The Best Cheese for Pizza
It’s safe to say that pizza is one of America’s favorite foods. In the United States alone there are over 70,000 pizzerias that generate more than $32 billion in revenue annually. As the owner of a pizzeria, it can be tough to create a pizza that stands out from your competition’s. A lot goes in to making an amazing pizza, but the secret lies within choosing the perfect cheese. We have done the research to see which cheeses will give your pizza the best look and taste.
Mozzarella is the most popular cheese option for a pizza and it has quickly become the cheese of choice for other styles, too. Since it’s minimally processed, it offers a fresh taste with a light and creamy texture.
Difference Between High and Low Moisture Mozzarella
When making pizza with mozzarella cheese, you can choose between high and low moisture. High moisture mozzarella has a very short shelf life and has to be used within the first day of being made. Low moisture mozzarella is also offered, giving it a longer shelf life with a saltier, more dense flavor than high moisture mozzarella. This low moisture component also helps it melt faster when being baked. Low-moisture mozzarella made with whole milk is the best option whether it's being added to a pizza as the only cheese or into a cheese blend.
Using Mozzarella Cheese on Pizza
You can use mozzarella as the base cheese by itself for margherita, Neapolitan, and Greek pizzas. If used alone, make sure to slice it thinly and drain any excess moisture from the cheese. Because mozzarella is so versatile, it is the number one choice of cheese to be added to a cheese blend. Mozzarella can be blended with provolone to make a traditional cheese or pepperoni pizza and many other kinds.
Provolone is a semi-hard Italian cheese and is the second most popular cheese to blend with other cheese. The flavor of provolone varies greatly, depending on how long it's been aged. If you want to add a sweeter flavor and creamier texture to your pizza, then go with a provolone that’s been aged for a shorter amount of time. To add a sharper taste and dryer texture, choose a provolone that’s been aged for a longer period of time.
Provolone Cheese and Types of Pizza
Because of provolone's popularity among the pizza making crowd, you can use it on just about any flavor or kind of pizza. Try to make an Italian tomato, chicken pesto, or tomato basil pizza with provolone as your base. It won't disappoint!
Cheddar cheese is widely loved because of the sharp taste that it has. Although people don’t tend to associate cheddar cheese alone as a cheese to be used on pizza, it is in fact an ingredient in a lot of pizza cheese blends. Cheddar is a good addition to any pie because its small elasticity means it doesn't blister as easily as mozzarella. Also, if you choose a sharper cheddar cheese that has a deep orange tint, it will add color to your pizza.
Creating Pizzas with Cheddar Cheese
Feel free to get creative with cheddar cheese and the types of pizza you want to create. Because of the versatility that cheddar cheese offers, you can add toppings like pepperoni, ham and pineapple, and different kinds of meat for a savory meatlovers pizza. Cheddar cheese is also commonly used on specialty pies like chicken bacon ranch, cheeseburger, and buffalo chicken pizzas.
This hard cheese, in addition to other aged Italian hard cheeses, can be shaved or shredded on top of freshly baked pizzas. It should never be blended into your cheese mixes and due to the delicate flavor and dryness of this cheese, it should never be baked in the oven. When cheeses like Parmesan are exposed to heat, their umami taste is ruined. Instead, use Parmesan as a garnish on your pizzas to enhance the flavor of the whole pie.
Adding Parmesan Cheese to Pizza
If you are a cheese lover, Parmesan cheese is probably one of your favorite go-to cheeses to sprinkle on top of your pizza. Putting Parmesan cheese on any pizza will do, but we recommend it specifically for Sicilian, margherita, or Hawaiian pizzas. This cheese will accentuate the taste of other fresh and flavorful toppings.
Other Types of Cheese for Pizza
Although mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, and provolone are the four main pizza cheese types, there are many other cheese varieties that can be incorporated into your gourmet pies to add a unique taste. Try incorporating some of the following cheeses into your specialty pizzas:
This semi-hard Dutch cheese is known for its rich, unique flavor and smooth texture. Gouda is a delicious addition to pizzas featuring pulled pork or barbecue chicken. Plus, it’s available in straight or smoked, so you can pick the option that will best bring out the other flavors on your pizza.
Although goat cheese doesn’t melt like mozzarella and provolone do, it softens up very nicely when cooked in the oven. Try dropping small blobs of goat cheese across your pie’s surface. This will give customers a random savory taste as they take every bite. Goat cheese pairs well with caramelized onions, figs, and peppers.
Gruyere melts very nicely and has a savory flavor. When someone bites into gruyere, they experience a range of flavors, starting with sweet and ending with nutty and earthy. This cheese also doesn’t blister easily, making it a great cheese for any pizza. Use toppings like sliced potatoes and peppers or ham and sausage.
Ricotta is the typical base cheese used for white sauce pizzas. Ricotta cheese is typically blended with mozzarella, fontina, gruyere, or gorgonzola cheese to make a creamy base. Use ricotta on white pizzas and top it all off with chicken, shrimp, or even bits of broccoli.
Now that you know the characteristics of each cheese type and the flavors of pizza they pair well with, you can begin experimenting by adding in some specialty cheeses. Whether you're making a pizza as a staple on your menu or just as a specialty item offered at your restaurant once a week, it's important to find a cheese that works for your pizza! Enjoy making wonderful pizza for all of your customers.