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Pizza Cheeses

Pizza Cheeses

Mozzarella. Mozzarella di bufala – the original mozzarella made from buffalo's milk- is delicious served as is. It is sweet in flavor and soft in texture but does not melt as well as cow's mozzarella. Cow's milk mozzarella is the one to use for cooking. It has a very mild, creamy and faintly sour flavor and melts beautifully, making it ideal for pizzas. Mozzarella can also be made with goat's milk, which is a little sharper in taste and is not such a popular choice.

Mozzarella is produced as a semi-soft, fresh cheese or a firm block of cheese made with low or non-fat milk. The fresh cheese is the ultimate choice for home-made pizzas but it is important to make sure you drain and dry it well to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Fresh mozzarella balls are usually packaged in water or , alternatively, brine or whey, to preserve freshness. Fresh mozzarella is mild in flavor, soft and very pliable. The longer mozzarella ages, the softer and sourer it becomes. In all your recipes, especially pizza, fresh mozzarella balls will give you both the best flavor and texture. Mozzarella can also be found in other forms, as follows.

Block mozzarella. Block mozzarella is lower in moisture than fresh mozzarella and is often the preferred choice for many commercial pizza makers. In America as many as 90 percent of all commercial pizza makers will use block mozzarella. It is lower in fat and consequently not as flavorsome as fresh mozzarella.

Bocconcini. Small mozzarella balls, usually about 1-inch in diameter.

Mozzarella affumicata. Affumicato means "smoked" in Italian. This cheese is lightly smoked over wood chips and is darker in color than normal mozzarella.

Mozzarella scamorza. This mozzarella has been heavily smoked usually over pecan shells, and is much darker in color and denser in texture.

Mozzarella pearls. Tiny balls of mozzarella, which are about 5/8-inch in diameter. They are available from some supermarkets, but if you can't find them then a large mozzarella ball cut into cubes does exactly the same thing.

Mozzarella can be wrapped in plastic food wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. Frozen mozzarella does decrease in flavor and may become moister in texture. Before serving or cooking, allow he cheese to defrost in the fridge before removing and warming to room temperature. Fresh mozzarella usually keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Fontina. Fontina is a semi-hard cheese with a creamy texture and subtle nutty flavor. It is a very useful cheese for cooking as it has good melting properties, making it a popular choice in fondues and pizzas. Fontina is made from pasteurized cow's milk from the grazing cows of the Val d'Aosta alpine region of Italy.

Ricotta. The word ricotta literally means “recooked” in Italian. It is made from the whey of other cheeses that is cooked again to make a milky white, soft, granular and mild-tasting cheese. Ricotta does not melt.

Gruyere. Gruyere is a firm cheese with a nutty flavor. It works best when finely grated.

Asiago. Asiago is a semi-firm to hard Italian cheese with a nutty, sharp flavor that is mainly used for grating. Asiago was traditionally made with sheep's milk, but it is now more commonly made with cow's milk.

Havarti. Havarti is a mild, semi-soft Danish cheese with small irregular holes.

Monterey Jack. Monterey Jack is a type of Cheddar-style cheese first made in California, using pasteurized cow's milk. It is commonly sold by itslef, or mixed with Colby cheese to make a marbled cheese known as Colby-Jack (or Co-Jack).

Havarti. Havarti is a mild, semi-soft Danish cheese with small irregular holes.

Cheddar. Choose a mature Cheddar for the best flavor and always grate for use on pizza to get more even melt.

Provolone. This is a southern Italian cheese that is pale yellow in color, with a smooth texture. Milder, fresh provolone can be eaten on its own, although once aged it is generally used in cooking.

Gorgonzola. Gorgonzola is a mild and creamy blue-veined cheese. Choose dolcelatte if you prefer a creamier, milder soft blue cheese.

Taleggio. Taleggio is a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow's milk. Its flavor can range from mild to pungent, depending on its age. When young the color of taleggio is pale yellow. As it ages it darkens to deep yellow and becomes rather runny. Aleggio is sold in blocks and is convered either with a wax cotaing or a thin mold.

Mascarpone. Mascarpone is a soft, unripened cheese that belongs to the cream cheese family. It comes from northern Italy and is a thick, rich sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese produced from cow's milk that has the texture of sour cream. It is sold in plastic, tubs and can be found in most delicatessens and good supermarkets.

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