Italy has a rich cultural past and is the birthplace of western civilisation. It has ancient cities like Rome and Turin, beautiful sports cars and cuisine which is liked across the world. The Italians got into making cheese centuries ago and are renowned for their art. Perhaps mozzarella is the most important contribution to the cheese industry by them in recent times. Having crossed the boundaries of country and continent, it is ranked as the second most popular type of cheese in the world. Mozzarella is known for its stretchy and stringiness on being melted. A pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich would probably not be the same without this cheese. Neither would some salads where slices or bits of fresh mozzarella are used.
Mozzarella cheese is found in a soft dryish form or soaked in brine. Let us try and understand the differences in these two types and where they should be used. In our stores here in India we can most easily find the type which is dry. This type of mozzarella is my preferred choice for anything where the cheese would be cooked or even heated. The reason is that this type melts with the texture that is expected out of mozzarella. However if I was making a salad or a simple tomato and cheese sandwich then I would much rather used the one soaked in brine. The brine soaked mozzarella is usually made fresh and sold fresh. Of course there are some brands advertising them with a longer shelf life. In my opinion its not really worth it from two aspects, the first is that it has preservatives. The second would be the missing freshness that is expected and demanded from this type of cheese. So what
happens if we try and melt the mozzarella that comes in brine. It does melt, however be prepared to have some of that moisture to make your food slightly wet. There are some authentic Italian pizzerias which use only this type of mozzarella. However if one were to look at an American style pizza it would never be used. On the other hand if one were to try and use the dry type of mozzarella in a salad then it would have a slightly rubbery texture. Not something that one would really appreciate. So although both of them are called mozzarella the usages are actually quite different.
The most sought after mozzarella is made using whole milk from buffaloes. An easy way to identify if it is made from cow or buffalo milk is by the colour. Buffalo mozzarella has a chalk white appearance, while the one from cows milk is slightly pale. This is also true for ghee, pale white ghee comes from buffaloes milk and the much sought after cow ghee is always a light golden yellow. Whatever maybe the type of mozzarella its always good to keep some handy!