There are basically two types of mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella) is made from domesticated water buffalo milk and mozzarella fior di latte is made from fresh pasteurized or unpasteurized cow’s milk. Buffalo mozzarella is made from milk of water buffalo raised in designated areas and holds the official status of protected designation of origin (PDO) under the European Union. I did not know any of that until I attended a class on making mozzarella at Zingerman’s Creamery. I learned a lot that day.
In the USA, Mozzarella is produced as two types, low moisture (moisture content of less than 50%) and high moisture (more than 52%). The low moisture mozzarella is developed to handle distribution and transportation for stores and is usually produced in large factories. If you haven’t had fresh, made-that-day mozzarella, you are in for a treat. It’s creamy and moist and has more flavor than I have ever had in any store brand mozzarella. In my opinion, the low moisture mozzarella should be called something else because there really is no comparison.
There are two basic ways to make mozzarella: direct acidification of the milk to form the curds or the rennet method. In both methods, raw milk is pasteurized and then coagulated to form curds. Once the curds reach a pH of 5.2, they are cut into small pieces, mixed with hot water, and then “strung” or “spun” until long ropes of cheese form. This “stringing of the curd” is unique to cheeses in the pasta filata family such as mozzarella, scamorza and provolone. When the proper smooth, elastic consistency is reached, the curds are formed by machine or hand into balls which are then tossed into cold salted water so that they maintain their shapes while they cool.