As a UK-based pizza blogger, I had to put some research into the best mozzarella cheese you can find here. I’m always trying to hunt down the best ingredients so I shopped around and asked some communities online.
My research for the best mozzarella in the UK found that:
Galbani is a top mozzarella for pizza. Galbani Mozzarella Cucina is best for home ovens as it’s a lower moisture cheese so can be grated. Galbani Fresh Mozzarella is best for a pizza oven as it cooks faster and avoids melting too watery.
These can be found quite easily (see section below), but if you can’t then I recommend using an own-brand cheese from a good supermarket like Marks and Spencer or finding your nearest Italian deli.
Read on for a bit of background info on mozzarella types and my tips for using them on pizzas.
Fresh Mozzarella vs Low Moisture Mozzarella
There are two main types of mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella which is wet, or the lower moisture type which is harder and can be grated like cheddar.
Fresh mozzarella is the traditional Italian mozzarella. It usually comes in a plastic bag and is surrounded by liquid. It’s wet, bright white, and doesn’t last that long once opened. It’s the perfect ingredient for a rustic Italian-style pizza.
When it melts it becomes stringy but can be a bit wetter on the pizza. It doesn’t stay stringy and melted for long once out of the oven, which is why takeaway pizza mostly uses a low moisture mozzarella. It’s best used when cooked in a wood-fired oven as it cooks so fast – in a home oven add this mozzarella halfway through cooking to avoid it becoming soggy.
Low Moisture Mozzarella
The other type is grated low moisture mozzarella. Low moisture mozzarella is an American term that you will find in cookbooks and online but is not found much in the UK. It’s the type you see grated in bags ready to use on pizza. This type of mozzarella is from the USA rather than Italy and no doubt made very popular by Dominos and Pizza Hut. It’s essentially dried and aged fresh mozzarella, and this allows it to be grated. This is the type of mozzarella you see on pizza from the US – stringy and gooey usually from a good covering of cheese on the base.
They make slightly different styles of pizzas when used. The fresh mozzarella is usually dotted around the pizza and melts into little blobs that go well with a good tomato sauce and olive oil – more of a rustic Italian pizza. The low moisture grated mozzarella will make an American-style pizza. More greasy and rich, but perfect with some pepperoni and jalapenos. You can also use both kinds of cheese together. I like to add a covering of low moisture and then add some dots of fresh mozzarella halfway through cooking to melt slightly.
Best Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Italian mozzarella is easy to come by in the UK supermarkets. I’ve found that shops usually sell an own-brand cheese and then a more premium one. The price difference can be double, but still fairly cheap (up to around £1.50 for the better one). A good brand I like is Galbani who makes a lovely creamy mozzarella that can be found in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, or Ocado (and maybe others).
As pizza only has a few simple ingredients, it’s always worth buying the best you can get. The final pizza is always much better with quality ingredients.
The own-brand supermarket cheese might be the only one available to you and that’s not the end of the world. Mozzarella is a mild cheese so the depth of flavour isn’t going to be massively different. It will still likely taste very good on a freshly made pizza. Just avoid anything which looks like it is cheap and of lower quality.
Typically the better supermarkets like Mark’s And Spencer or Waitrose sell the best cheeses – their own brand produce is usually very good.
Your local Italian deli will sell fresh mozzarella and these are usually better than a supermarket’s own brand, so it’s worth hunting for an Italian shop near you.
Cows Milk Mozzarella Vs Buffalo Mozzarella
Fresh mozzarella is most commonly made with cow’s milk (called fior di latte in Italy). This is the standard, cheaper stuff packaged in a bag.
Buffalo mozzarella is made from buffalo milk. It is more expensive and sometimes sold in a plastic container. It’s often labeled mozzarella di bufala Campagna and has the DOP certification which lets you know it’s the real deal from the Campagna region of Italy.
The buffalo mozzarella has more liquid in it so it releases this into the pizza when melted. It can make the pizza a bit soggy which lots of people dislike. The taste is richer which is what you pay for. For me, I like the normal cow’s milk mozzarella on my pizza. The buffalo type is interesting to experiment on pizza, but for its much higher price I prefer to use it raw on salads where you get the most of its creamy flavour.
Best Low Moisture Mozzarella (Grateable Mozzarella)
Ideally, you want to find a whole block of hard mozzarella and grate it yourself. When it comes pre-grated it is coated in potato starch or other additives to stop it clumping in the bag. Not ideal for melting perfectly on a pizza.
In the States, it’s easy to buy whole blocks of mozzarella, but in the UK this is hard to find. Instead, bags of pre-grated cheese is more common. We eat a lot more cheddar which is readily available in blocks instead – hopefully mozzarella will turn that way.
There are ones you can find though. The Galbani brand does a block mozzarella called Mozzarella Cucina (cooking mozzarella) which you can find in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Ocado. I know for a fact that low moisture Galbani is the brand of cheese used in lots of New York pizzerias so you know it’s good.
If you can only find grated mozzarella then all the main supermarket brands have worked fine for me. Marks And Spencer’s has been my favourite supermarket cheese for its taste and creamy colour.
Where To Buy It
You can buy both the Galbani Cucina Mozzarella or Galbani Fresh Mozzarella from Ocado, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose.
The main large supermarkets will sell their own brand fresh and hard mozzarella. They will work fine but I encourage you to go for the best you can find and can afford.
The more high-end supermarkets are a better place to buy pizza ingredients as they are a bit higher quality.
But also try and find an Italian deli if you can. They will sell authentic cheese (and also meats, flours, etc) and these quality ingredients really shine through in your pizza. A shout out to Licata and Sons in Bristol if you live near there.
Tips On Using Mozzarella On Pizza
Fresh mozzarella can get a bit watery if cooking in a home oven as it cooks for much longer times than a pizza oven. I like to add fresh mozzarella halfway through cooking and it melts a perfect amount. Cooking in a pizza oven is much faster and is fine to add at the start to get a good consistency.
When using fresh mozzarella – firstly squeeze, then slice or tear, and drain prior to using. This lets any excess liquid come out and makes the pizza less soggy.
I keep my cheese in the fridge so that it doesn’t melt too much before use. It can get clumpy if left to heat up near the oven.
I hope you’ve learned a few things about buying and sourcing the best mozzarella. Remember a few key points when buying:
- Use fresh mozzarella for authentic Italian style pizza.
- Use grated low moisture (hard) mozzarella when making American style pizzas.
- Try and grate your own rather than buying pre grated bags.
- Galbani do a great fresh and low moisture mozzarella.