Earlier this week I shared a recipe for Chicken Parm Meatballs, which included a final topping of mozzarella. However, I did not specify the type of mozzarella. Does it matter which one you use? For this recipe, either could work, but let’s dig into the differences.
Most often when a recipe calls for just “mozzarella”, you want the processed version. This type of mozzarella can be made with whole or skim milk. What all varieties have in common is that they are low moisture. This type of mozzarella is going to melt extremely well and provides lots of stringy gooeyness when heated.
Processed mozzarella is your go-to ingredient if you are hoping to capture a cheese pull. Looking to make fried mozzarella, a gooey grilled cheese, or the perfect pizza topping? Processed mozzarella should be your first choice.
Most recipes will note “fresh mozzarella” when this is the needed ingredient. As opposed to its processed relative, fresh mozzarella has a higher moisture content. It definitely can used as a topping on pizza, but it also is going to leave pools of liquid among your toppings.
Fresh mozzarella shines brightly when it’s served as is. With its softer texture and slightly brinier flavor, it can be the star of a charcuterie tray or topping on a salad. Unlike processed mozzarella, fresh has a much shorter shelf-life.
So, which mozzarella is best?
The answer is neither. There are recipes for which each cheese is appropriate. Rather than asking which is best, ask which qualities you need in your recipe. Stringy and gooey cheese? Choose processed. Tender and moist cheese? Fresh is the one.