Cheese is the main ingredient in pizza. Various types of cheese result in different types of pizza. Also, each cheese has its own unique texture and flavor.
Well, the short answer to which cheese is best for pizza is that depends upon the location of where the cheese is made. Homemade pizzas use processed cheddar cheese blocks whereas most of the restaurant pizzas use finely grated mozzarella cheese.
When I bake pizzas at home, most of the time I use cheddar cheese. Because it is one of the most widely available cheese on the market and also quite cheaper.
Sometimes if the regular cheese is not available, sliced cheese is used for baking pizza.
When I serve the baked pizza to my family, they enjoyed it as well. The first question that they asked was, what was the secret cheese I used in the pizza.
Also when some of my friends came to my house, I served them my best homemade pizza. They also asked regarding the type of cheese which I used in the pizza.
Hence I went on to research several types of cheese available and decided to experiment with each and every cheese out there for baking my special homemade pizzas. In fact, one such outcome of the experiment was making authentic dominos pizza at home.
So, Which Cheese is best for pizza?
I am going to share what cheese is used in pizza and which cheese is best for pizza. Also, the best cheese for pizza depends on various factors and occasions. Below are the various types of cheese used in pizzas.
1. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is one of the expensive cheeses in the market. Hence this cheese is used in pizza-only inexpensive restaurants.
But this cheese can be used in homemade pizzas if one truly desires to have a rich experience. Parmesan cheese can cost upwards of 30 dollars per 450 grams. I bought it from an Italian friend (who has the real parmesan cheese stock in her inventory) for 15 dollars per hundred grams because most of the parmesan cheese on the market was not real parmesan.
The real authentic parmesan cheese comes from the villages in the Parma province of Italy. Only the cheese made from this province is the real parmesan cheese. The reason for the expensive price of the cheese is due to the good bacteria which is endemic to that province and the longer storage time.
The storage time of parmesan cheese is 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. The ten-year parmesan cheese is the rarest and expensive among them. The 3-year-old parmesan is the widely used cheese in the market.
The preparation of parmesan cheese is very simple. The ingredients used in parmesan cheese is condensed milk, salt, and rennet. The rennet aids in the curdling of the milk. I prepare pizza using parmesan cheese on special occasions.
The parmesan cheese has a lot of moisture content. When the cheese is used on the pizza, it makes the pizza base soggy and wet. Hence use less amount of cheese on top of the dough before baking. After baking, parmesan cheese baked pizza drips liquid, which looks like oil. But it is not oil, it is the wet moisture held by the cheese.
Instead of grating the parmesan cheese, it is ideal to cut the cheese into small slices using scissors and place each small piece of the cheese on top of the dough. Also, those who like the pizza to be non-soggy, can squeeze out the excess moisture from the cheese using a wet cloth. I use a soft wet cheesecloth to easily remove the water content of the cheese as I like the pizza to be dry.
If you want an expensive real authentic experience at your home, then parmesan cheese is the best choice.
2. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is a popular cheese in America and around the world for its wide variety of usage in foods. It is widely used in french fries, hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches. Cheddar cheese has a distinct strong flavor and taste.
Even though cheddar cheese is not used widely in pizzas, some exotic flavor pizzas in some restaurants use cheddar cheese as a topping in pizzas. If you want an authentic different version of pizzas apart from the usually available pizzas, then cheddar cheese is the one for your pizza.
Cheddar cheese is less elastic and tight when compared to other types of cheese such as mozzarella. Cheddar cheese can be grated and used on top of the pizza due to its rigidness.
Cheddar cheese can be bought directly from the supermarkets or can be made at home for usage in pizzas as the preparation of cheddar cheese is fairly simple. Also, cheddar cheese is fairly less expensive than parmesan cheese.
The ingredients used to make the cheddar cheese at home are condensed milk, rennet, sodium chloride, mesophilic culture, industrial cheddar cheese coloring, and some cheese salt. All of these ingredients are easily available.
Mix all the ingredients mentioned above in medium heat for 1 to 2 hours and once the milk has turned into lumps of curd, stir them well. Now once the condensed curd lumps have cooled down, drain all the excess water from the curd using cheesecloth as a filter.
Now, after taking the cheese curd blocks from the pan, put the curdled milk blocks in a separate bowl and press them firmly using a weight for 2 hours. I usually keep 25 kg dumbells on top of the cheese bowl lid and let them sit on top of the lid for 3 hours. This aids in providing the classic cheese block shape.
Also, the classic orange color of the cheddar cheese is due to the artificial coloring agent added to the condensed milk while making the cheese and not the natural color of the cheese.
Once the cheese is made, let it air dry at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Then vacuum seals the cheese in a plastic cover and keeps it in a warm room for 6 months. This aging process provides the characteristic cheddar flavor to the cheese.
If you want to make a pizza that is unique apart from the traditional normally available pizzas and also if you want a pizza that is considerably less expensive, then cheddar cheese is the best option for pizza.
3. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is one of the widely known cheeses and its unique taste and flavor make it a great option for pizza. Apart from pizza, mozzarella cheese is used in sandwiches, garlic bread, hot dogs, and tacos.
Mozzarella cheese originated from Italy similar to parmesan cheese. Also, the name itself has Italian language origins. The term Mozzarella gets its name from Mozza which means cut in the Italian language.
Mozzarella cheese can be bought from the market as a block or a sliced version. This helps to select cheese based on the requirement.
The texture of the mozzarella is silky smooth and elastic in nature. This makes mozzarella cheese grate very easily.
Here rennet is the main ingredient to coagulate the milk. Once the milk gets curdled, the coagulated milk is mixed using hand. This method of cheese preparation is unique and this makes mozzarella different from other cheese varieties.
Once the milk gets curdled and coagulated, the cheese water is removed using a giant cheesecloth and pressed to make the cheese get the required shape.
Once the cheese is ready, it is kept in a warm storage room for 6 months to one year. This process gives a distinct cheese flavor. Usually, the taste and smell of the mozzarella cheese are bland and quite salty.
Most of the time when I make pizza at home, mozzarella cheese is the cheese that I use in the pizza. This is due to the wide availability of cheese in all the markets and also its less expensive nature of the cheese. I usually call the mozzarella cheese the common mans cheese.
I buy mozzarella cheese blocks and store them up in the refrigerator. Whenever I make pizza, I grate the mozzarella cheese finely using a sharp grater and evenly spread them out or sprinkle them all over the pizza base. This gives the shiny glow on top of the pizza once the cheese is melted.
There are several variants in mozzarella cheese such as
- Cow milk variant (I personally use this variant of mozzarella cheese to make pizza)
- Buffalo milk variant(This is the most famous and the origins of mozzarella cheese)
- Sheep milk variant mozzarella cheese
- Goat milk variant(This is the latest version which has been recently introduced I the market. This has been introduced for those who are cow milk lactose intolerant)
Finally, if you want to make pizza more often and if you are an ardent lover of cheese and also if you are a money-conscious person, then mozzarella cheese is the best option for pizza.
For more information on the best cheese for pizza, check out this link.
4. Gorgonzola Cheese
You might have not heard about this cheese very often. In fact, when I started researching more about different varieties of cheese to use in pizza, I found about Gorgonzola cheese.
Hence I went to different places to buy this cheese as this variety is not very often available easily and it is also quite expensive when compared to other cheese varieties. Gorgonzola cheese price in the market was 40 dollars per kilogram and I bought 250 grams for 10 dollars.
Gorgonzola pizza has its characteristic blue-veined streaks running all over the pizza. In fact, the blue streak in the gorgonzola cheese is due to the mold /fungus which grows during the storage. In fact, this is a desirable phenomenon that provides a strong spicy flavor to the cheese.
The preparation of gorgonzola cheese is similar to the preparation of other cheese. Any milk ranging from cow’s milk, goat’s, or sheep’s milk can be used to prepare the cheese.
The milk is coagulated used a curdling agent such as rennet and the coagulated milk separates the water from the milk. The coagulated milk is mixed with hand slowly and this process is done while medium heat at 60 degrees celsius.
Now the gorgonzola cheese is placed in a cold storage room at 11 to 12-degree Celsius with humidity ranging from 90 to 95 % and this maintained for 1 year.
The unique feature of this cheese is that during the sixth month of curing, the cheese is taken out and small holes are dug into the cheese, and Penicillium glaucum spores are introduced to the cheese. This is responsible for creating the characteristic blue streaks of veins in the cheese. Also, this provides a tangy and spiciness flavor to the cheese.
There are two variations in gorgonzola cheese. They are spicy gorgonzola cheese and sweet gorgonzola cheese. The only difference between these two is that the penicillium strain of fungus used in the cheese during preparation varies.
If you are a flavor versioned cheese fan and not minding the price it entails, then gorgonzola cheese is the best option for pizza.
5. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is similar to cottage cheese but the main difference here is that cottage cheese is a low-aged cheese whereas ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese that is curdled and consumed on the same day or two.
Ricotta cheese is similar to a milk cheese product called paneer in India where the milk is condensed using vinegar and consumed the same day.
The preparation of cheese begins with the leftover milk of cows or any other dairy animals. The milk is collected in large containers and placed aside for cheese preparation for 2 hours. This allows the milk to condense and settle down.
Then rennet, vinegar, and lemon juice are added in order to make the milk curdle and coagulate. Unlike other cheeses where the milk coagulates to one big chunk, the milk in rennet cheese preparation curdles into small blocks of bits and pieces because of the various coagulating ingredients such as lemon and vinegar used along with rennet.
Then the coagulated pieces ar milk is caught using a filter while pouring the milk liquid into another larger container. Here the coagulated milk is separated from the cheese.
Since Rennet cheese is a freshly made cheese, I had to visit my neighboring dairy farm in order to get the cheese from where it’s usually made. Also, it was super cheap considering I bought a whole kilo of rennet cheese for 5 dollars.
When I bought fresh rennet cheese for making pizza at home, the color of the cheese was white with a slight yellowish tint.
So Rennet Cheese is the best cheese for pizza if you want to have a freshly made cheese experience and also it is a good option since the price range of this cheese is between high and low.
6. Gouda Cheese
Gouda cheese has its origins in Nordic countries such as the Netherlands. This cheese is created in the farmlands of the Netherlands and holland. It’s also famously called the farmer’s cheese.
As part of the experimentation on which is the best cheese for pizza, when I heard of this pizza, I wanted to try this cheese on my homemade pizza.
Hence I searched for Gouda cheese in the market but I could not my hands on this cheese. So I tried my luck with my neighboring dairy to get this particular cheese but here too I couldn’t get the elusive gouda cheese. So, I decided to prepare the gouda cheese at home.
Gouda cheese is yellow-brownish in color. The taste of the gouda cheese is mildly sweet and has a smooth and shiny texture to it. Actually, gouda cheese is in fact better than mozzarella cheese for pizza.
The yellowish color of gouda cheese is natural because of the color of the cow’s milk used. The milk used in the preparation of gouda cheese is young calf milk which is yellow in color and very thick. I got this milk from my neighbor’s dairy farm.
The other ingredients which I used for making the cheese were vinegar, rennet, and some cheese salt. Once vinegar and rennet are added, the thick yellow milk starts to curdle. Once the milk is curdled, a significant amount of whey is filtered out. This is done to remove the excess lactic acid which in turn provides sweetness to the cheese.
Now the remaining milk condenses is put into a bowl and pressed for some time. Then the cheese is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag and kept to age for a specific period of time. The cheese can be aged anywhere from 3 weeks to a whole year depending on various uses.
Once the cheese is aged, some amount of cheese is cut from the block and grated for pizza. Now I baked the pizza to perfection. The final product was a finely melted gouda cheese pizza where the cheese on the pizza looked golden brown in color which I absolutely loved it. Also, the taste of the cheese in the pizza was quite sweet and exceptional.
If you want to have the best homemade pizza experience with golden brown melted cheese on top, then Gouda pizza is the best choice for cheese for your pizza.
To summarise this post, the best cheese for pizza depends on several factors and occasions such as,
- Parmesan cheese is the best choice for pizza if you want an expensive real authentic experience at your home occasionally.
- Mozzarella cheese is the best option for pizza if you want to make pizza more often and if you are an ardent lover of cheese and also if you are a money-conscious person.
- Cheddar cheese is the best option for pizza if you want to make a pizza that is unique apart from the traditional normally available pizzas and also if you want a pizza that is considerably less expensive.
- Gorgonzola cheese is the best option for pizza if you are a flavor versioned cheese fan and not minding the price it entails.
- Rennet Cheese is the best cheese for pizza if you want to have a freshly made cheese experience and also it is a good option since the price range of this cheese is between high and low price range.
- Gouda cheese is the best cheese for pizza if you want to have the best homemade pizza experience with golden brown melted cheese on top. Also, the cost of gouda cheese is very cheap if made at home.
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