Mozzarella – properties and application

Mozzarella is a rennet cheese originating in Italy. Mozzarella has a delicate taste and soft texture, which makes it widely used in the kitchen. Check the properties and nutritional values of mozzarella cheese and how it can be used in the kitchen.

Mozzarella origins

Mozzarella is a type of cheese which derives from southern Italy. It is made from buffalo milk using the pasta filata method, which involves stretching and kneading fresh cottage cheese to obtain a fibrous structure.

However, this was not always the case. The first cheese was obtained at a factory near Naples when the cheese curd accidentally fell into a bucket of hot water.

However, mozzarella was made from sheep’s milk. It wasn’t until the 16th century that mozzarella began to be made from the buffalo milk, while in the 20th century this cheese became popular in Europe, which also contributed to the production of mozzarella from cow’s milk.

The original mozzarella cheese, mozzarella di bufala campana, from the Campania area, produced using traditional recipes, has been included in the list of products with the Protected Designation of Origin.

Mozzarella – health properties

Mozzarella cheese is a good source of wholesome protein, which is a very important building and functional component in the body. It participates in the regulation of gene expression and metabolic processes. It also participates in oxygen transport and vision processes.

Mozzarella is characterized by a high content of calcium and phosphorus. Adequate supply is associated with normal skeletal growth in children and maintenance of bone mass in the elderly. Also, calcium participates in muscle contraction and nerve conduction processes.

In contrast, phosphorus allows the body to properly absorb calcium. 100 g of cheese covers 51% of the daily requirement for these ingredients.

In addition, mozzarella is a good source of zinc and selenium and vitamin B12, which has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the nervous system. Besides, vitamin B12 is involved in the production of red blood cells, which prevents anaemia.

Mozzarella is also a source of vitamin B2, which is involved in metabolism, and vitamin A, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the eye and immune system. In addition, vitamin A has a beneficial effect on the skin.

Mozarella with tomatoes and basil is just perfect!
Mozarella with tomatoes and basil is just perfect!

Mozzarella – contraindications

Mozzarella made from skim milk is a cheese rich in saturated fatty acids, whose excess in the diet may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and inflammation of the joints. It can also adversely affect the lipid profile. Also, mozzarella is not recommended for overweight and obese people.

On the market, there is mozzarella obtained from skimmed milk, which can be successfully consumed by people at risk of cardiovascular disease and overweight problems.

Mozzarella is also a source of sodium, which is why it should appear occasionally in the diet of people with hypertension.

Mozzarella – use in the kitchen

Mozzarella, due to its organoleptic qualities, is widely used in the kitchen. Works great as an addition to pizza, omelettes, toasts, lasagne, soups, casseroles, pasta sauces as well as mashed potatoes. Mozzarella is also an addition to stuffed vegetables served warm, e.g. eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes.

Mozzarella is also served as an addition to vegetable and vegetable-fruit salads. Is the main ingredient of Caprese salad.

Good-quality mozzarella should have a white or slightly yellow colour and a smooth, glossy surface without holes.

Mozzarella – production method

Mozzarella is a cheese made from buffalo milk. Sometimes, a mixture of buffalo’s milk and cow’s milk or only cow’s milk is used to make the cheese. In some regions of Italy, mozzarella is also made from goat’s milk or sheep’s milk.

The first stage of production is the preparation of a whey starter, which is obtained from the milk from the previous day and subjected to acidification for 24 hours at a temperature of 30-40 degrees Celsius.

The acidity of the whey obtained should be around 4.5 pH. Freshly acquired milk is heated to a temperature of 36-38 Celsius degrees and rennet is added to obtain the curd.

The resulting curd is then cut into smaller pieces, mixed, brought to a temperature of about 45 Celsius degrees and the whey separated.

The mass thus obtained is allowed to acidify. After achieving pH 5.2-5.5 acidity, the cheese is subjected to stretching and kneading, which determines its delicate texture. The final stage is forming the cheese into a ball or braid and salting.

Mozzarella is vacuum packed in plastic bags or trays submerged in the brine. Smoked mozzarella is also available.

The cheese has a mild, delicate taste, reminiscent of milk, and has a soft texture.