A mild-tasting Italian cheese made from cow's (or often in Italy, water buffalo's) milk. Mozzarella comes in two distinct types.
Fresh mozzarella is ball-shaped, and packed in a whey-water mixture. The balls range in size from 8 oz. softballs to tiny bocconcini The texture is soft and springy and the flavor is sweet and milky. Smoked mozzarella is made from the fresh version, and has a toasty appearance and smoky flavor.
Low-moisture mozzarella is sold as plastic-wrapped bricks, and is a popular cheese for topping pizza in the U.S. because of its shreddable texture and meltability. Low-moisture mozzarella is available in both whole-milk and part-skim versions; in our test kitchen, we've found that whole-milk mozzarella tends to melt more smoothly.
Most supermarkets sell fresh mozzarella in their deli section, though for a real treat, seek out the artisanal fresh mozzarella made by local Italian cheese shops.
Low-moisture mozzarella is sold in the dairy section of the supermarket with other plastic-wrapped block cheeses.
Keep fresh mozzarella submerged in the liquid it's sold in, and use it within two days of buying.