Thursday, December 14

The Many Faces of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

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There is an array of different types of mozzarella cheeses, ranging from mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella) to mozzarella fior di latte (made from cow’s milk). While these cheeses are all different, they all are spun and then cut in order to be produced properly. This comes from the Italian verb “mozzare” which means, “to cut”. Mozzarella cheese ranges from white to slightly yellow and has high moisture content, which means it usually is consumed in the day it is made and if not, no more than a week after.

Pasta filata is the process that is used to make the cheese. The curds are heated in water to form strings and then these elastic-like curds are stretched, kneaded, and formed into round balls, which typically range from about 80 to 100 grams in size. Sometimes the mozzarella is molded into rolls and filled with items such as sun-dried tomatoes or olives. Pre-shredded mozzarella cheese, which has much lower moisture content, can last for up to six months if stored properly.

Mozzarella di bufala is a prized cheese, and because it comes from water buffalo, it usually costs a bit more because water buffalo milk is more expensive than cow’s milk. Because of this, nowadays you will also find mozzarella made from cow’s milk. Mozzarella first originated in Naples and even today it is said that the best mozzarella cheese comes from just south of Naples. Mozzarella contains about 40 to 45 percent fat although lower fat versions are available.

Mozzarella may have a higher fat content but it is undeniably delicious and goes with a variety of Italian foods. It is made using real milk, so a small piece of mozzarella is certainly healthier for you than a cheese made with processed ingredients. Some love a good pizza with mozzarella while others prefer it with lasagna or even in a nice caprese salad. Sometimes it is best served most simply with sliced tomatoes and torn fresh basil on top, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil 

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