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Scamorza is a plastic (or stretched) curd cheese, in which the fresh curd matures in its own whey for several hours to allow acidity to develop by the process of lactose being converted to lactic acid. Artisanal cheesemakers generally form the cheese into a round shape, and then tie a string around the mass one third of the distance from the top, and hang to dry. The resulting shape is pear-like. This is sometimes referred to as "strangling" the cheese. The cheese is usually white in color unless smoked. When smoked, the color is almond with a lighter interior.
Scamorza can be substituted for mozzarella in most dishes as can any other cheese but the resulting taste will be much stronger and more dominant. It is reputed to melt better in baking. Using the smoked variety (scamorza affumicata) adds a nice background flavor in replacement of mozzarella.
In Italy, scamorza is more commonly made in the south rather than the north. Technically, scamorza is a product of Puglia, where it is made throughout Bari Province. However, it is available across the country, both in the unsmoked and smoked forms. Mario Batali cites grilled scamorza as a traditional dish in Neapolitan cooking. Scamorza in Bari is made from sheep's milk. This is not necessarily true of cheeses called scamorza outside the EU.
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