Everyone who loves pizza knows mozzarella -- it's the cheese that melts so easily and creates that characteristic string after biting into a slice. We love mozzarella in almost all of its forms, but there's type we despise -- pre-shredded. It's certainly more convenient to dip into a bag of pre-shredded mozzarella, for times when you're making a tray of lasagna, but it's not the best. Shredded cheeses are dusted with anti-caking agents (cellulose, starch and calcium carbonate) as well as mold inhibitors (natamycin) to prevent the cheese from sticking together. Though not necessarily harmful, who wants to be eating those additives?

We highly recommend buying a block (or ball) of fresh mozzarella to shred yourself. If you've ever had an Italian Caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil), then you know how amazing fresh mozzarella is. And, well, mozzarella di bufala (made form water buffalo's rich milk) is incredible.

Learn more about the different types of mozzarella available to you in the slideshow below. Also watch a video to see how it's made.


Processed Mozzarella
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Processed mozzarella is dryer than fresh mozzarella, making it easier to grate. But that also means it's a bit rubbery in texture, and has less flavor than fresh. It's available in part-skim, low-fat and non-fat versions.

How To Use: Processed mozzarella is firm and melts easily, so it's a great choice for use as a cheese topping or stirred into cheesy sauces. Try it on pizzas and baked pasta dishes or dice it up and enjoy as an appetizer. But beware that the nonfat version doesn't melt as well and turns rubbery when cooked.

Recipes:
Mozzarella Chicken Cutlets
Caponata, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini
Individual Grill Pan Pepperoni Pizzas


Image courtesy of Urban Magazine, Flickr.