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Mozzarella cheese
Other namesMezzarella (Derived from the Majestic form; Mezzatesta)
Country of originItaly
Region, towntraditionally Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Sicily, Lazio, Marches and Molise
Source of milkwater buffalo in Campania and Lazio, cow's milk in other regions
Aging timeNone
CertificationMozzarella di Bufala Campana
TSG and PDO 1996[1]
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Mozzarella cheese
Other namesMezzarella (Derived from the Majestic form; Mezzatesta)
Country of originItaly
Region, towntraditionally Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Sicily, Lazio, Marches and Molise
Source of milkwater buffalo in Campania and Lazio, cow's milk in other regions
Aging timeNone
CertificationMozzarella di Bufala Campana
TSG and PDO 1996[1]

Mozzarella (English /ˌmɒtsəˈrɛlə/; Italian: [mottsaˈrɛlla]) is a cheese, originally from southern Italy, traditionally made from Italian buffalo and later cow's milk by the pasta filata method. The term is used for several kinds of Italian cheeses that are made using spinning and then cutting (hence the name, as the Italian verb mozzare means "to cut"):

Fresh mozzarella is generally white, but may vary seasonally to slightly yellow depending on the animal's diet.[2] It is a semi-soft cheese. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day after it is made,[3] but can be kept in brine for up to a week [4] or longer when sold in vacuum-sealed packages. Low-moisture mozzarella can be kept refrigerated for up to a month,[5] though some shredded low-moisture mozzarella is sold with a shelf life of up to six months.[6] Mozzarella of several kinds is also used for most types of pizza and several pasta dishes, or served with sliced tomatoes and basil in insalata caprese.


Mozzarella, whole cow's milk
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy1,250 kJ (300 kcal)
Carbohydrates2.2 g
Sugars1.0 g
Dietary fiber1 g
Fat22 g
Protein22 g
Calcium500 mg (50%)
Phosphorus350 mg (50%)
Potassium80 mg (2%)
Sodium630 mg (42%)
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.

Mozzarella di bufala campana is a type of mozzarella made from the milk of Italian buffalo raised in designated areas of Campania, Lazio, Apulia, Molise in Italy. Unlike other mozzarellas—50% of whose production derives from non-Italian and often semi-coagulated milk[7]—it holds the status of a protected designation of origin (PDO 1996) under the European Union.

In 1996 mozzarella was recognised as a Specialità Tradizionale Garantita (STG).[8]

Fior di latte (written also as one word) designates mozzarella made from cow (and not water buffalo) milk, which greatly lowers its cost. Outside Italy "mozzarella" not clearly labeled as deriving from water buffalo can be presumed to derive from cow milk.

Mozzarella is available fresh or partly dried. Fresh it is usually rolled into a ball of 80 to 100 grams (2.8 to 3.5 oz), or about 6 centimetres (2.4 in) in diameter, sometimes up to 1 kilogram (2.2 lb), or about 12 centimetres (4.7 in) diameter, and soaked in salt water (brine) or whey, sometimes with citric acid added. Partly dried (desiccated) its structure is more compact, and in this form it is often used to prepare dishes cooked in the oven, such as lasagna and pizza.

When twisted to form a plait mozzarella is called treccia. Mozzarella is also available in smoked (affumicata) and reduced-moisture packaged varieties. "Stuffed mozzarella", a new trend as of 2006, may feature olives or cooked or raw ham, or small tomatoes (pomodorini).

Several variants have been specifically formulated and prepared for use on pizza, such as low-moisture Mozzarella cheese.[9][10] The International Dictionary of Food and Cooking defines this cheese as "a soft spun-curd cheese similar to Mozzarella made from cow's milk" that is "[u]sed particularly for pizzas and [that] contains somewhat less water than real Mozzarella".[11]

Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella has a low galactose content, per some consumers' preference for cheese on pizza to have low or moderate browning.[12][nb 1] Some pizza cheeses derived from skim mozzarella variants were designed not to require aging or the use of starter.[13] Others can be made through the direct acidification of milk.[13]


Mozzarella di bufala is traditionally produced solely from the milk of the domestic Buffalo. A whey starter is added from the previous batch that contains thermophilic bacteria, and the milk is left to ripen so the bacteria can multiply. Then, rennet is added to coagulate the milk. After coagulation, the curd is cut into large, 1"–2" pieces, and left to sit so the curds firm up in a process known as healing.

After the curd heals, it is further cut into 3/8"–1/2" large pieces. The curds are stirred and heated to separate the curds from the whey. The whey is then drained from the curds and the curds are placed in a hoop to form a solid mass. The curd mass is left until the pH is at around 5.2–5.5, which is the point when the cheese can be stretched.

The cheese is then stretched and kneaded to produce a delicate consistency—this process is generally known as pasta filata. According to the Mozzarella di Bufala trade association, "The cheese-maker kneads it with his hands, like a baker making bread, until he obtains a smooth, shiny paste, a strand of which he pulls out and lops off, forming the individual mozzarella."[14] It is then typically formed into cylinder shapes or in plait. In Italy, a "rubbery" consistency is generally considered not satisfactory; the cheese is expected to be softer.


Mozzarella—which is derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania—is the diminutive form of mozza ('"cut"), or mozzare ("to cut off") derived from the method of working.[15]

The term mozzarella is first found definitively mentioned in 1570, cited in a cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, reading "milk cream, fresh butter, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella and milk".[16]



Bocconcini (translated as "small mouthfuls",[17] Italian pronunciation: [ˌbok:ɔnˈtʃiːni]) (singular Bocconcino, [ˌbok:ɔnˈtʃiːno]) are small, fresh mozzarella cheeses[18] about the size of an egg. Like other mozzarellas, they are semi-soft, white and rindless unripened mild cheeses which originated in Naples and were once made only from milk of water buffaloes. Nowadays they are usually made from a combination of water buffalo and cow's milk. Bocconcini are packaged in whey[18] or water, have a spongy texture and absorb flavours. This cheese is described by its Italian name which means "small mouthfuls".[17] It is made in the pasta filata manner by dipping curds into hot whey, and kneading, pulling and stretching. Each cheese is about the size, shape and colour of a hardboiled egg: indeed an alternative name used is Uova di bufala, or “Buffalo eggs”. Baby ("bambini") bocconcini can also be purchased; these are a smaller version about the size of large grapes. Bocconcini of water buffalo’s milk are still produced in the provinces of Naples, Caserta and Salerno, as bocconcini alla panna di bufala, in a process which involves mixing freshly made Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP with fresh cream. A Bocconcino di Bufala Campana DOP is also made, which is simply Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, produced in the egg-sized format.

Bocconcini of whole cow’s milk are also manufactured,[17] where the higher liquid content, in comparison to standard mozzarella, lends them the soft consistency of fior di latte.

Bocconcini can be bought at most Italian supermarkets and is often used in tomato, red onion and basil salads to accompany pasta.


Ovolini are smaller-sized bocconcini, and are sometimes referred to as cherry bocconcini.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Galactose is a type of sugar found in dairy products and other foods that is less sweet than glucose. Sugar in foods can lead to caramelization when they are cooked, which increases their browning.


  1. ^ Staff. "Banca Dati Prodotti DOP, IGP e STG". Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali (in Italian). Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  2. ^ Lambert, Paula. "Mozzarella Cheese". Sally's Place. Media Holdings. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  3. ^ Kotkin, Carole (October–November 2006). "Burrata mozzarella's creamy cousin makes a fresh impression". The Wine News Magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  4. ^ Staff. "Mozzarella". Healthnotes. PCC Natural Markets. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  5. ^ Correll, John. "Chapter 8 – Cheese". The Original Encyclopizza: Pizza Ingredient Purchasing and Preparation. Fulfillment Press. ISBN 978-0-9820920-7-1. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  6. ^ Staff. "Shreds: Mozzarella, Low Moisture, Part Skim, Shredded, 6 oz.". Organic Valley. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  7. ^ Fiore, Roberto (4 June 2009). "Fermiamo il formaggio Frankenstein". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Regolamento (CE) N. 2527/98 della commissione del 25 novembre 1998 registrando una denominazione - Mozzarella - nell'albo delle attestazioni di specificità. Gazzetta ufficiale delle Comunità europee L 317/14 del 26/11/1998.
  9. ^ Aikenhead, Charles (June 1, 2003). "Permanently pizza: continuous production of pizza cheese is now a realistic proposition". Dairy Industries International. Retrieved September 30, 2012.  (subscription required)
  10. ^ Fox, Patrick F. (1999). "Cheese: Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology (Major Cheese Groups)". Volume 2. Aspen Publishers, Inc. Retrieved September 27, 2012.  ISBN 0412535106
  11. ^ Sinclair, Charles G. (1998). International Dictionary of Food and Cooking. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 417. ISBN 1579580572. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ Baskaran, D.; Sivakumar, S. (November 2003). "Galactose concentration in pizza cheese prepared by three different culture techniques". Volume 56, Issue 4. International Journal of Dairy Technology. pp. 229–232. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b McMahon; (et al.) (September 5, 2000). "Manufacture of Lower-fat and Fat-free Pizza Cheese". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ Staff. "Campana Buffalo's Mozzarella Cheese". Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Trade Organization. Retrieved 8 May 2007. 
  15. ^ Staff. "Mozzarella". Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Charter, David (29 March 2008). "Buffalo mozzarella in crisis after pollution fears at Italian farms". The Times (London). Retrieved 1 April 2008. (subscription required)
  17. ^ a b c Ciao Italia Family Classics: More than 200 Treasured Recipes from Three ... - Mary Ann Esposito. p. 35.
  18. ^ a b c The Essential Fingerfood Cookbook. p. 40.

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