If you told me I could pick only one cheese for my pizza for the rest of eternity, the answer would be simple. It’s going to be mozzarella. BUT…not the lovely, high-moisture fresh mozzarella of the Neapolitan pizza Margherita fame, no siree Bob.
I pick the lowly, low-moisture mozzarella of commercial pizzeria ignominy! Why? Three simple reasons.
1) Low-moisture mozzarella has a longer shelf life than its fresh counterpart. Fresh mozzarella, as it ages, can begin to taste bad—and that process begins the second you break the seal on that little plastic bubble. Low-moisture mozzarella, on the other hand, always tastes bad—until you melt it on a pizza. That is where it becomes glorious.
2) It’s melty, not moist. The moisture content of fresh mozzarella is significantly higher than its low-moisture counterpart. It can turn a pizza into a soupy mess—especially when you don’t have a 900-degree oven. And who needs a soupy mess?
3) It’s what all my pizza-loving friends are used to. Yes, the American pizza landscape is overwhelmingly populated by low-moisture mozzarella pizzas. It’s what Americans have come to know and love. More important, it’s what they’ve come to expect. Some of the nation’s most famous pizzas are made with low-moisture mozzarella. And frankly, if it’s good enough for the gods of American pizza, it’s good enough for me.
I have nothing against fresh mozzarella, and I use it often. But it is not my cheese of choice. It is a special-occasion product used selectively with discretion.
Do I have a favorite low-moisture mozzarella? I do not. As long as the cheese is a whole-milk product and not part-skim, all brands I’ve tried have been acceptable for the job of making pizza at home. Based on the reports of third-party blind taste tests I’ve read, this is pretty much the norm. There are a few lousy outliers. But overall, taste testers agree that the rubbery, provolone-like cheese that comes in the one-pound pack is uninteresting until it’s given a chance to shine under the synergy high heat with the tomato and toppings of a composed pizza.
Free the pizza!
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the new, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, professional-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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