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18 Fun Facts About Mozzarella

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Mozzarella is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Known for its mild flavor and soft, creamy texture, mozzarella is a versatile cheese that can be used for cooking, eating raw, or melting. From its origins in Italy to its many varieties available today, there is a lot to learn about this delicious cheese. Discover 18 fun facts covering history, production methods, uses, and more about everyone’s favorite pizza topping – mozzarella cheese!

A Brief History

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  • Mozzarella has its roots in Italy, where it originated in the Battipaglia region of Campania.
  • Legend has it that mozzarella was first made when cheese curds accidentally fell into a pail of hot whey and softened into a stretchy consistency.
  • The term “mozzarella” comes from the Italian word “mozzare” meaning “to cut off” referring to the process of cutting curds to make the cheese.
  • Originally called “mozzarella di bufala” meaning buffalo mozzarella, the cheese was made solely from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalos.
  • Today cow’s milk is also widely used to keep up with high demands for the popular cheese.

Production Methods

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There are a few main methods used to produce mozzarella cheese:

  1. Pasta filata method – Curdled milk is stretched and molded in hot water to develop its signature elasticity. This is the most common and authentic technique.
  2. Direct acidification method – Acids like citric acid are mixed directly into the milk to cause curdling instead of traditional rennet. Faster but doesn’t result in the same smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  3. Starter culture method – Cultures are added to pasteurized milk to produce lactic acid needed for curdling.

Key Varieties

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While authentic mozzarella cheese is still produced in Italy using traditional techniques, many mass-market varieties are now made worldwide. The options can be confusing, so here is a breakdown of the main types you’ll see:

  • Fresh mozzarella – The soft, white version synonymous with Caprese salads. Mild and creamy when fresh with high moisture content.
  • Low moisture or aged mozzarella – Firm, drier texture with more pronounced flavor. Used grated or shredded on pizzas and in baked dishes to get that perfect melt. Pre-shredded mozzarella usually falls into this category.
  • Smoked mozzarella – Cold-smoked resulting in a tan color and smoky aroma/flavor.
  • Buffalo mozzarella – Hails from Italy and still only made with milk from Italian water buffalos. Rich, buttery flavor and soft, elastic texture. The gold standard of mozzarella.

Melting Ability

One of mozzarella’s prime qualities is its superb melting capability. When heated, it doesn’t separate into oil and solids like some cheeses. Instead, the fats remain homogenous with the protein matrix creating a smooth liquid texture. Low moisture mozzarella melts the best since it has a higher percentage of protein and less water. Fresh mozzarella contains more moisture so melts differently.

Flavor Profile

In its fresh state, mozzarella is prized for its clean, mild taste and slight sweetness. Aged, low moisture varieties take on more complexity and saltiness. Smoked mozzarella imparts a charred, smoky component. And buffalo mozzarella delivers rich, buttery notes. Despite differences, all mozzarellas share a light, delicate flavor.

Preserving and Storing

To enjoy mozzarella at its peak:

  • Fresh mozzarella is best consumed within 1 week of production. Eat it as a table cheese or use promptly in recipes.
  • Commercially produced low moisture mozzarella sealed in vacuum packs can keep from 2 weeks up to a month beyond any sell-by date.
  • For maximum shelf life, freeze shredded or block mozzarella up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.


  • Mozzarella is lower in fat and calories than many other cheeses.
  • It packs a hefty amount of protein – about 8 grams per ounce.
  • Calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins are some other nutrients found in mozzarella.
  • Even with these perks, portion size still matters since cheese is high in saturated fat and sodium.

Interesting Uses Beyond Pizza

Everyone knows mozzarella and pizza are a match made in heaven. But this versatile cheese can do so much more! Here are some clever ways to use it:

  • Mozzarella sticks – Breaded mozzarella wedges fried to melty perfection. Fun party food!
  • Caprese salad – Alternating fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A classic Italian appetizer.
  • Mozzarella in carrozza – Grilled cheese Italian-style. Slices of mozzarella sandwiched between bread, dipped in egg and fried.
  • Mozzarella affumicata – A smoked mozzarella from Italy. Used in paninis, pastas and salads.
  • Burrata – A fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer solid mozzarella shell contains an inner soft, stringy, creamy filling.

Fun Facts

  • Mozzarella gets its signature stretchiness from its unique protein structure. When heated, the milk proteins unfold, intertwine and then set into a gel.
  • Compared to other cheeses, mozzarella has a relatively high moisture content – generally around 52%. This moisture is key to its melting properties.
  • Mozzarella of all kinds freezes well for long term storage. Thaw it in the refrigerator before using to prevent curdling.
  • Fresh mozzarella can be made in under an hour by an experienced cheese maker working with small batches of milk.
  • In Italy, smaller sized mozzarella balls are called bocconcini which translates to “little mouthfuls”.
  • Curd size and stretching time impacts mozzarella’s final texture. The longer and more extensively the curds are stretched and kneaded, the more pliable and smooth the end result.
  • Mozzarella can be made using the milk from cows, goats, sheep and Italian water buffalo. But to be called authentic mozzarella di bufala, water buffalo milk must be used.
  • Low moisture mozzarella was first made commercially in the 1950s. It was created by Wisconsin dairy producers to compete with imported Italian mozzarella.


There you have it – 18 fascinating facts about everyone’s beloved mozzarella cheese. From its ancient Italian origins to the science behind its meltability, there is more to mozzarella than meets the eye. This ubiquitous cheese is expected to continue rising in popularity thanks to its versatile, family-friendly flavor. Whether enjoying fresh mozzarella in a Caprese salad or gooey, melted mozzarella on a pizza, this cheese is sure to put a smile on your face no matter how you slice it!

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