Mozzarella is a generic term for several kinds of originally Italian cheeses that are made using spinning and then cutting (hence the name; the Italian verb mozzare means to cut). Fresh mozzarella is generally white, but may vary seasonally to slightly yellow depending on the animal's diet. It is a semi-soft cheese. Mozzarella is traditionally produced solely from the milk of the domestic water buffalo. After curdling the product is drained and the whey discarded. The cheese is then stretched and kneaded to produce a delicate consistency .Mozzarella of several kinds are also used for most types of pizza, lasagna, or served with sliced tomatoes and basil in crepes. When slightly desiccated (partially dried), the structure becomes more compact; then it is better used to prepare dishes cooked in the oven, for example lasagna. When twisted to form a plait it is called treccia. It is also available in smoked (called affumicata) and reduced-moisture packaged varieties.
Grated Mozzarella Cheese- this requires grating the cheese slabs in a hand held grater. This grated cheese is fine in texture and is used for making baked dishes like au gratin or casseroles.
Shredded Mozzarella cheese-Pass the cheese through a shredder and separate the thin slices into shreds with fingers. Alternatively, you may buy packaged shredded cheese.
Chopped Mozzarella cheese- Place the cheese slab on a chopping board and chop it into small pieces. Can be finely chopped or roughly chopped or chopped into big chunks as per recipe requirement.
Sliced Mozzarella Cheese- You may place the cheese in a slicer or slice the cheese in thin or thick slices with a sharp knife, as per the recipe requirement.
Mozzarella cheese cubes- Turn the block of cheese on its side and make a series of slices. Lay the cheese slices on top of each other and make a series of lengthwise slices, (½ inch slices for smaller cubes, 1 inch slices for larger cubes. Make a series of ½ inch or 1 inch crosswise cuts through the cheese and it will fall away into cubes.
Mozzarella cheese strips - Cut the cheese block into thin or thick strips as per recipe requirement.
Mozzarella cheese straws- It is a baked preparation using Mozzarella cheese, puffed pastry and spices. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 1/2-inch strips. Hold the ends of each strip between your fingers and twist the ends in opposite directions. Lay twisted strips onto greased baking sheets. Bake to get crispy flavourful mozzarella straws.
How to select
When seeking out Mozzarella cheese, look for a smooth, evenly colored specimen without signs of cracking or discoloration. The young cheese is somewhat perishable, so it should be used quickly. Check the best before date before buying.
· Mozzarella cheese has a high moisture content, melts easily, and has a bland, buttery flavour
· With its mild-to-mellow flavor, it is perfect for snacking, slicing, or melting on Mexican dishes
· Most commonly eaten fresh, Mozzarella cheese can be used as a substitute for Parmesan on pasta
· It is a popular cheese for snacking on its own or with crackers. It is especially flavourful in melted dishes such as soup and sauce recipes
· A few dishes which may use Mozzarella cheese are mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, etc.
· Cheese tastes superb between toasted wheat breads with cucumber and tomato slices.
· Mozzarella cheese can be added to omelettes, pizza, soufflés, au gratins, fondues, etc.
How to store
All cheeses, regardless of variety, should be well wrapped and kept in the warmest section of the refrigerator. (The refrigerator door is often one of the warmest spots). As storage life is related to the moisture content of the cheese, the softer the cheese, the shorter amount of time it will keep fresh. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week, or longer when sold in vacuum-sealed packages. Low-moisture mozzarella can keep refrigerated for up to a month though some pre-shredded low-moisture mozzarella is sold with a shelf life of up to 6 month.
· Regardless of the type of milk used to create it, Mozzarella cheese is a concentrated source of the nutrients naturally found in milk, including calcium. The one nutritional drawback of reduced-fat cheeses is that they are usually higher in sodium than full-fat natural cheeses.
· Mozzarella Cheese also contains a large amount of other essential nutrients such as phosphorous, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin A
· It is a dense source of high quality protein.