Science proves mozzarella is the ultimate pizza cheese

If you’re enrolled in culinary arts courses online, odds are you get excited about making a good homemade pizza. The average American consumes pizza nearly 40 times a year, making it one of the U.S.’s most popular meals. Of course, a great pizza requires quality dough, well-seasoned sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. That’s simply the way its been done for decades, and although pizza can come topped with various kinds of cheeses, a new study conducted by the University of Auckland in New Zealand has scientifically proven that mozzarella is the optimal choice. So next time you’re considering an experimental Canadian bacon pizza with chevre and Gruyere, remember that mozzarella is the chosen cheese, because science says so.

“Quantification of pizza baking properties of different cheeses, and their correlation with cheese functionality” 
Though the title of the study may seem a bit longwinded, researchers at the University of Auckland simply made a bunch of pizzas with various cheeses, including cheddar, colby, Gruyere and provolone. This allowed them to quantify the baking properties of each cheese, specifically in regard to blistering and browning. To get the most desirable pizza texture, the cheese has to bubble and brown – then the bubbles pop and you’re left with a perfect layer of warm, gooey cheese. Mozzarella has tremendous elasticity, so the bubbles get fairly large and brown before popping. The team also measured the water content of each cheese, which is responsible for the bubbling. When the pizza is placed in the oven, water in the cheese evaporates, creating steam, which leads to the creation of cheese bubbles.

The team concluded that mozzarella has the perfect level of bubbling and browning to develop that signature pizza texture. Cheddar browns well but has no bubbling, and on the other end, Gruyere bubbles but is too oily to properly brown. However, the culinary scientists are not adverse to experimentation, suggesting that those who make fresh pies at home consider mixing mozzarella with other cheeses.

The power of cheese
It’s no surprise to find mozzarella commonly being used at neighborhood pizzerias. In fact, the cheese is so in demand that many farmers heavily focus on its production. In Wisconsin, a state well-known for its dairy industry, 85 percent of milk produced is developed into cheese, and a third of that cheese is specifically mozzarella. A fair portion of that mozzarella eventually lands on top of a warm, delicious pizza, proving this nation’s passion for the pie.

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