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Part-skim mozzarella vs. whole milk?

I remember when I worked for Sysco the cheese man told me the difference, and what I should use for which dish.

I'm just talking plain ol' Polly-O here -- let's leave the fresh di bufala to another thread. ;-)

One browns, one flows. So which is good in a baked dish like lasagna, and which should I use as a topping, like for chicken parmigiana? (And which is good for standing at the cutting board and eating more than I'm putting in the dish? :-P)

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  1. Chowhound chef ALERT! Never, ever use part skim mozzarella, or any other low fat cheese cooked. They do not ever melt in the commonly accepted interpretation of the word "melt", rather, they turn to hot rubber. Even harder textured full fat moz. like the Precious ball, will do this. Now, because I VALUE my pizza and pasta and gilled panini sand. - I ALWAYS buy fresh mozzarella - or TJ's soft one in the plastic tube (which is only $5#) Some things, like mozzarella, are just to important to mince words.

    There IS a use for low-fat cheese. IF you have a health problem with cholesterol - then they are perfectly acceptable in a cold sandwich or salad. The taste can be OK - but they will NEVER melt.

    3 Replies
    1. re: niki rothman

      I've made thousands of wonderful pizzas with part skim mozz. I now use whole milk and prefer the taste/richness of the extra fat, but the difference isn't all that huge. The consistency of the cheese is the same, but the whole milk tends to release a little more butterfat.

      As far as knocking packaged mozzeralla as a whole... About a million pizzerias across the nation sell about a billion packaged whole milk mozzarella pizzas every year to adoring fans. Me included. Sure, fresh mozz is a wonderful thing, and, for those of that can afford it on a regular basis, it makes a phenomenal pizza. Phenomenal, but different. A pie from a good pizzeria with plain old packaged mozzarella can be phenomenal as well. The two are apples and oranges, if you ask me.

      Pizza from a good pizzeria can easily be one of the best foods on the planet. You get a lot of 'gourmets' that turn their nose up at fast order food like diners or fast food chains. I may not agree with them, but I respect their opinion. But pizzerias... Dissing pizzerias... I'm sorry but that crosses a line :)

      1. re: scott123

        I did not/do not diss packaged whole milk mozzarella. The soft wholemilk TJ's in the tube is not "fresh" but it is wholemilk. At $5 a pound it is a GREAT product and a great bargain. I use it all the time. What good are you doing yourself if you could get the best for the same price as an inferior product but you don't do it? Maybe some of you folks can't get to a trader joe's or don't have access to fresh mozz. in any store near you. OK, if I were in your position, and I was actually a chowhound, I would learn to make mozzarella - I hear it's a relatively easy process. Believe me, I am about as far from elitist as it is possible to get.

        1. re: niki rothman

          When I say 'packaged' mozzarella, I'm not refering to TJs. Technically, TJs is packaged and isn't 'fresh,' but it's not what pizzerias across the nation are using. They're using generic polly-o type 'harder textured' full fat mozz.- which you are dissing in your first post. Maybe 'packaged' might be the wrong term. Let's call it 'rectangular' mozzarella. Your better pizzerias take this 'rectangular' harder textured mozz, and, imo, creating works of art with it. If they can do it, you had better believe you and I can do it as well.

    2. Part-skim melts well enough for me. I even like it in grilled cheese sandwiches - enjoy the "toothiness" of it - and lasagna. I usually get the North Beach stuff from Trader Joe, though Frigo and Precious can be OK too. Polly-O is hard to come by here, and kind of expensive, except for one time when a lot of it showed up in our 99ยข-Only store!

      1. Most pizzerias I know use half skim and half whole, so I guess they even each other out. (By the way, Grande is the one they mostly prefer, although I hear it's not as good as it used to be.)

        1. I'm with Niki on this one. For several years i tried to convince myself that part skim was an alternative that met both a lower cholesteral and still had the melting and staying power of "whole" (and i am speaking about plain old Polly-O). Alas, after three years I gave up and tried a mix of the two and still could not get there. I am now firmly in the "Whole" camp when it comes to mozz. It melts better. It freezes better and it has a smoother flavor

          1. I totally agree with Niki also on this...whole milk mozz is the only way to go...on anything.