
Prepare bocconcini by marinating them in a vinaigrette with tomatoes and onions.
Mozzarella contains several water-soluble vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and biotin, which are immediately put to use rather than being stored.
Like other dairy products, mozzarella contains a large amount of calcium.
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