10 things you didn’t know about mozzarella

The symbol of Italy in the world. Representation of history and freshness, this incomparable product of Italian origin is as humble as it tastes.

You will learn to appreciate even more this typical cheese, through these 10 curious points about mozzarella. Here are the 10 things you didn’t know about mozzarella.

1. Why is it called mozzarella?
The name comes from the fact that the paste obtained from the curd is “mozzata” or “cut off”. The paste is “cut off” by dairy farmers in order to be modeled in its characteristic forms including the well known “balls of mozzarella”, treccia or braids and even bocconcini (small bites). In Campania, the origin of mozzarella cheese has first been first recorded nearly 500 years ago. Imagine that still today, some of the older mozzarella producers still use the 5 century old method to produce this delicious mozzarella cheese.

2. Mozzarella was originally from buffalo milk
The mozzarella was once made only with buffalo milk.  The buffalo were kept in certain provinces of Southern Italy (Naples, Caserta, Salerno, Benevento, to name a few). Fortunately enough for these mammals, intensive farming is not possible so this guarantees their natural well being and quality of milk they produce. Buffalo milk, compared to cow’s milk , has nearly double the percentage of proteins and fats, including the “good” unsaturated fats such as oleic acid. So if you need to choose buffalo versus cow’s milk – go for the buffalo!!  Today however, the mozzarella cheese is also obtained from only cow’s milk or a mixture of both.

3. Buffalo milk renders almost double the milk
With the processing of 100 lt of buffalo milk dairy farmers are able to obtain over 24 kg of mozzarella cheese. With the equivalent amount of cow’s milk, only 13 kg of mozzarella is obtained!

4. It is protected
The original mozzarella is a traditional specialty.  If produced in compliance with the local rules, it guarantees its unique taste we all appreciate.  In order to protect it’s original birth place, there is a specific denomination that mozzarella cheese can carry, called DOP or PDO in English. Buffalo mozzarella with a DOP denomination cannot be produced anywhere else other than its original birthplace – ingredients must be from the same location, as well the methods of production must adhere to local practices. This is why currently on the market, many dairy products may carry similar name of mozzarella, but do not adhere to all of the processes of real buffalo mozzarella. If you’re looking for an original variety, look for DOP symbol!

5. Why is it also called “fior di latte”?
Mozzarella obtained with only cow’s milk, used to be called “fior di latte”. This name is still widely used in Italy to give the mozzarella its denomination for being made from only cow’s milk rather than just buffalo milk.

6. It’s not lean, but it is not high-calorie either!
It’s wrong to consider that the mozzarella cheese is not fatty, considering that it’s produced from whole milk.  It’s unnatural and impossible to produce cheese (real cheese!) without fat. But it is equally true that the fresh cheeses with short maturation, as in this case mozzarella, are more “watery”, and consequently, with same weight carry less calories than the more dense, aged cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano.

7. Some fresh cheeses are harder to digest than aged ones
Who would have thought? Well, the aged cheeses are sometimes more digestible than fresh cheeses. As the cheese ages, its milk characteristics are transformed into acids that our body digests better. Of course it also depends on the amount and percentage of fat each cheese has. So lower fat cheeses may be more digestible than the higher fat cheeses.

8. It should be preserved in its serum
The mozzarella must be kept in a small amount of salted whey. It should be kept in the upper part of the refrigerator. If it is not kept in its original liquid it loses most of the flavor, so it should be extracted from its serum only upon consuming the cheese.

9. It should not be frozen
The mozzarella should not be frozen despite the fact that many do freeze mozzarella in order to conserve its already short shelf life. When the mozzarella cheese is placed in a freezer, it transitions from an average temperature of 6 ° C to a temperature of 18 ° C below zero. This has a negative effect on the characteristic flavor and consistency of mozzarella cheese and when unfrozen the mozzarella tends to become “granular”.

10. Burrata and stracciatella are from the same “family” of fresh cheeses
Stracciatella (from Puglia) is a delicacy made with strips of mozzarella “stripped” by hand and mixed with cream. Burrata, on the other hand, is made from a small “sack” or balloon made from the mozzarella paste and is then filled with stracciatella cheese. Both of these preparations were invented in order to avoid throwing out the left overs of the delicious mozzarella cheese during its preparation.

Now you know a lot more about mozzarella cheese. What are you waiting for? Dive in!

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