The food we eat is part of who we are. Each culture has its own distinctive dishes with flavors and cooking styles that reflect its history and environment.
However, there is a dish that is like no other that transcends all boundaries.
Wherever you go, you are sure to find many restaurants offering pizza. There are many good reasons; It is cheap, easy and simple to make, but the most important reason is that it is delicious.
While pizza originated in Italy, it has become a dish all over the world. More than 5 billion pizzas are sold each year in the world.
Latin America, which has its own extensive and delicious gastronomic traditions, is also part of the global trend of including pizza on its menu. In 2021, pizza sales in Latin America grew 20% to $12.5 billion .
Enjoying pizza involves some traditions that people all over the world share.
There is a common aspect, pizza is best enjoyed with friends or family, whether it is made at home, during a special evening or a holiday at a pizzeria. Pizza offers comfort, it is a fun dish to eat in an informal setting. It also encourages us to get creative, it is a versatile dish that can be supplemented with ingredients to suit almost any preference.
The world loves pizza, and for the same reason the world loves mozzarella cheese. This Italian-style cheese is most often used in the preparation of pizza. Which offers the perfect flavor and texture to complement the sauce, dough and ingredients used to coat it.
Cheese Stretch in the lab on pizza
The amount of mozzarella cheese produced in the United States is greater than any other cheese, and the main reason is pizza consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cheese producers in the United States will produce 4.45 billion mozzarella in 2020. That year, mozzarella cheese production exceeded cheddar cheese production by an incredible 650 million pounds.
The springy texture of mozzarella cheese creates a visual appeal when you pick up a hot slice of pizza. It offers a soft feel and creamy flavor that complements the other flavors of the ingredients that cover the pizza crust.
If you’re in a pizzeria enjoying a pizza and you realize that the cheese tastes great, there’s a good chance that the mozzarella cheese is from Agropur. We are the best cheese makers for restaurants that want to serve the highest quality mozzarella cheese. Agropur’s award-winning mozzarella cheese is made in the United States using the pasta filata process, which gives the cheese its optimal elasticity and delicate flavor profile. Click to learn more about Agropur’s mozzarella cheese.
Why is mozzarella the perfect cheese for pizza?
The mechanics of cheese
Although it sounds a bit absurd, the question is actually a serious one: what kind of cheese is the best for pizza?
The obvious answer is, of course, mozzarella. And that’s exactly what the team of scientists, led by Bryony James, discovered.
But they also discovered why a cheese like cheddar, for example, will never leave the customer satisfied.
And what is the reason? According to James, not all cheeses brown in the same way.
“It depends on a combination of the composition and mechanical properties of the cheese, and other ingredients in the pizza,” he explains.
To find this out, the team used mozzarella, cheddar, colby, edam, emmental, gruyere and provolone in a pizza dough and put them in the oven for a set time.
A camera recorded the process for later analysis by a computer program, which quantified the color uniformity of the cheeses (the more uniformity, the fewer brown spots).
Each cheese was also analyzed in tests that determined elasticity, humidity, how much oil it gave off when it melted and at what temperature it did so.
What the researchers were measuring was the result of a very specific chain of events related to these properties. When the cheese is heated, the water inside starts to boil.
It then evaporates and forms a bubble. If the cheese becomes sufficiently elastic as it melts, the bubble may be large.
If the cheese is not so elastic, the bubble will be small.
Meanwhile, as the steam forms the bubble, the oil escapes from the cheese and forms a layer on top of the dough. A large bubble will break the film formed by the oil and will be exposed directly to the heat of the oven, causing the cheese to turn brown.
But if there is too much oil, even a large bubble will not break the film and the dough will be lighter.
All of these factors – elasticity, moisture and amount of oil – have to be just right to get that particular browning we associate with pizza.
Not too much, not too little
Scientists found that cheddar, colby and edam were not elastic enough to form large bubbles, and that gruyere and provolone did, but had too much oil.
Emmental contains enough moisture to make small bubbles that never break through the layer of oil on the surface of the dough.
But mozzarella, it seems, is a particular cheese. It combines enough moisture, the right elasticity and just enough oil to form the color we associate with a good pizza.
The researchers also found that using a computer program to determine browning worked well, a trick that could serve pizza producers well in their ongoing quest to improve their creations.
An important fact: to simplify the process, no sauce of any kind was included in the experiments, as it would have a determining effect on the way the cheese behaves.
With this in mind, it can be considered that the chemical composition of the sauce, as well as all other aspects of a frozen pizza, can be designed with a high level of precision to achieve maximum refinement of the final product.
Ideas to feed the intellect, next time you put a pizza in the oven.
Mozzarella is added to all kinds of pizzas of all styles and with an infinite number of ingredients, including pineapple, but when it works, all its magic is revealed in Neapolitan pizza . Not for nothing is it included among the ingredients considered traditional and authentic in the official regulation of this dish.
Logically, it is very important to start with Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, certified by the DOP seal of the official consortium. Only then we will have guarantees that it will behave properly in the oven and when tasting. In addition, experts recommend the following tips:
Avoid excess moisture in mozzarella by not only draining it well, but also removing it from the preserving liquid at least two hours before cooking.
You can even take it out the day before and leave it overnight outside the container, on a clean, odorless, non-shedding cloth, or on kitchen paper, in an airtight container or covered with foil.
Although many people squeeze the cheese with their fingers, it is better to cut it starting from a clean cut in half so as not to disturb its internal structure.
Ideally you should cut the mozzarella in slices or medallions of equal thickness, about 5 mm maximum, making sure not to julienne or slice it.
Never squeeze the cheese, it must be handled very carefully. This is why it is important to cut it with a very sharp knife.
Real mozzarella will still give off milk-like liquid when you cut it. To remove this moisture, it should not be squeezed (mozzarella is not squeezable), but left to drain on a fine sieve or perforated tray. Or on absorbent paper.
The mozzarella should be spread over the pizza dough at the last minute, just before you put it in the oven, spreading the slices evenly, separating them . slightly
It is important that the oven is preheated to maximum. The best results are achieved with a stone oven, but otherwise you should bake at the highest possible temperature , and even better if you use a baking stone or a special household oven .
Cooking should be very short and never allow the mozzarella to brown or burn.
Neapolitan buffalo milk mozzarella pizza does not tolerate rest or transportation well; it should be served immediately and eaten immediately.