Mozzarella is a classic cheese variety that goes into one of the world’s favourite foods, pizza. It’s rich soft and stringy texture makes it great for so many types of dishes. When a recipe calls for melted mozzarella the task is not as easy as throwing in a block of mozzarella cheese and expecting it to melt easily. Cheeses are a combination of curds, fat, water and oil and when you melt cheese one of the things you will most likely get is a separation of these elements as they liquefy at different temperatures. Fortunately, there are a few ways to melt mozzarella and still get great consistency.
Mozzarella is a traditional Italian cheese variety that was originally made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean Buffalo. Modern varieties of mozzarella can be made from cow, sheep or goat milk. The cheese is made through a method called the pasta filata method in which the milk is warmed and the curdled. The curds are cut into small pieces then allowed to rest for hours before being steeped in a hot bath of whey or water. The curds are then kneaded until they achieve the soft elastic texture that is associated with mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella cheese does not have an exact origin story but is believed to have been documented in Italian culinary history as far back as the 13th century.
Why Mozzarella Cheese Is Hard To Melt
A cheese like mozzarella should be easy to melt given how much moisture and fat it has in it but it is very difficult to melt by itself. As you gradually heat mozzarella the different elements contained in the cheese will liquefy at different points in the heating process. At just 30 degrees Celsius, the milk fat in cheese starts to liquefy and you will often see these as beads of sweat or an oily film that builds on the cheese as it reaches this temperature. As you approach 55 degrees Celsius the proteins in the cheese will start to melt and the cheese will start to go soft or runny. The danger here is your cheese separating because of the different melting points of the elements.
Melting Mozzarella On The Stove
You can melt mozzarella cheese on the stove and this is not only an easy method but also gives you the advantage of easily being able to keep it warm if you have to wait to use it or add it to whatever dish you are making with the mozzarella cheese. To use this method you will need to use a non-stick pan or skillet. You can use any type of pan but mozzarella when melted sticks to things very easily so a non-stick version is best. Place the cheese in the pan at low heat and add in a dash of corn starch and evaporated milk as the cheese begins to melt. Using a wooden spoon gently stir the cheese and blend in the corn starch and evaporated milk. Your mozzarella should be melted evenly and ready to use. If you feel your cheese is lumpy add an acidic agent such as lemon juice, white wine, vinegar or beer. The acid in these elements will help keep apart the calcium which gives it a stringy quality and the protein which lead to clumping if they combine. Swap the wooden spoon for a whisk and whisk the cheese continuously until it gains a smooth even texture. If the dish you want to use the cheese for is ready to go you can turn off the stove and use your melted mozzarella. If the dish is not ready keep the stove on and stir the mixture every few minutes until you use it.
Melting Mozzarella In The Microwave
Another way of melting mozzarella cheese is to do it in the microwave. This method is a little bit faster than melting mozzarella cheese on the stove but has to be timed perfectly to make sure the melted mozzarella does not sit. Contrast this with the stove which you can leave on a low heat until it’s time to use the melted mozzarella. Before melting the mozzarella you can shred it to give it an easier time in the melting process. The first step is to place the cheese in a microwave-safe container. It may be best to use a ceramic or glass container to get this method to work best for you. Just as in the stove melting method add a dash of corn starch and evaporated milk. When melting mozzarella cheese in the microwave its best to add your acidic agent of choice to the cheese before you start the heating process. Using your microwave’s maximum setting melt the cheese for 30 seconds. After the 30 seconds are up take the cheese out of the microwave and stir. If the cheese has not achieved the desired consistency place back the microwave for another 10 seconds. When the 10 seconds are complete take the cheese out of the microwave and stir again. This method avoids rapid heating of the mozzarella which may lead it to easily separate. The continuous stirring will help the elements blend. Repeat the process until the cheese is melted through and through. You need to use your cheese immediately in this method as it will solidify if it is allowed to cool.
When melting mozzarella the factor you have to worry most about are how soon you want to use the cheese. If the dish is ready to go or serve then it doesn’t matter which method you choose. If there is some waiting involved before using the cheese it is best to use the stovetop method to melt the mozzarella.