Have you ever put mozzarella cheese on a pizza and taken it out of the oven only to find out it didn’t melt?
This happens because not all mozzarella types are created equal and some of them just don’t melt. As for the types that do melt, you need to know the proper technique of doing it.
How do you melt mozzarella cheese? The easiest way to melt mozzarella cheese is to do it in the microwave. You can also melt it with a double boiler on the stovetop or in the oven with the help of the broiler setting. The key is using a mozzarella variety that melts well, such as a high-fat variety.
In this article, you will not only get step-by-step instructions for melting mozzarella cheese but also what types of mozzarella are best for melting.
Does Mozzarella Cheese Melt?
There are many mozzarella varieties. Whether the cheese will melt or not depends on its type.
Additionally, the melting process of the cheese only seems simple. There is a lot going on in the cheese slices as you heat them.
Let’s see what happens when the cheese melts.
As you start heating cheese, the solid milk fats in it start to turn into a liquid. This happens when the temperature reaches around 90 degrees. As the solid milk fats liquefy, the fat particles come up to the surface of the softened cheese.
As you continue keeping the cheese on heat, the temperature rises. When it reaches 130 degrees, casein (protein) breaks down. This is the point when you see that the solid pieces of your mozzarella cheese have become soft and gooey.
Because the different elements in mozzarella cheese melt at different temperatures, some people run into the problem of separation.
When mozzarella does melt, it melts in a different way than all other cheese varieties, creating the cheese strings we all admire when we pull out a slice of pizza topped with mozzarella.
The secret of the strings mozzarella crates when melted lies in the technique used to make the cheese.
You may have seen the mesmerizing process of mozzarella making, called pasta filata.
During this process, the curds are stretched and kneaded to create a dough-like smooth mass. After this, balls are formed from the dough to make the world-known fresh mozzarella cheese balls.
Why Is My Mozzarella Cheese Not Melting?
There are three factors that affect the meltability of the cheese.
Firstly, whether the mozzarella cheese will melt or not depends on its moisture level. High-moisture mozzarella doesn’t melt well. If you are looking for mozzarella that melts, pick a variety with low moisture content.
Secondly, the fat content of the cheese plays an important role when it comes to its meltability. Part-skim mozzarella doesn’t melt well. Whole-milk mozzarella, on the other hand, melts better due to its high fat content.
Mozzarella cheese made of partly skimmed milk quickly browns as opposed to whole-milk mozzarella that softens and becomes gooey.
And last but not least, the age is key. Although mozzarella cheese is not aged in the way other cheeses are, the variety of mozzarella which is not fresh is often referred to as aged.
As fresh mozzarella has a high moisture content, it doesn’t melt well. “Aged” mozzarella, also known as regular mozzarella, has better meltability as it is not as moist as fresh mozzarella.
So, if you have bought low-fat mozzarella or high-moisture mozzarella, don’t expect it to melt well.
Best Type of Mozzarella For Melting
There are different types of mozzarella cheese. And as we have already told you, not all of them melt well.
Here are popular mozzarella types. We’ll tell you which ones are best for melting.
Fresh mozzarella cheese that has been stored in salted water (brine) or whey doesn’t melt well. This is because the moisture content in fresh mozzarella is very high.
If you put fresh mozzarella on a pizza, it will quickly melt. But what happens then is the main reason why fresh mozzarella is not the best for melting.
The cheese starts to release water. Watery pizza? This is most likely not what you are looking for if you don’t want the crust of your pizza to be soggy.
Processed mozzarella, i.e. commercially manufactured mozzarella melts better than fresh mozzarella.
If you want to achieve those gooey strings on your pizza or in sandwiches, processed mozzarella with a low moisture content is what you need
Processed mozzarella is sold tightly wrapped in plastic which is the main reason of its low water content. Additionally, it is quite firm and easy to grate.
And low-moisture grated mozzarella cheese is what you need if you are looking for the perfect mozzarella variety for pizza or lasagna.
Mozzarella String Cheese
String cheese is typically made of partly skimmed milk. This means it has a low fat content. And although string cheese has a low moisture content, it doesn’t melt. It simply gets soft.
If you find string cheese that is a combination of mozzarella and another cheese variety, such as cheddar, you can try melting it in the microwave.
When doing this, pull the cheese into thinner strings, put it over the loaf of bread or cracker you want to eat the cheese with. This type of string cheese will become stretchy and soft at around 140 degrees.
How to Melt Mozzarella Cheese
There are a few ways you can melt mozzarella cheese. Depending on how much time you have and how easy you want the process to be, you can melt mozzarella cheese in the microwave, on the stovetop, and in the oven.
So long as you choose a mozzarella variety that melts, all of these methods will work for you.
1. Melt Mozzarella Cheese in the Microwave
The microwave oven is the fastest way to melt mozzarella cheese. It is also very easy as there isn’t much you need to do aside from watching the time and stirring the cheese a couple of times.
So, here’s how you melt mozzarella cheese in the microwave.
- Put shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Add a splash of evaporated milk and 1/5 teaspoon of cornstarch. These are the magic ingredients that will prevent the cheese from separating once it’s all melted.
- When melting mozzarella cheese in the microwave, it is also recommended that you add an acidic ingredient. It keeps the cheese smooth as it melts. Distilled white vinegar or any other vinegar variety with a mild flavor will work. Don’t use wine, beer, or other acidic components with a strong flavor.
- Put the bowl with the cheese in the microwave and set the timer on 30 seconds. Microwave on the High setting.
- Take the bowl out of the oven and give the melted cheese a stir. Stir the cheese until it has a smooth consistency.
- If there are still lumps in the cheese that you can’t smooth out by stirring, return the cheese into the microwave for a few additional seconds until it’s fully melted and can be turned into a smooth, lump-free mixture.
Don’t get carried away with mixing the cheese. Over-mixing the melted cheese or doing it too vigorously may result in a lumpy texture instead of smoothing it out.
2. Melt Mozzarella Cheese on the Stove
To melt mozzarella cheese on the stovetop you will either need a double boiler or a makeshift version of it.
For the last one, you will need a saucepan filled with water and a bowl that fits nicely on it. This DIY double boiler works the same way as a professionally manufactured one.
Once your double boiler is all set up, you can proceed to melting the mozzarella cheese on the stove. Here’s how to do it:
- Shred mozzarella cheese and put it in the top pan of the boiler. Don’t forget to measure the cheese before melting it if you are following a particular recipe.
- Keep the heat on medium to low.
- As the water starts heating in the bottom pot, the steam will start melting the cheese. So, be patient. The double boiler doesn’t work as quickly as the microwave oven.
- With a silicone spatula, clean the sides of the pot from the melted mozzarella cheese and incorporate it into the rest of the cheese that hasn’t melted yet. Leaving the melted cheese on the sides of the pot may cause them to burn. Additionally, stirring will accelerate the melting process.
- Once the cheese starts melting, add a small amount of evaporated milk and cornstarch to prevent separation.
- Continue stirring the cheese until it is fully melted.
The good thing about melting mozzarella cheese on the stovetop using a double boiler is that you can keep it warm until you need to use it in a dish.
3. Melt Mozzarella Cheese in the Oven
Melting mozzarella cheese in the oven is possible. To do this, you will need to make use of the broiler setting of the oven.
If you never use the broiler of your oven, it is an oven setting providing direct and concentrated heat. If you put the mozzarella cheese under this heating element, it will soften and melt beautifully.
You will need a cast-iron skillet to melt mozzarella cheese in the oven. And if you put a little more effort and add herbs and spices to the cheese, you will turn melted mozzarella cheese from plain and boring to extremely flavorful.
Here’s how to melt mozzarella in the oven:
- Turn on the broiler setting of the oven. Keep the heat low.
- Add mozzarella slices into a cast-iron skillet. You can top it with parmesan if you want.
- Drizzle the cheese with olive oil.
- (Optional) Add herbs, such as thyme or rosemary to the cheese. You can also add spices to taste.
- Put the pan under the broiler for a little over 5 minutes.
- Remove the cheese from the oven when it is all melted, bubbly, and charred.
- Serve with bread while the cheese is still hot.
If you want to experiment with oven-baked mozzarella, pour a jar of crushed tomatoes into the pan before you put in the mozzarella slices.
Oven-baked mozzarella makes a delicious appetizer when served with breadsticks.
Can You Melt Mozzarella Cheese in a Pan?
It is possible to melt mozzarella cheese on the stovetop using just a pan. But there are a few important things you should do.
First, you need to use a non-stick pan. Second, you need to always keep the heat low. And last but not least, you need to shred or grate your mozzarella cheese first, as this is the only way to start melting it evenly.
To melt cheese in a pan, spread it evenly on the cooking area, add some cornstarch and evaporated milk for a smooth texture. A slice of American cheese would be helpful, too, in achieving a smooth consistency. Don’t forget to add a dash of vinegar.
Whisk the cheese as it melts. Add other ingredients if needed and transfer the cheese from the pan into another container.
Tips for Melting Mozzarella Cheese
Melting mozzarella cheese shouldn’t be difficult if you follow the instructions. Here are a few tips to make the process even easier.
Tip #1: Keep It Non-Stick
When mozzarella cheese melts, it becomes very sticky. So, whether you are melting it on the stovetop using a double boiler or in the microwave, make sure you use your non-stick kitchen tools and dishware.
Use rubber or silicone spatulas to mix melted mozzarella cheese. These are non-stick and easy to clean when you are done cooking.
Tip #2: Start with Smaller Pieces
Trying to melt a big piece of mozzarella cheese is not a good idea. It is recommended to always shred, grate, or slice the cheese before melting it.
It will only take you a few seconds to divide the cheese into smaller pieces. But doing this will help significantly with melting the cheese quickly.
Tip #3: Bring the Cheese to Room Temperature
If you know you will be melting your mozzarella cheese, take it out of the fridge a few minutes before heating it. This will give the cheese time to come to room temperature and prepare it for melting.
Exposing the cheese to drastic temperature changes will have a negative impact on the final result, making the melted mozzarella cheese overly greasy.
Tip #4: Substitute Evaporated Milk
The recipe may tell you to add evaporated milk into the cheese to prevent separation. If you don’t have evaporated milk at home or simply want to cut back on the amount of dairy in the dish, there are multiple alternatives to use.
As far as the non-dairy substitutes are concerned, you can use almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and even hemp milk. You will be using the milk in a small amount. So, it won’t affect the flavor of the melted cheese.
If your plant-based milk is too watery, it may take you a few additional minutes to evaporate the liquid.
If you don’t have evaporated milk at home but still want to make sure that your melted mozzarella has a smooth consistency, you can substitute it with milk, cream, or half-and-half.
Does Vegan Mozzarella Melt?
Vegan cheese doesn’t typically melt the same way as real cheese. However, due to advanced technologies, manufacturers now develop vegan mozzarella cheese that melts and does it pretty well.
Most vegan mozzarella cheeses bubble and stretch like real mozzarella. But you might need to melt them at a higher temperature than the 130 degrees Fahrenheit that regular mozzarella needs in order to soften and become stringy.