Mozzarella cheese, a classic Italian staple, proudly holds its place as one of the most popular types of cheese around the world. Made from fresh cow or buffalo milk, this semi-soft cheese is known for its delicate milky taste, elastic texture, and unique stringiness when melted, making it a favorite among cheese lovers. Mozzarella is an essential ingredient in various Italian recipes and is commonly used to create dishes like pizza, caprese salad, and lasagna.
Home cooks and consumers appreciate mozzarella for its mild flavor that enhances a wide range of dishes without overpowering the other ingredients. Easy to slice, dice, or shred, it can be added to sandwiches, pasta, and antipasto platters. With several variations such as fresh or low-moisture block type, mozzarella caters to diverse culinary needs while offering a delightful gastronomic experience.
When cooking with mozzarella cheese, the most common mistakes people make include choosing the wrong type of mozzarella for their recipe (fresh vs low-moisture), not draining fresh mozzarella before using, and overcooking it. For the best results, always choose the kind of mozzarella that suits your recipe. Fresh mozzarella has a high water content which makes it not suitable for certain dishes like pizza, as it could make the crust soggy. Instead, use low-moisture mozzarella for its excellent melting and stretchability properties. Avoid overcooking mozzarella, as extended heat can cause it to become rubbery.
For little-known tips and tricks, try to salt your mozzarella a few minutes before adding it to your dish. This can help to elevate its naturally mild flavor. Also, shredding your own cheese instead of buying pre-shredded packages can drastically improve the texture and meltability, since pre-shredded cheese is often coated in anti-caking agents that can affect the melting process.
Can I use mozzarella cheese in a salad?
Can I use fresh mozzarella instead of low moisture in pizza?
Why did my mozzarella not melt?
Why is mozzarella rubbery when cooked?
How to slice fresh mozzarella without it falling apart?
My mozzarella is too bland, how can I add more flavor?
Can I fry mozzarella cheese?
Why does my mozzarella cheese turn brown and hard when baked?
Is mozzarella cheese suitable for a vegetarian diet?
Can I use mozzarella cheese in a fondue?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does mozzarella cheese expire?
Unopened mozzarella cheese typically lasts up to 2-3 weeks when stored properly in a refrigerator. However, once you break the seal and open your cheese package, aim to use it within 1 week to maintain its optimal flavor and safety. As for the fresh (often stored in liquid) or homemade mozzarella, it should be consumed within 24-48 hours for the best results. If you decide to freeze the cheese, it can last for up to 6 months. However, bear in mind successful freezing applies best to the low-moisture, block types rather than fresh mozzarella, as freezing can alter the texture greatly.
How do you tell if mozzarella cheese is bad?
Older mozzarella cheese might begin to develop a sour or off smell, which is a clear sign of spoilage. As for the look, if you find any spots of mould, it's better not to chance it. The color of cheese turning from white to yellow is another sign of it going bad. When you touch the cheese, if it feels too hard or dried out, then it's best not to use it. And lastly, if the taste has turned sour or just doesn't taste right - trust your taste buds and discard the cheese.
Tips for storing mozzarella cheese to extend shelf life
• Always store your mozzarella cheese in a cool, dry place like your fridge, ideally at 1-4°C.
• Fresh cheese typically comes in a brine or water-filled container. It’s best to keep the cheese in this liquid until you're ready to use it. Once it is out, consume it all and never return part of it to the container.
• After opening a pack of low-moisture/block mozzarella, wrap it in cling film or wax paper and store it in a cheese bag or a container with a tight lid in your refrigerator.
• Freezing is best for block mozzarella. Freeze it in small portions using a freezer bag while squeezing the air out. However, use frozen cheese for cooking only, as its texture changes upon freezing.
• Large blocks of cheese can dry out. Thus, grate the remaining cheese and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. The grated cheese will be ready to use and will stay fresh for longer.