As you are preparing your pizza or salad, have you ever wondered what is the liquid in mozzarella balls?
What purpose does it serve, and does it affect the flavor or texture in any way?
What would happen to mozzarella without the liquid?
Are you supposed to wash mozzarella before using it?
Why isn’t pre-shredded mozzarella stored in liquid?
So many questions about such a simple subject!
Let’s find out exactly what the liquid around mozzarella really is.
The liquid around mozzarella balls, known as whey or brine, serves to preserve the cheese’s freshness and maintain its soft, delicate texture. Whey is the byproduct of the cheesemaking process, while brine is a saltwater solution. Both liquids prevent the mozzarella from drying out and help retain its characteristic moisture content.
Why is Mozzarella Kept in Liquid?
When you are ready to use your mozzarella, then the first thing you need to do is drain it.
But what is that liquid around mozzarella balls?
Don’t worry; it’s nothing yucky and is perfectly safe!
It could be one of three things – water, salted, or whey.
And if you are wondering, whey is a natural substance that is a by-product of cheesemaking.
You might even see some unidentified bits floating in the liquid.
Don’t panic, they are just milk solids that form when the liquid is refrigerated.
They are not harmful or a sign that the mozzarella has gone off.
So, back to the liquid.
This is necessary because mozzarella has a high moisture content, and it shouldn’t be allowed to dry out.
In fact, the best mozzarella can be as high as 50% water.
The liquid also helps the mozzarella retain its traditional ball shape.
Without it, the cheese would flatten out and not be as appealing.
You can buy mozzarella that is vacuum-wrapped and not suspended in a liquid.
This is typically the so-called pizza mozzarella which has a lower moisture content.
It doesn’t dry out as easily.
However, once opened, you should pop it in a bowl of water and keep it in the fridge, where it will stay fresh for up to three days.
Do You Need to Wash Mozzarella Before Using It?
As the mozzarella has been kept in liquid to stop it from drying out, do you need to wash it before using it?
Especially if it was kept in brine, as perhaps the salt might affect the taste.
It’s not necessary to wash it, but you will need to dry the mozzarella to remove excess moisture.
This can be done by simply wrapping it in a paper towel for up to 30 minutes before you plan to use it.
Otherwise, the mozzarella will leak liquid into the pizza crust and make it soggy and unpleasant to eat.
It may also affect how it melts if it is too wet.
If you are using a higher quality mozzarella with a moisture content of over 50%, it may require a further step to complete the drying process.
First, cut the mozzarella ball into several pieces and pop it in a strainer.
Stand the strainer over a bowl and put it in the refrigerator.
This will allow excess moisture to drain from inside and outside the mozzarella.
Of course, the above information assumes you are going to put your mozzarella on a pizza and cook it.
If you are eating it fresh in a salad, it won’t require drying unless that is your personal preference.
Why is Pre-Shredded Mozzarella Not Stored in Liquid?
Pre-shredded mozzarella is readily available in most grocery stores and is very convenient.
However, it will not be of the best quality and will have a low moisture content.
As such, it doesn’t need to be kept in liquid.
In fact, it will probably be mixed with starch to stop the shreds from sticking together.
Obviously, that would result in a nasty, gloopy mixture if any liquid was added to it!
How Mozzarella is Made
The liquid around mozzarella balls can either be water, brine, or whey.
It keeps the cheese from drying out and helps it keep its classic ball shape.
You don’t need to wash the liquid from the mozzarella, but it will benefit from being dried with a paper towel.
Pre-shredded mozzarella will not have a high moisture content and does not need to be kept wet.
Enjoy your lovely, gooey cheese!
If you enjoyed this article, it may have led you to ask if it’s possible to drink the water around mozzarella!