Mozzarella: Everything You Need to Know
We continue our explanations of the world’s cheeses today with a look at delicious mozzarella. Whilst you probably eat this cheese fairly regularly, you might not know how it is made. Read on to find out all about the process as well as some creative ideas for using it in dishes at home.
What is Mozzarella Cheese?
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day after it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week or longer when sold in vacuum-sealed packages.
Derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania, mozzarella 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”.
How is it made?
Citric acid and milk are combined and then heated until the mixture is ready to have rennet added. At this point, the curds and whey will have separated and the curds will be cut. They are the removed, stretched and kneaded until the become the cheese that we recognize.
If you want to have a go at making this quick and simple cheese at home, we do have a recipe on the blog. It takes just 30 minutes!
How should I eat Mozzarella Cheese?
Of course, we have to start by recommending pizza. If you’ve never made it at home then give it a go. Pizza dough is really easy to make and if you get yourself a pizza stone you will be able to enjoy the crispy base you love without even leaving the house. Only use little mozzarella, to stop the dough from becoming soggy, and add your favorite toppings.
It is delicious in a Caprese salad with tomatoes. Simply layer slices of mozzarella, tomato, and basil leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
For a slight twist, try a fruity salad instead. It pairs well with figs, oranges, or even peaches as the creaminess of the cheese sits with the acidity of the fruit. Complement the sweet salad with the saltiness of ham or bacon and you’re sure to impress.
Put a small piece of mozzarella into the center of homemade burger patties and it will melt perfectly, creating a cheesy sauce as you cut into the burger.
We also offer a Smoked Mozzarella, which undergoes a steady treatment of hickory and cherry wood-smoke. The natural smokey flavor of this delightful cheese is great in casseroles, on sandwiches, or alone with a handful of crackers.
What should I drink with it?
The ideal wine pairing is a cold glass of Pinot Grigio. However, a rose wine such as a White Zinfandel or even a light red such as Beaujolais could also work well. If in doubt, choose an Italian wine to complement this Italian cheese.
How do you like to enjoy Mozzarella Cheese? Let us know in the comments below!