Wherever part of the world, one dish remains one of the few universally well-loved foods for different ages: pizza. Different cultures have their versions – from Chicago’s best, New York’s finest, Neapolitan classics, to modern gimmicks like sushi pizzas. Either way, pizza serves as the ultimate comfort food.
While the toppings and styles of cooking may change, one thing remains constant: the cheese! No pizza is complete without cheese, but various forms of cheeses can enhance every bite even further. With that in mind, the guide below should take you on a gastronomic adventure into the world of cheese in a mission to find the best melt on top of your pizza:
1. Mozzarella Cheese
There’s no denying that mozzarella cheese earns the title of the most iconic cheese in a pizza as it is responsible for giving every slice that picture-perfect, melty string look. It has a straightforward flavor that is mild yet fresh, but when under heat, the brown bits pack an umami-filled punch.
You can either get fresh or low-moisture variations of mozzarella cheese, both of which offer distinct flavor profiles. Fresh or high-moisture mozzarella offers a creamier impression, but its short shelf-life means you need to serve it within the same day it’s made.
Low-moisture mozzarella cheese, on the other hand, tickles the tongue with its saltier and denser flavor. It also has a longer shelf-life, which is why it is often the go-to choice in many pizzerias in cities.
2. Cheddar or Matured Cheddar Cheese
Widely known for its sharp flavors, cheddar is a perfect accent that can add a cheesy punch with a touch of orange undertones. It can paint a deeper color on your pizza, and since it has a smaller elasticity compared to mozzarella, it will not blister as easily.
Seeing as cheddar can pack plenty of flavors, it can act as a powerful garnish that can enhance other pizza toppings with mild, spicy, and fresh ingredients.
An all-time favorite accent to pizza, Parmigiano-Reggiano offers a unique character with its 36-month old maturity. The delicate flavor makes it a great garnish, which should only be topped on pizza when it’s fresh out of the oven.
Mixing the creamy, fruity, nutty, and salty tones of this particular aged hard cheese will only be lost in the milkiness of mozzarella and the sharpness of the cheddar. Heat can also dull the umami flavor of Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is why grating it as you serve the sizes is the best way to make the most of its strong, vibrant, and nuanced palette.
The Bottom Line
The dough may serve as the body of a pizza, but the cheese is the soul that gives it a creamy, aromatic, and addicting mix of flavor that has children and adults alike hooked with every bite. The top three kinds of cheese above serve as the golden trio when it comes to making classic pizzas, but now that you understand how each flavor add to each other, you can also experiment with different specialty cheeses.
If you’re looking for one of the best pizza chains in Washington DC and Maryland, get in touch with us at Manny & Olga’s today and check out our delectable choices!