The Cheese Lover's Guide To Mozzarella

From Caprese salad to Margherita pizza, mozzarella cheddar makes every meal. If you love mozzarella, you're not alone—more mozzarella is enjoyed each year than anything else. But what really makes mozzarella so special? Read on to know about this white, delicious, and stringy thing we can't live without.

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How is mozzarella cheese made?

Mozzarella starts life like most other things. The milk is heated with a whey starter (containing good bacteria) and rennet. Curds are formed as a result of this process, and are heated in water or whey until they form strings. (That's right: It's the basic "string cheese.") These cheese strings become elastic, at which point cheesemakers spread, knead, and mold the mozzarella into round balls.

It's tough work—imagine kneading dough, but the dough is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. What cheesemakers sacrifice in comfort makes up for the result: fresh, milky, sweet mozzarella with delicate tendrils that form when pulled. Because mozzarella is such a fresh thing, it is best eaten within a few days – if not hours – of making it.

What does mozzarella cheese taste like?

For a remarkably simple cheese, anything mozzarella tastes like. Our favorite mozzarellas create a perfect balance of grassy, milky, and floral notes with just a hint of tang. It's like biting into the cool air on a hot spring day.

With such a delicate flavor profile—and only a few ingredients—cheesemakers can alter the taste of mozzarella with just a few subtle tweaks. A little extra salt or vinegar (used to help the curds spread) can make all the difference when trying to make blue-ribbon-worthy mozzarella.

What’s the difference between burrata and mozzarella?

At first glance, these two cheeses may look quite similar. After all, they're both just beautiful balls of white cheese, but they're actually quite different. In essence, a burrata is fresh mozzarella but made in a pouch and filled with cheese curds and cream.

The burrata is richer and more flavorful than mozzarella because of the mozzarella cream and yogurt.

How long is mozzarella aged?

Since mozzarella is a fresh thing, it is not out of date at all. Typically, mozzarella is shipped as fast as logistics allow so that it can reach eager cheese lovers as fresh as possible.

For other varieties of mozzarella, such as the low-moisture blocks we like to grind on our pizzas, there is a shorter aging period of two to four weeks. This brief aging period allows the cheese to lose some of its moisture while concentrating the flavor.