How Do You Cut Mozzarella Balls for Pizza? (The Right Way!)

As you are making your tasty snack, you may be wondering, how do you cut mozzarella balls for pizza?

The cheese is so soft, perhaps you should just pull it apart, rather than cut it.

Is there a recommended thickness for slices of mozzarella?

Does it make a difference if it is for putting on a pizza or in a salad?

What about shredding mozzarella, is that easier?

Why is mozzarella shaped like a ball anyway?

Let’s find the answer to all these cheesy questions!

Cutting mozzarella balls for pizza involves draining the cheese from its preserving liquid and patting it dry with a paper towel. Once drained, use a sharp knife to slice the mozzarella into even, thin pieces. Alternatively, you can tear the cheese by hand for a more rustic appearance. Distribute the mozzarella evenly over the pizza for optimal melting and coverage.

Should You Cut, Shred or Tear Mozzarella for Pizza?

Handling mozzarella is a bit of a slippery task, and you might wonder if you should try and cut it, or just tear it apart.

Or even shred it.

Obviously, mozzarella is a very soft cheese, and unless you have a very sharp knife, you might struggle to cut it into very thin slices.

If you put thicker slices of mozzarella on top of your pizza, they are not going to melt very effectively.

You could be left with blobs of cheese and a soggy crust, which is not what you were hoping for!

It’s possible to tear the mozzarella instead, but then you are going to end up with irregular pieces rather than nice round slices.

This won’t affect the taste, though; you may just need to spread them evenly over the topping.

Shredding is another possibility, but again, the softness of the mozzarella will be a drawback. 

You could end up with mozzarella clogging up your grater, getting stuck in the holes, and not leaving you with any cheese you can actually use!

One recommendation is to put the mozzarella in the freezer first, but for no more than 10 minutes.

Make sure you dry it first, as well, so the outside of the cheese doesn’t ice over.

Partially frozen mozzarella will be easier to cut, tear and shred, so it’s definitely an option you might want to consider.

Of course, all the above advice assumes you are using a high-quality mozzarella with high moisture content.

Instead, you may wish to purchase pizza mozzarella which has a lower moisture content.

You can find it in blocks rather than the traditional ball shape.

This will make it easier to slice or shred.

And for the ultimate convenience, you can buy ready-shredded mozzarella that you simply sprinkle on top of the pizza.

Why is Mozzarella Shaped Like a Ball?

Perhaps you have often wondered why is mozzarella ball-shaped.

To answer that better, let’s look at how mozzarella is made.

The highest quality mozzarella is made from buffalo milk, but cow’s milk is perfectly acceptable.

The milk is heated with the addition of rennet, live cultures, and acid, which forms it into curds.

These curds are drained for several hours.

The next part of the process is to immerse the curds in salted hot water, and this is what softens them. 

The curds form what is known as stracciatella (strings), and as the mozzarella is stretched and kneaded, these cheese strings start coming together in a ball shape.

Eventually, one large ball of mozzarella is formed, and the cheesemaker cuts pieces from it to roll into smaller balls to retain the stringy texture.

If you pull a mozzarella ball apart, you can see the stracciatella, and these give it texture and give us that lovely stringiness we enjoy on a pizza!

Mozzarella also comes in other sizes, and the smaller balls are known as bocconcini, which are particularly delicious when breaded and deep-fried!

Mozzarella Cheese: How to Cut It for Pizza

Final Thoughts

Mozzarella is a very soft cheese with high moisture content, which makes it difficult to cut.

Tearing or shredding the cheese is also somewhat of a challenge.

Freezing the mozzarella for 10 minutes can make the task easier.

It is also possible to buy pizza mozzarella that has lower moisture content and is easier to slice.

Mozzarella naturally forms into a ball shape during the cheesemaking process.

Don’t be afraid of getting to grips with your mozzarella, now you know how to cut it!

Another question you may be pondering once you have cut your cheese is why mozzarella goes orange and whether it is a problem.

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