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Thread: Fresh Mozzarella - why do people love it?

  1. #1
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    Fresh Mozzarella - why do people love it?

    I have tried so hard to LOVE fresh mozzarella. I honestly think it has no flavor and prefer "regular" mozzarella to fresh. What am I missing?

  2. #2
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    A good question. I've found it to be pretty much flavorless as well. And yet hope springs eternal because I have just bought some to use in a recipe. It will be baked, though, not in a salad, so I hope that makes a difference.

  3. #3
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    i felt the same way! i had very high hopes when i bought it, but when i tasted it it seemed very bland to me.
    i've stuck with regular (and cheaper!) mozzarella ever since. i must not be much of a gourmet!

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    Another post in agreement of it being pretty flavorless!
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  5. #5
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    I love a good fresh mozzarella but there are some pretty insipid ones around, so trying different producers' product might help. But then, you may just not like it. I find the tender texture and mild, almost herby flavor refreshing.
    Most of what you buy in the supermarkets here is fior di latte - cow's milk cheese. For the real deal, you want mozzarella di bufala, made from water buffalo's milk; the difference is huge. It has to be flown in from Italy, though I believe someone in Southern California is ow making it. To escalate that there's burrata, which has a gorgeous cream center.

    Now I want some fresh mozzarella!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  6. #6
    i don't know.. i find fresh mozzarella to be absolutely divine.. i just used it last night to melt on top of baked ziti under the broiler.. i get the kind packed in water, though, not wrapped in plastic wrap, which totally depletes the flavor.

  7. #7
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    Ha! and here I am thinking I'm the only one who feels this way. All my life I always thought of it as useless because it lacks in flavor. My mother is Italian and the thought of fresh Mozzarella makes her go nuts, I never understood it. If anything though I prefer the fresh kind, I like to use it on my pizza or in antipasto drizzled with some good olive oil.
    I love cooking with wine sometimes I even put it in the food.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for that link, Canice...now I want some burrata!
    Just another Susan

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskitty100 View Post
    Fresh Mozzarella - why do people love it?
    Because Whole Foods tells us that we should.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennylane714 View Post
    .... i get the kind packed in water, though, not wrapped in plastic wrap, which totally depletes the flavor.
    I didn't even think of that. I bought the plastic wrapped version for the first time a few months ago and found it to be good for baked rigatoni, but I agree - I woudn't use it in a salad.

    Susan, definitely don't miss it if you have the opportunity to enjoy burrata! There's an amazing retaurant called A16 that does a lovely little appetizer of burrata, Prosciutto di San Daniele, and crostini. Talk about how simplicity can sing - it's absolutely heavenly.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #11
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    for me, there is a definite difference in qualities available. i second canice's rec for finding real mozzarella di bufala. it has a delicious buttery quality that is amazing drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh GOOD tomatoes.

    for my money - i don't love baking with fresh mozzarella.
    - Josie


  12. #12
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    i LOVE fresh mozzarella when it's good (the best i've eaten is from little stores on arthur ave. in the bronx). it just melts in your mouth. the grocery store that i go to near my house has vats of fresh mozzarella in water and every once in a while i'll splurge to have mozz, tomato, basil & balsamic sandwiches for lunch. mmmmm!

  13. #13
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    Well, this is a first.

    You people just *saved* me $20 on a mozzarella slicer at Linens 'n Things. This BB usually encourages me to spend $ on pots & gadgets & cookbooks; I don't recall ever being *discouraged* from buying something! I always thought it'd be cool to make that salad with sliced m'za & tomatoes, & fresh basil; thought I'd make it 1st b4 buying the gadget. Good thing, huh?

    (Now, if I ever try that water-buffalo mozzarella & love it, all bets are off on the slicer. )
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

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    Quote Originally Posted by SheRa View Post
    the grocery store that i go to near my house has vats of fresh mozzarella in water and every once in a while i'll splurge to have mozz, tomato, basil & balsamic sandwiches for lunch. mmmmm!
    Oh YEAH! Except my sandwich always has roasted peppers or sundried tomatoes on it.

    Well, I LOVE the stuff. Love, love, love it. Crave it. Even daydream about it sometimes. When I was a kid, my grandparents' neighbor made mozz himself. He always brought some over and we kids would practically knock him down to get to it. It's one of my fondest childhood memories (hey, I'm Italian )

    Of course everyone's entitled to their tastes, but I can't imagine it ever being described as bland or flavorless! If that's the case, I'd say it's just the one you're trying, which to me includes the plastic-wrapped variety (shudder! ) Try some from an Italian deli (if you have one where you live) or good Italian restaurant and you might possibly change your mind.
    "There are times when we're dirt broke, hungry, and freezing, and I ask myself, why the hell am I still living here? And then they call. And I remember." ~Mark, Rent

  15. #15
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    My family agrees... not fans of "fresh" mozzarella.

    However, I think some of you have hit upon the reason. It's now available at our local grocery store, but I think what they're peddaling is a far cry from the authentic, homemade type you'd get from a true Italian market or Italian cheese maker; it's also not the buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufalo), which is also different/more authentic.

    It's kind of like how authentic parmesan cheese (from Parma, Italy - Parmagianno Reggiano) has a nutty, wonderful, distinct flavor, but many people mostly use Kraft Grated Parmesan, which is a different animal altogether.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA98 View Post
    Oh YEAH! Except my sandwich always has roasted peppers or sundried tomatoes on it.
    great...now i'm drooling! i had one a few weeks ago with marinated portabella mushrooms on it too (from a great italian deli).

    i must say, before i lived in NY i didn't get the big deal about fresh mozz. we didn't have any authentic italian restaurants or delis. i think that's the biggest factor - freshness.

  17. #17
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    I usually get my fresh mozz at TJ's which is packed in water. I don't know of any true Italien deli's around here so may have to wait for a trip back east (or to Italy) to really make my final call on this.

    For a caprese type salad, I really prefer a feta cheese over the mozzarells and that goes for bruschetta type things too.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheRa View Post
    great...now i'm drooling! i had one a few weeks ago with marinated portabella mushrooms on it too (from a great italian deli).

    i must say, before i lived in NY i didn't get the big deal about fresh mozz. we didn't have any authentic italian restaurants or delis. i think that's the biggest factor - freshness.
    That's what my Italian uncle told me, fresh mozzarella has to be Fresh!! The best is made in the morning and you have it for lunch.

    I love it, it's like the essence of milk. So tasty.

  19. #19
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    I have never had the joy of tasting true buffalo-moz, but the "insipid" stuff from our local store does have redeeming qualities..
    It acts as a backdrop for glorious tomatoes and fresh basil with garlic and great olive oil.
    It also is a wonderful melting pizza topping which adds creaminess to the ingredients already there.

    Now, when the tomatoes are bad, the moz is not worth it...though garlic, salt and olive oil can mask a multitude of sins!!
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    Because Whole Foods tells us that we should.

    Yea, right. We're all too stupid to decide what tastes good to us and what doesn't. Talk about " "

    I agree, wallycat - basil and tomatoes are reason enough for me to bring home a fresh ball of mozz.
    Even if you prefer feta to mozzarella, it's not an "insalata caprese" if it isn't made with mozzarella - I don't think you'll find much feta on Capri.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    Even if you prefer feta to mozzarella, it's not an "insalata caprese" if it isn't made with mozzarella - I don't think you'll find much feta on Capri.
    I know.....

    The 2 times I have been to Italy, it was late November so I haven't gotten to experience a true Caprese salad as tomatoes weren't in season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    Because Whole Foods tells us that we should.
    I thought this was hilarious!

    Is there any grocery-store brand of mozzarella that you all would recommend? I don't know exactly what my store carries, but it's probably a standard brand like DiGiorno or Frigo, in plastic (haven't bought it in awhile, but I thought there was liquid in the bag, too).
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskitty100 View Post
    I know.....

    The 2 times I have been to Italy, it was late November so I haven't gotten to experience a true Caprese salad as tomatoes weren't in season.
    Ah, Caprese salad - sliced, creamy Bufala mozzarella with ripe tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt & cracked pepper. Bliss.

    (The rubber ball sold in the supermarket called mozzarella is very different, I think. Great for shredding and putting in lasagne, not so good for a Caprese salad).
    "If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

  24. #24
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    Fortunately what I have bought, I liked. I tasted a sample at HEB though -- boasting fresh store made (probably in a remote kitchen serving Central Markets, et al.). The display with the red tomatoes, olive oil and all looked nice enough, but the cheese was tasteless -- at least until I started to walk away and the salt hit me. POW! This was packed in water, so not all packed in water are going to be equal.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallycat View Post
    I have never had the joy of tasting true buffalo-moz, but the "insipid" stuff from our local store does have redeeming qualities..
    It acts as a backdrop for glorious tomatoes and fresh basil with garlic and great olive oil.
    It also is a wonderful melting pizza topping which adds creaminess to the ingredients already there.

    Now, when the tomatoes are bad, the moz is not worth it...though garlic, salt and olive oil can mask a multitude of sins!!
    head over to madison's farmer's market when you are feeling up to it, and i am sure there are still some people selling fresh, amazing moz (if nothing else you can get the fresh cottage cheese which is worth a thread in and of itself )
    - Josie


  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    For the real deal, you want mozzarella di bufala, made from water buffalo's milk; the difference is huge. It has to be flown in from Italy, though I believe someone in Southern California is ow making it.
    We have a local cheese maker who makes mozzarella di bufala (from a Canadian herd of buffalo). It is well worth the efforts of getting it (local chefs continuously buy out their limited supply).
    "Auntie, you are a good cooker." ~ My nephew, age 5

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clover View Post
    A good question. I've found it to be pretty much flavorless as well. And yet hope springs eternal because I have just bought some to use in a recipe. It will be baked, though, not in a salad, so I hope that makes a difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    I love a good fresh mozzarella but there are some pretty insipid ones around, so trying different producers' product might help. But then, you may just not like it. I find the tender texture and mild, almost herby flavor refreshing.
    Most of what you buy in the supermarkets here is fior di latte - cow's milk cheese. For the real deal, you want mozzarella di bufala, made from water buffalo's milk; the difference is huge. It has to be flown in from Italy, though I believe someone in Southern California is ow making it. To escalate that there's burrata, which has a gorgeous cream center.

    Now I want some fresh mozzarella!
    The recipe I was buying for recommended mozzarella di bufala. So that was what I wanted, but it was so expensive that, not wanting to spend $18 on a single ingredient, I bought half mozzarella di bufala and half mozzarella di San Diego cows. Tonight I opened the cartons and did a taste test. There was definitely a big difference. The San Diego cow mozzarella was flavorless. In comparison, the mozzarella di bufala did have a flavor, a nice flavor, sort of delicate. I could see using it in a salad, although it might be overwhelmed by the tomato or, well, by any other ingredient. "Nice" is about as far as I can go. I think I just like stronger flavors. And did I mention that it was very expensive? Of course, I just read online that one should consume it within 10 hours after it's made, and within 2 days at the outside, and I'm sure I'm not within that limit, but I won't ever be if it's coming from Italy. Apparently it's never supposed to be refrigerated either, so that's something else that was wrong with it.

  28. #28
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    This is enlightening! I've been totally disappointed with caprese salad made with good (homegrown) tomatoes and basil. the cheese? yuck. flavorless. and I was SOO expecting to like it! It was beautiful but little flavor. I will keep my eye out for mozzarella di bufala because all the enthusiasm could not have been about the stuff I tried several times. No Italian delis around here and not even a decent italian restaurant that I know of. and very few buffalo. anyone know what kind of animal that is? a water buffalo? a bison? a special breed of cow?
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie226 View Post
    anyone know what kind of animal that is? a water buffalo? a bison? a special breed of cow?
    http://www.mozzarelladibufala.org/allestimento.htm

    Looks like a water buffalo. I had no idea they had them in Italy!

  30. #30
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    Made your own?

    Barbara Kingsolver included a recipe for making fresh mozzarella in her latest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Here's a link to the online version: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/Mozzarella.pdf She includes some recipes for using the cheese here: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/Recipes.html

    I haven't tried to make it yet, but if anyone has, I'd be interested in hearing if it's worth it and any tips.

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