Mozzarella is one of the most popular Italian cheeses- but how healthy is it? Find out below.
- ...is packed with protein.100 g of mozzarella contains a whopping 20 grams of protein, about as much as steak.
- ...helps keep bones strong.Mozzarella is rich in both calcium and phosphorus, which help keep bones and teeth strong.
- ...is a relatively light cheese.Mozzarella contains fewer calories than most other cheeses, although it is high in fat. However many supermarkets now sell light mozzarella, which tend to contain about half the fat of standard mozzarella andup to 60% less calories.
- ...contains lactose.Whether made from cow's milk or buffalo milk, mozzarella is like all dairy products in that it contains lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant or have a sensitive stomach to dairy, it’s therefore best not to eat mozzarella.
What You Should Know About Mozzarella
Unlike most other cheese, mozzarella has a very slight maturing process, fermenting for only 1-3 days before it's ready to eat. However that doesn't mean it's any less tedious to produce. True mozzarella is made from milk, citric acid and salt, cultivating a rigid mix called "filata" which needs to be pulled and kneaded in hot water until it becomes elastic and pulls threads. Next, the filata is shaped using a special method from which mozzarella gets its name, wherein pieces of the fresh cheese are cut off and kneaded into balls in a process called "mozzare". The finished mozzarella has a slightly fibrous structure, is stretchable and melts beautifully.
Mozzarella comes from Italy, where it was first produced around the Naples region utilizing buffalo milk. As early as the 2nd century, farms began keeping buffaloes to create ths special, mild cheese. Today most mozzarella is produced from cow's milk, although in parts of Italy buffalo cows are still utilized to create classic mozzarella, called buffalo mozzarella. And not just any buffalo can yield traditional buffalo mozzarella cheese. Only female buffalo who are raised and allowed to roam freely in the provinces of Caserta, Salerno, Naples, Benevent, Latine, Frosinone or Rome can yield the milk utilized to produce authentic Italian buffalo mozzarella.
Mozzarella tastes very mild when produced from cow's milk, and has a more aromatic and slightly sour flavor when produced from buffalo milk.
How Healthy is Mozzarella?
Mozzarella is relatively light as cheeses are concerned, containing less calories and fat than more other cheeses. If you want to save even more fat and calories, opt for a lower-fat version, which can contain up to half the fat of normal mozzarella and 40% less calories. That said, like all lower fat things, light mozzarella will tend to have less flavor than full-fat varieties.
Mozzarella is also a great source of protein, containing roughly as much as steak. It's also a great source of calcium and phosphorus, which help keep the bones and teeth strong, as well as numerous B group vitamins and vitamins E and A.
Like all dairy products, mozzarella contains lactose (milk sugar). If you're lactose-intolerant or suffer from stomach issues when you eat dairy, it's best to limit your consumption of mozzarella or not eat it at all.
|mozzarella NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
You can find both standard and low-fat mozzarella made from cow's milk in most supermarkets and discounters. Traditional mozzarella made from buffalo milk is a bit more rare and expensive, but today is now largely available in most well-stocked supermarkets. For special preparations of mozzarella, including delicious smoked mozzarella, you'll probably have to head to an Italian specialty store or your local cheese shop.
Vacuum-sealed in the package, mozzarella can generally stay fresh in the refrigerator for a couple week. Just check the best by date. Once the vacuum seal has been opened, or if your mozzarella is fresh from the cheese shop, it will stay good in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days.
Preparing mozzarella is easy. Simply remove from the brine or drain the liquid and let the excess water drip off the mozzarella. Now you can cut it into slices, cubes, strips or sticks, depending on the recipe and taste.
What to Make With Mozzarella
If you want to enjoy mozzarella raw, for example in the famous, classic Italian Caprese Salad, or really in any salad, mozzarella produced the traditional way from buffalo milk tastes the best, as it has a more intense flavor and aroma than mozzarella made from cow's milk. Buffalo mozzarella is also ideal in lasagnas, casseroles, and other dishes in which the mozzarella is the main star.
When it comes to the perfect cheesy crust, though, cow's milk mozzarella is best. It's composition means it cooks beautifully and evenly, yielding a golden crust and the mouth-watering, long cheese pulls of Instagram dreams.