When it comes to choosing the best cheese for your pizza, mozzarella is almost the official cheese type used most commonly over pizza bases to create mouth melting flavours. However, there are a lot of other cheese varieties when you want to say ‘cheese’ for your pizza with a different flavour. You must have wondered how that Cheese-burst Dominos pizza tastes so different or what is so special in that yummy Pizza Hut delivery. It is the successful experimentation that they use while choosing their pizza cheese. So, here is an in-depth knowledge about the different options available in the pizza cheese category to help you bake a gourmet style pizza at home and opt for best cheese for pizza.
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Types of Cheese
Originally from Italy, the ‘real’ mozzarella is a curd cheese, which is sliceable and made from milk of water buffaloes. But in most countries, mozzarella cheeses are manufactured from cow’s milk. Some of the best qualities that Mozzarella possesses are:
- It melts easily.
- It develops that typical stringy property after a pizza bite is taken. That is what you are looking for in your pizza, right?
However, something that you have to avoid while shopping for Mozzarella cheese is the pre-shredded type. Mozzarella is loved in all its forms by pizza makers, but its pre-shredded form should be particularly avoided as it is loaded with additives like starch, cellulose and mold inhibitors. You should rather go for a block or ball of fresh mozzarella (Deli Mozzarella) which you can yourself shred while baking pizzas.
Another drawback with Mozzarella is that it browns easily. So, it would be preferable to add the cheese almost at the end of the baking time so that it remains soft and molten without getting burnt.
Some common types of Mozzarella that exist are:
- Fresh Mozzarella – pure white and has a lot of moisture, but hard to find.
- Burratta – Italian specialty that has a soft cream centre.
- Smoked Mozzarella- Fresh Mozzarella smoked over wood, has a brown exterior.
- Mozzarella-like processed cheese – This is usually what we get in the market and is the mass-produced mozzarella variety offered by food brands.
You can also look for whole milk mozzarella or that made from partially skimmed milk. While whole milk cheese is softer and creamier, you can opt for the low fat cheese if you are on ‘high fat’ alert and are keeping a watch on your calorie intake.
Also read:5 Healthy Food Recipes for Kids
This is one of those cheese types that has lots of free oil and thus its moisture content does not evaporate easily when heated. So it is characterised with blessed properties like lesser browning even at higher temperatures. It is very commonly found in combination with low-moisture mozzarella to produce the perfect blend for a pizza. Though Provolone is difficult to get in the Indian stores, you can search for it in some online supplier lists or catch hold of this magic ingredient in specialised cheese sellers in metro cities.
Whereas Mozzarella is the golden standard for all pizza cooking, cheddar can also be mixed with it in about a 4:1 ratio if you want to add the typical cheddar flavour to it. Though cheddar doesn’t melt as well as mozzarella, it gives a new zing to your pizza and the velvety feel of mozzarella gives you the best of both worlds. Be careful as cheddar doesn’t tolerate high heat and can taste and smell bad if it gets scorched. The fats can separate as yellowish oil from the fats.
Amul, Britannia, Go Cheese, Le Bon and Mother Dairy are some of the best players in the Indian cheese industry. Amul produces processed pizza mozzarella cheese as well as pasteurised processed cheddar cheese and proudly attains the position of the world’s largest vegetarian cheese brand. Go Cheese takes 100% pure cow’s milk to produce creamy cheese varieties. Amongst all, Amul is the top player with more than 90% mozzarella products being sold under its banner and Amul Cheddar sharing 50% of the entire market share.
Britannia pizza cheese also known as Cheezza has very little difference than its Amul counterpart, and it is only a matter of choice to select between the two.
Whatever brand you prefer or whichever combination you stick to, here are some golden rules for the best cheese results:
- The pizza cheese should be golden yet molten and velvety.
- Try to go for a smaller pizza so that it typically serves more topping per bite as compared to a large pizza.
- A hot oven is a must – 550 degree Farenheit temperature is very suitable.
- Put the cheesy toppings at the last when you are almost done as they will easily melt with the heat of the baked pizza itself.
The best cheese that pizza bakers can choose upon should be checked for some inherent properties like moisture, baking temperature, elasticity and free oil. Your pizza will taste awesome only if your pizza cheese has that gooey goodness and melts perfectly without burnt spots and blisters. The best outcome comes from a proportionate combination of freshly shredded mozzarella with the perfect baking temperature and an added dash of provolone or cheddar, if available.
So, put on your chef hats and go ahead to bake a sumptuous pizza that gives you the perfect cheesy melting moments.