Science Explains Why Mozzarella Is Best for Pizza
It both bubbles and browns better than other cheese
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2014 2:20 PM CDT
Mozzarella is the king of pizza cheeses, for good reasons.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – In what sounds like the best middle school science project ever, mozzarella has been put to the test against several other cheeses on pizza and declared the best. But scientists in New Zealand got to work with more than just poster board; they used fancy cameras and software to study the way cheeses behave when cooked, and, in the Journal of Food Science, called their paper "Quantification of pizza baking properties of different cheeses, and their correlation with cheese functionality."

Mozzarella, it turns out, is very elastic because it is made from fresh curds that are stretched and molded repeatedly. This elasticity allows bubbles to grow very large before bursting, and oil slides off those bubbles, allowing the tops of the cheese to brown. Other findings in the name of science: while cheddar lacks that stretch factor, it does brown evenly, whereas Gruyere bubbles great but doesn't brown well. "When we understand food right down to its micro-structural level, it gives us the levers we need to change the way it behaves," one researcher tells NPR, adding that this kind of investigation could lead to all sorts of little improvements in cooking, such as, perhaps, the development of a low-fat cheese that's just as tasty on pizza. (For more weird food science, check out why bacon smells so good.)

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Showing 3 of 26 comments
Lou Bernardo
Aug 29, 2014 11:08 PM CDT
They might use Limburger, but imagine the aroma of the pizza baking in the oven. :)
Ezekiel 25:17
Aug 29, 2014 10:22 AM CDT
Its a valid argument with the mozzarella versus provolone topic. Main point of contention: a proper pizza cheese cannot be shredded. You cannot properly shred a good genuine provolone. It must be sliced thin and applied in rounds. Then that leads us to the NYC versus Chicago. For me, I don't like dough that much. If I want dough, I get a dinner roll. I don't like pizza stuff slathered over a dinner roll, which is what 90 percent of all "Chicago" style pizza is today. I have only had a few real Chicago pizzas that I can honestly say were fantastic. One was from a place called My p. It was a deep dish pizza with a thin lower crust. You served it out of the pan with a pie spatula. The flavors all melded into one and it as a piece of heaven on Earth. When Pizza Hut first came out with their deep dish in the mid 80's, I was in this small town visiting a friend when the trainers came in. The waitress said our meal was going to be free if they would let us try a brand new pizza. It had not even arrived at any of the big cities in town. It made sense because this small town was very close to the home of the very first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Ks (south of the border in OK). So they served us the very first PH deep dish pizza in Oklahoma. It was so darn good. The bottom crust was crispy, the meats were all fresh made, and the sides were crispy and filled with flavors. It became my favorite pizza next to the thin crust supreme. But then came changes. They were serving the crust mushy and thick with less ingredients. Then the ingredients were cooked in New Jersey and flash frozen. Then the crusts were made in a factory and bagged and shipped. What you get today is not even a close facsimile of the original served in that tiny box restaurant. I yearn for those days.
MisterPlinkett
Aug 29, 2014 1:49 AM CDT
the truth is that all cheeses' flavors dull when hot, so the best way to maximize flavor is to use more than one type of cheese. i never make homemade pizza with just one cheese. i use at least 4 types. mozzarella and cheddar are almost always in there.