The first stretched curd cheese, mozzarella most likely had its origins with nomadic tribes of the Middle East. This style of cheese gradually spread across Europe to the Mediterranean.
Mozzarella became popular in Australia with the influx of post-Second World War Italian immigrants who used it generously on their famous pizzas and pasta dishes.
Known for its wonderful melting properties, mozzarella has a semi-soft elastic body and a smooth close texture. It is usually produced in a pear, ball or loaf shape. Traditional mozzarella is usually sold as a soft white ball in water, but in Australia we often see a firmer, longer-lasting cheese that has less moisture and a pale yellow colour. It is sometimes known as pizza cheese, and may also be shredded.
Mozzarella has a very mild, slightly sweet taste. The loaf variety is usually drier with a mild buttery flavour.
Selection and storage
- Keep refrigerated and wrapped to prevent drying out.
- Fresh mozzarella has a relatively short shelf life and will sour if left to age, store submerged in its original water, or replace the water if it becomes cloudy.
- Aged mozzarella is much drier with a longer life span.
- Suitable for freezing only if shredded or grated and, when thawed, used in cooking.
- A wonderful melting cheese which is perfect as a pizza topping.
- Melt on potatoes.
- Add to toasted sandwiches.
- Combine with cheddar and grate over nachos.
- Slice and combine into a salad with fresh tomatoes and basil.
- Try pan-fried mozzarella sandwiches with sun-dried tomatoes.
For recipes using mozzarella cheese see The Dairy Kitchen