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Specialty Cheeses












Mozzarella is a soft, fresh cheese that has been produced in southern Italy since ancient Roman times.

Legend has it that mozzarella was first made when cheese curds accidentally fell into a pail of hot water in a cheese factory near Naples...and soon thereafter the first pizza was made! The truth is that new cheeses are often formulated when mistakes happen, so there well may be truth in the tale!

Mozzarella originated in Italy near Naples from the rich milk of water buffalos. Because it was not made from pasteurized milk and because there was little or no refrigeration the cheese had a very short shelf-life and seldom left the southern region of Italy near Naples where it was made. As cheese technology, refrigeration and transportation systems developed the cheese spread to other regions of Italy.

Mild and white in color, it is made by the special pasta filata process, whereby the curd is dipped into hot whey, then stretched and kneaded to the desired consistency.

Today two types of mozzarella are produced in the USA. Low moisture mozzarella that has a moisture content of less than 50% and High moisture mozzarella that contains more than 52% moisture. Low Moisture Mozzarella  was developed in the USA to fit our transportation and distribution systems, and it has been available in grocery stores for years. This is the cheese that the huge factories produce for the pizza industry. Fresh High Moisture Mozzarella is soft and moist and more perishable.

Thanks to the craze for Italian food, high-moisture mozzarella is more readily available in the USA than ever. There are three types: industrially produced fresh mozzarella that is available in many specialty stores, mozzarella curds that are available for delis to mix with hot water to form soft mozzarella in their stores, and some handmade fresh mozzarella that is available from company's such as ours.

Fresh mozzarella can be packaged dry in vacuum-sealed plastic packages, cello-wrap or in a governing liquid sometimes called "latte". It is available salted and unsalted. It is most often made from cow's milk; however it can be made from a combination of other milks such as cow's milk and goat's milk mixed.

Most buffalo milk mozzarella sold in the USA is imported from Italy and South America.

Taste, above all, distinguishes a superior fresh mozzarella from the rest of the pack. The cheese should taste fresh and reminiscent of milk. It should be mild and delicate, almost bland but with flavor. There should be a hint of sourness, but too tart or too sour indicates that it is past its prime. The color should be white; however, seasonally the cheese can be more yellow due to the cows' diet of grasses. The fresher the cheese, the more elastic and springy the curd. As the cheese ages it becomes more and more soft. The perishability of fresh mozzarella varies according to packaging. Vacuum sealing extends the shelf life dramatically.

Mozzarella is most flavorful when served at room temperature, so unwrap the cheese and leave it out of the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

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Last modified: 02/15/12    Hit Counter