Anyone who starts making their own pizza eventually faces an important decision: What type of mozzarella is best?
While shredded mozzarella may seem like the most popular option, diced and sliced mozzarella also offer unique benefits for certain types of pizzas. You’ll never go wrong with any type of mozzarella, of course, but how you slice (or dice) it can make all the difference. Read on to find out the best mozzarella for you!
Easily the most common and popular pizza mozzarella, shredded mozzarella is quick, convenient, and easy to throw on your pizza crust. Even if you’re starting with a block of low-moisture mozzarella, you can easily make your own shredded mozzarella using a cheese grinder.
Shredded mozzarella offers several benefits over sliced and diced mozzarella. In addition to being easier to apply, shredded mozzarella can overlap while leaving air pockets, resulting in a fluffier, stretchier layer of cheese. Plus, with many pre-shredded mozzarellas coated in anti-caking agents, you’ll never have to go through the effort of breaking up a solid clump of cheese.
While there aren’t technically any downsides to using shredded mozzarella, portion control isn’t as precise as using sliced or diced mozzarella. Also, as we’ll see shortly, sliced mozzarella is also more appropriate for “sauce-over-cheese” pizzas such as Chicago deep dish.
Sliced mozzarella is becoming an increasingly popular choice, thanks to its ease of use, full spread, and a rise in demand for pizzas that apply sauce on top of the cheese. Using whole slices also allows for greater consistency and, for some pizza eaters, a more enjoyable mouthfeel.
For these types of pizzas, having sliced mozzarella directly on the crust provides a moisture barrier to the sauce while also acting as a “glue” for the remaining sauce and toppings. Using shredded or diced mozzarella for this purpose often results in all the sauce and toppings sliding off the crust after the first bite—a definite bummer!
Common examples of sauce-over-cheese pizzas include Chicago deep dish pizza, Detroit-style pizza, Sicilian upside-down pizza, and Grandma pizza, a Long Island classic where, similarly to Sicilian pizza, the pizza is baked in a square sheet pan with the sauce on top. Grandma pizza earned its peculiar name because the Italian immigrants who first made them rarely did so outside the house.
Last but definitely not least, diced mozzarella offers many of the same benefits as shredded mozzarella, only on a much larger scale. Where shredded mozzarella consists only of tiny cheese “shreds,” diced mozzarella has relatively larger “beads” or cubes that create an even meltier cheese layer. For cheese lovers, diced mozzarella is definitely the best option.
Unlike shredded mozzarella, however, diced mozzarella doesn’t have the same “stretchy” quality that many people enjoy from sliced pizza. The larger size of diced mozzarella makes it less likely to “fuse” together as shredded cheese does. However, it’s still a great choice for achieving a thicker layer of cheese, and it’s also much easier for portion control compared to shredded cheese, especially when heavy hands can sometimes spread too much.
Which Is Best?
While the “best” cheese is ultimately a matter of personal taste, some types of mozzarella are better suited for certain types of pizzas. If you’re making a classic New York-style pizza, for example, using shredded or diced cheese is usually the best bet, remembering that diced cheese won’t stretch quite as well as sliced cheese.
For Chicago deep dish and similar types of sauce-over-cheese pizzas, however, sliced mozzarella is almost always the best choice. While you could get away with using shredded or diced mozzarella, they won’t form as strong of a moisture barrier and may cause toppings to slide off during eating.
No matter your choice, however, all mozzarella benefits from a proper melt from a hot pizza oven. With an outdoor gas oven and wood fired pizza oven, you and your family can enjoy cheesy, melty, restaurant-quality pizza from the comfort of your kitchen or backyard. For more information, explore the Fontana Forni line of gas pizza ovens or call our team at 877-842-9822.