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best cheeses for pizza

The Best Cheeses for Pizza

by Martha Simmonds
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When you enter Pizza Hut where the price of cheese pizza starts at $7.50, do you ever wonder exactly what kind of cheese you get? Perhaps you’re one of those people who never thought about it. Maybe you’re more interested in which meat toppings to get, and that your only priority is that the pizza never has pineapple for a topping.

But you’ll most likely realize that there are actually several options for which cheese to use when you find menu items such as 4-cheese pizza. You may also want to experiment a bit if you like to make your own pizza as well.

So, which cheese should you have on your pizza? You can try any of the following:

Buffalo Mozzarella

This is the ultimate pizza cheese, the original mozzarella di bufala, the only “true” mozzarella for purists. It’s a creamy delight that won’t let you down as it melts mightily well.

If you’re making your own pizza, you should tear the mozzarella cheese by hand, and then sit the pieces in a sieve before cooking to dry them out a bit. That way, you don’t end up with soggy areas. Pizza parlors don’t have this problem because the stone pizza oven can get a lot hotter than your regular home oven.

Use this buffalo mozzarella cheese on Neapolitan pizzas, with classic combinations with basil and tomato sauce.

Low-Moisture Mozzarella

This gives you crispy edges and unobtrusive creaminess when you have this as your base cheese. It stretches, bubbles and browns nicely.

Scatter the cheese on top first, and then cover the cheese with the tomato sauce and the toppings. That way, you protect it from the oven heat and it doesn’t brown too much.

Fior di Latte

Loosely translated as “Flower of Milk”, this is basically mozzarella that doesn’t come from buffalo milk. It comes from regular cow’s milk instead. Consequently, it’s not quite as creamy and as tender as the buffalo version. But you won’t really notice the difference, unless you’re doing a side-by-side taste test.

This melts well too, since it’s still mozzarella cheese. Basically, you use it just like regular buffalo mozzarella.

Parmesan Cheese

This ubiquitous cheese is everywhere and you normally find it in salads, risottos, and pasta dishes. It’s no wonder that you might find it on a pizza as well.

It’s true that it’s a hard cheese, so it crisps more than it melts. But it can still work for your pizza. It’s like the cheese version of MSG—it’s savory and salty. Just grate it on the pizza right after you take the pizza out of the oven.

Burrata

One way to describe this is that it’s cheese with cream inside. The outside is a mozzarella skin that seems eager to burst already. The inside is Stracciatella, which is a mix of mozzarella and cream.

Melting isn’t an issue, since it’s already creamy liquid inside. You just need to get it warmed a bit. Just spread the burrata on the pizza when it’s out of the oven. Cut the cheese in the middle and let it spread.

Taleggio

This is creamy Lombardy cheese that’s a bit sweaty and nutty. It’s the cheese you might want when you’re looking for something different from the usual creamy cheese.

It melts very easily—heck, it almost turns to liquid on a really hot summer’s day. Just break the cheese up on your pizza once you’ve put in the tomato sauce. It sits nicely on toppings, and it spreads nicely in the oven.

Pecorino

There’s the stagionato version that’s the hard aged cheese, but that’s not the best for your pizza. Instead, go with the semi-stagionato, which is younger. It’s firm but nicely flexible, and it offers a nice combo of nutty and creamy.

It melts easily enough in the oven if you use the semi-stagionato. But you can still use the harder stagionato version if you grate it finely first.

Ricotta

This is fresh, dense, and creamy, and it doesn’t really melt well. But you can set some ricotta cheese on the pizza once it’s fresh out of the oven. Just spoon it on the pizza, and it’ll set nicely on the toppings.

It works really well with roasted vegetables, which is why it’s a popular option for vegetarian pizzas. It also works nicely with thyme and honey.

Cheddar

Cheddar works nicely on burgers, so there’s really no good reason why it won’t work on a pizza. True, the look of the pizza isn’t all that nice. The cheddar melts easily enough, but you also get this somewhat oily slick. But once you get a bite in, you won’t care how it looks!

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