Omid, knowing your high and strict standards for Pizza Napoletana, I'm curious as to how you would rate this buffala carried by TJ's against the cheeses you had in Italy. Of course it can not compared to fresh made cheese, but how close in texture and flavor is it?
I use to buy this all the time as I live within walking distance from a TJs, until I found the Ambrosi brand which I liked much more. Sadly the market that I got it from no longer carries it. My options are the brand you posted vs WFs for $12/8oz! I cannot bring myself to pay those prices at WFs. Also is this the same cheese you have been putting on the pies that you have posted pictures of?
Dear Chau, since I did not want to clutter and change the subject at dear Wheelman's (Bill's) thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,15461.20.html
), I have brought the subject here to this thread.
Not long ago, I talked to a corporate owner of a Neapolitan pizzeria who told me that, bufala di mozzarella imported from Italy enter the U.S. in a frozen state
. (I think he mentioned that often "liquid nitrogen" is used to freeze the mozzarella balls!) If truly so, there goes out the window a percentage of the texture
of the bufala di mozzarella imported to this country from Italy! (I am curious to know in what state Matthew receives his bufala di mozzarella at his pizzeria in Toronto, Canada.) Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, bufala di mozzarella is supposed to be "fresh" (hence "fresh mozzarella"), not aged. Because of the unavoidable factors of distance
, the mozzarella balls imported to the U.S. are not as fresh as one hopes them to be. Therefore, there are inevitable compromises!
Given the above considerations, I rate the bufala di mozzarella by Mandara not the best, but not the worst either. First of all, I value the fact that it tastes gamier
than some other imported mozzarellas I have had. In my opinion, if a buffalo mozzarella does not have the gamy flavor
peculiar to it, the mozzarella would not be of much gastronomical value. Upon tasting it, I like to immediately distinguish that it was made with water buffalo milk; otherwise, what would be the point?
Second, the bufala di mozzarella by Mandara secretes a generous amount of oil (lipids) upon melting, which helps to wed flavors of the ingredients together and which can contribute to the crust stay moist, tender, and flavorful. (I wished the fior di latte by Polly-o contained a higher percentage of oil.) I have had other mozzarellas that did not release enough oil upon melting.
Third, the Mandara mozzarella melts well under various temperatures, low or high, without leaving behind a sourcreamish residue.
Next, Mandara mozzarella balls are on the watery side, which I do not mind as long as no ponds are formed on the landscape of my baked pizzas. However, if the mozzarella balls are excessively
watery (which is probably and partly caused by ruptured mozzarella cells after being defrosted from a frozen state), I take out the balls out of the brine (the day before baking), place them inside a dry strainer-container (see the last picture below), and place them back in the refrigerator. By next day, I dump all the water that already accumulated at the bottom of the container.
At last, what attracts me to the bufala di mozzarella by Mandara (fior di latter by Polly-o as well) is the price
. The price of $5.99
for 200 grams
of buffalo mozzarella is easier to bear than paying $12 or $14 for less grams of mozzarella. I usually make more than 10 pizzas per week, and that price would bankrupt me! Verily, if the buffalo mozzarella balls were not frozen upon being shipped here, they could have been in better shape by the time consumed, promptly, by the U.S. consumers. Yet, it is obvious why they need to be frozen. The cheese used on the pizzas in my pictures throughout this thread are either bufala di mozzarella by Mandara or fior di latte by Polly-o. Good day!