Do you want to know how to choose the perfect cheese for your pizza? The pizza experts at 11 Inch Pizza have all the answers you’ve been looking for.
Cheese is an essential part of pretty much any pizza. It’s the topping element that ties the dish together and there’s nothing more satisfying than taking a slice of pizza and seeing the deliciously gooey cheese stretch out.
However, it’s important to know that not all cheeses are made equal. Some cheeses are better suited to some pizzas than others. Knowing which cheeses complement certain toppings and ingredients will help you to create a gourmet pizza with mind-blowing flavours in your very own kitchen at home.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular cheeses for pizzas and created a guide for which flavour profiles they best complement.
Undoubtedly the most popular cheese for pizza is mozzarella cheese, which is also known as fior di latte. Known for its fresh taste as well as its light and creamy texture, there’s a good reason as to why mozzarella is such a popular pizza topping choice. However, if you really want to enhance the flavours of your pizza using mozzarella, it’s important that you choose your mozzarella wisely.
There are two main types of mozzarella cheese: high moisture and low moisture. High moisture mozzarella has an extremely short shelf life; it pretty much needs to be used within a day of being made. Low moisture mozzarella, on the other hand, has a much longer shelf life and is generally much more ideal for pizza. This is because it melts a lot faster when melted. Try to opt for whole-milk, low moisture mozzarella when you’re making pizza as it has a much more robust flavour than low-fat options.
Provolone cheese is the second most popular cheese for pizza and can often be found mixed with mozzarella on top of a pizza. It is a semi-hard cheese that can vary greatly in flavour depending on how long it is aged for. For example, provolone that has only been aged for two to three months is known to be supple and smooth while provolone that has been aged for six months to two years is filled with holes and has a stronger, spicier flavour.
Like mozzarella, provolone will work well on just about any kind of pizza. Some of our favourite flavour combinations is to pair provolone with chicken pesto or tomato and basil.
Parmesan cheese is a hard and dry cheese that is known for offering a sharp, rich flavour. Unlike other cheeses, you should never put a pizza with parmesan on it into the oven as it will ruin the taste. Instead, you should garnish your already-cooked pizza with parmesan and allow the residual heat to melt it slightly.
Parmesan cheese is a great addition to vegetarian pizzas with eggplant and capsicum, or pizzas with caramelised onion as it is able to balance out the sweetness.
If you want to make your pizza gourmet, you can’t go past goat’s cheese. Goat’s cheese is incomparably creamy and has a rich tangy taste that pairs perfectly with sweeter flavours. Although goat’s cheese doesn’t melt in the same way that mozzarella or provolone does, it gets deliciously soft in the oven. We recommend that you spread it on your pizza in small globs so that you get the occasional mouthful when biting into your slices.
Goat’s cheese is absolutely divine when paired with sweet vegetables like capsicum, pumpkin and sweet potato.
If you’re taste buds are a little more adventurous, you might want to try adding blue cheese to your pizza. Blue cheese tends to be the kind of food that people absolutely adore or hate with a passion, with every few people falling in between. If you fall into the former category, you will know that blue cheese has an incredibly strong flavour that is unlike anything else.
Try blue cheese on a pizza with pancetta, rocket and walnuts.
Vegan or Lactose-Free Cheese
As delicious as all the above cheeses are, unfortunately, not everyone is able to eat them due to intolerances or dietary requirements. In fact, lactose intolerance is one of the most common food allergies out there and veganism is quickly growing in popularity as a lifestyle.
But being lactose-intolerant doesn’t mean that you have to abstain from pizza altogether; nowadays, there are some really incredible vegan and lactose-free cheese options that are so good you can barely tell the difference from the real thing.