Do you ever wonder what kind of cheese to put on your homemade pizza? The right cheese can take a good pizza to great heights, but choosing the wrong cheese can ruin it. In this article, we’ll discuss the best kinds of cheese for making the perfect homemade pizza from mozzarella to plant-based options. We will also give you some useful tips and tricks for cooking homemade pizza that will make your pizzas taste professionally made.
What Cheese to Use for a Perfect Homemade Pizza
If you’re looking to make a pizza at home, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is what cheese you should use. A good pizza cheese should have certain qualities that will help enhance the overall taste and texture of your pizza.
Characteristics of Good Pizza Cheese
- Melts easily without becoming greasy or oily
- Has a mild flavor that won’t overpower other toppings
- Stretches when pulled apart, creating those delicious strings we all love
- Browns nicely in the oven, creating a crispy topping
Types of Cheese Used for Pizza
The most common types of cheese used for pizza are:
- Mozzarella: This is the classic choice for any pizza. It has a mild and slightly salty flavor and melts beautifully. It’s also very versatile and pairs well with just about any topping.
- Cheddar: While less traditional than mozzarella, cheddar can add an extra layer of sharpness to your homemade pizza. It doesn’t always melt as well as mozzarella, but it can be blended with other cheeses to create a unique flavor profile.
- Parmesan: This cheese isn’t typically used as the main cheese on a pizza but can be added as an accent with its pungent and nutty taste. When combined with milder cheeses like mozzarella, it adds an explosion of flavor.
If you want something more exotic and fancy — Gorgonzola or feta could be great options!
Pros and Cons of Each Type of Cheese
- Mozzarella: Pros – Classic pizza cheese, melts nicely, pairs well with most toppings; Cons – Not very interesting or unique taste-wise.
- Cheddar: Pros – Brings a sharp flavor to your pizza, versatile; Cons – Can be the quick dry type in pizza when used alone.
- Parmesan: Pros – Adds great flavor and texture as an accent cheese; Cons – Might overwhelm other flavors if too much is used.
Tips for Choosing the Right Cheese for Your Pizza
- If you’re making a classic Margherita pizza, mozzarella is the way to go.
- If you want to experiment with different flavors, try combining two or more cheeses together. A blend of mozzarella and cheddar can produce a richer flavor palate.
- If you like strong-flavored cheeses, consider using parmesan sparingly as an accent.
An important thing to bear in mind is that personal preferences are essential when choosing between these types of cheese for homemade pizza. Expanding on this list will require extra testing to match your taste preference best!
The Importance of Mozzarella Cheese for Pizza
If you’re a pizza lover, then you know that mozzarella cheese is the cornerstone ingredient in any great pie. But why is it so important? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Mozzarella Cheese?
Mozzarella cheese is known for its stretchy, gooey texture and mild flavor, making it the perfect complement to the bold flavors of pizza sauce and toppings. Its low moisture content also makes it a good choice because it won’t make your pizza soggy like other cheeses such as cheddar can.
Types of Mozzarella Cheese
There are several types of mozzarella cheese, including:
- Fresh Mozzarella: This type has a higher moisture content, resulting in a softer, creamier texture compared to other mozzarellas.
- Shredded Mozzarella: This type is more convenient if you’re making homemade pizzas. You can buy pre-shredded bags from grocery stores which saves time during preparation.
- Buffalo Mozzarella: Made with rich buffalo milk rather than cow’s milk. It has a richer taste compared to fresh one but works well on certain pizza recipes such as Margherita where tomato and basil bring balance against its richness.
Tips on Using Mozzarella Cheese
To get the best results out of your mozzarella cheese:
- Select high-quality cheese that looks moist and fresh when buying from the store or online vendors.
- If using fresh or wet-style ball shaped mozzerella heat up starchy pasta water for your hands and squeeze the ball applying same pressure from all directions to bring out any excess moisture before slicing or shredding.
- Use a light hand with shredded cheese. A small amount goes farther on a pizza than you might expect.
- Don’t overload your pie with too much cheese to prevent it from getting soggy.
- Bake the pizza in a hot oven at around 500°F (260°C). This will help melt the cheese quickly and give you that perfect “golden brown” crust.
Pizza Recipes That Use Mozzarella Cheese
- Margherita: This is one of the most iconic pizza types that require high-quality fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil leaves and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Hawaiian: Think sweet pineapple combined with savory ham slices! Shredded Maui onion and baked sliced chicken breast also complement well with this combination of flavors.
- Sausage & Mushroom: Cook up some sliced mushrooms and sausage until they are nicely browned then add to your mozzarella-ladden crust. You won’t regret it!
Beyond Mozzarella: Other Cheese Options for Pizza
When we think of pizza, mozzarella cheese immediately comes to mind. However, there are plenty of other cheeses that can add unique and delicious flavors to our pies.
– Secondary cheese options:
- Goat Cheese
Although these cheeses are tasty and versatile, they may not be as popular for pizza due to their distinct flavors and textures.
Cheddar is a sharp, aged cheese that adds bold flavor to any dish. When using cheddar on pizza, it’s best to combine it with complementary ingredients such as bacon or apples. Sprinkle a light layer of cheddar with mozzarella for a perfect cheesy blend.
Parmesan is commonly used as a garnish but can also be added directly onto the pizza in thin shavings or grated for a stronger taste. Pro tip! Try brushing your crusts with melted butter or olive oil then sprinkle a mix of parmesan & herbs which gives an additional zing!
Ricotta is commonly used in lasagna and stuffed shells but works well on pizzas too! The creamy texture makes it an excellent base option instead of tomato sauce. Mix ricotta with garlic and lemon zest before spreading it over the dough for extra flavor.
– Gouda/Feta/Goat Cheese:
Gouda has smooth caramel & nutty flavour; Feta has a salty flavour; Goat Cheese is tangy & slightly pungent, these cheeses are best used sparingly or in combination with other cheeses. Typically they should be added towards the end of the bake to avoid drying out the cheese too much.
When experimenting with different cheeses for pizza, it’s important to keep in mind which flavors work well together and which ones may clash. Consider using milder or stronger toppings based on the cheese you choose.
- Ricotta and Spinach Pizza: Spread ricotta over the dough, top it off with spinach, some herbs & voila! Tasty veggielicious pizza ready at home!
- Cheddar and Bacon Pizza: Add slices of thin-cut bacon (cooked first!) evenly onto a layer of mozzarella cheese then add shredded cheddar for an extra punch.
- Parmesan and Prosciutto Pizza: Lay thinly sliced prosciutto over your tomato sauce then top it off with shavings of freshly grated parmesan right before baking it into yummy goodness!
Beyond mozzarella lies a world of exciting flavor combinations that can elevate our pizzas from mundane to magnificent. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of cheese – who knows, you might just create a new family favorite!
Vegan and Dairy-Free Cheese Options for Pizza
Over the last decade or so, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of veganism and dairy-free diets. This has led to an increase in demand for cheese alternatives that are free from animal-derived products. The pizza industry has not been immune to this trend, and today, there are plenty of delicious vegan and dairy-free cheese options available.
Different Types of Vegan and Dairy-Free Cheese
- Nut-based cheese – made from nuts such as cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts. These cheeses offer a rich flavor profile that is similar to traditional dairy cheese.
- Soy-based cheese – made primarily from soy protein isolate or tofu. These cheeses tend to have a milder flavor profile than nut-based cheeses but can still be quite tasty when prepared properly.
- Coconut-based cheese – made from coconut milk or cream; these cheeses have a more delicate flavor than other plant-based options but work well in combination with other toppings like vegetables or meats.
Tips on Using Vegan and Dairy-Free Cheese for Pizza:
- Add some extra oil to your crust before adding toppings. It will help prevent the pizza from becoming soggy when using vegan cheese alternatives that tend to have higher water content.
- Grate your own hard vegan cheeses like Parmesan substitute over pizzas just before serving.
- Opt for quick-melting vegan mozzarella when cooking at high temperatures avoid toppings that release too much moisture while baking such as mushrooms or zucchini which can turn your pizza into soup due to increased water content.
Vegan Pizza Recipes That Use Non-Dairy Cheese:
- Vegan Margherita Pizza Recipe: Start by preheating your oven to 425°F. Roll out the pizza dough and spread it with tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes, top with non-dairy mozzarella slices, fresh basil leaves, and sliced Roma tomatoes.
- Vegan BBQ Chicken Pizza: Toss plant-based chicken-style pieces in sweet BBQ sauce. Spread a vegan ranch dressing on the pizza dough before adding shredded vegan mozzarella, BBQ chicken-style pieces and red onions. Bake at 450°F until crust is golden brown
- Vegan Green Goddess Pizza: Top a garlic base pizza crust with avocado slices, spinach leaves, sliced zucchini ribbons (use as topping after pre-bake), and non-dairy feta crumbles seasoned with lemon juice & zest for tanginess
With all these delicious options available today, you may not even miss traditional dairy cheese on your pizza anymore!
In conclusion, choosing the right type of cheese is crucial when making homemade pizza. Different cheeses bring different flavors and textures to your pie, so it’s worth experimenting with them until you find your favorite combination. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new variations that suit your palette. Remember – practice makes perfect!
Can I use any kind of sliced or shredded cheese for my pizza?
While you technically could use any sliced or shredded cheese on top of a pizza, certain types such as cheddar or Swiss are not typically used in traditional pizzas due to their flavor profiles.
Which mozzarella should I use – fresh or aged?
Both fresh and aged mozzarella work well on pizzas, but it ultimately depends on personal preference.
Are there certain vegan cheeses that melt better than others?
Yes, vegan cheeses made from nuts tend to have a better melting consistency than soy-based ones due to their natural oils.