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Posts Tagged ‘Pizza cheese varieties

Pizza cheese varieties have dramatically increased of the last 2 decades. In the early years the produced pies where topped with three or four pizza cheese varieties, within the past twenty – twenty five years, pizzaiolo and chefs have become more inclined to try different recipes and today you will find dozens of pizza cheese varieties on menus and cooking books.

Most utilized pizza cheese

Soft cheese
The top known and most used pizza cheese is Mozzarella, it’s semi-soft texture and exquisite melting capability is bar none.  Another very nice semi-soft cheese is the Provolone, a little more flavor and more costly but also has great melting capabilities. In northern Europe many pizzerias utilize Edamer and Gouda, both are medium-soft and melt very well, plus these two are less costly compare to Mozzarella.

Semi-hard cheese
The Spanish Asiago is a costly yet very tasty pizza topping, finely grated over the pizza immediately after removing the pizza from the oven gives it a special touch.

Hard cheeses
Pecorino Romano and Parmesan are also two pizza cheese variations used often in Italy, these two hard and aged versions are generally grated over a pizza after baking the pie. The stronger flavor of these two hard cheeses gives the pizza an additional flavor.

Blue cheeses
As mentioned due to the open minded chefs mozzarella is not the only an option, many tasty recipes call for blue cheeses such as Gambozola and Gorgonzola, these two varieties also are semi hard and melt relatively nice. Yet it’s distinct flavor will dictate the other toppings.

Specialty cheeses
Pizza lovers rave about many specialty cheeses such as Fontina, Caciocavallo and Taleggio among others already mentioned.

Creamy cheeses
Ricotta comes in two versions and both melt very nicely, also used but more rarely is cottage cheese this very soft version will have a little moisture on your pie.

Mixed pizza cheeses
More and more pizzerias use cheese mixtures to make their pizzas. These combinations add a unique taste and depth to the toppings, as well as costing less than non-mixed grated cheese. Typical pizza cheese blends include mozzarella or provolone mixed with Cheddar,  Gouda, Edamer, Gruyere or Muenster.

Bar none Mozzarella is the number one used pizza cheese variety worldwide, fresh, cubed, shredded or sliced. It originated in the Naples region of Italy and was first made from water buffalo milk. Original mozzarella was of very high moisture content, and has a short shelf life. The texture of original mozzarella did not lend to grating at all, and the cheese was usually cut into slices to be used, mainly on a “Insalata Caprese” or sliced thinly for pizzas.

Today’s mozzarella is made from cows milk and is of a lower moisture content. This extends the shelf life and eases the handling. Mozzarella is available in a variety of moisture and butterfat contents. A little experimenting to find which you like better will be needed, for different mozzarellas have different ways in which they melt and brown.

There is a fresh mozzarella sold that comes as balls of cheese packed in water. This cheese has a different texture and taste than regular mozzarella and can also be used on pizza. It does not grate as it is too soft, and it must be used fairly soon as it turns sour within a few days. But mozzarella isn’t the only cheese you can use for pizza.

Experiment with your imagination and let your taste buds decide on which pizza cheese varieties you will use.

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