Extending Mozzarella's Shelf Life

Jeff Zeak offers tips for making fresh mozzarella last longer without losing flavor.



QUESTION:

Can you offer any suggestions for prolonging the shelf life of fresh mozzarella cheese?

ANSWER:

In an earlier column, we explored several different options for storing fresh mozzarella, but there are some tricks for making it last longer, too. For starters, you should not reach into the liquid packing solution with unclean hands or gloves—this will contaminate the solution and reduce its shelf life. Additionally, you may have heard that the liquid packing solution should be replaced with water and changed every couple of days with fresh water to prolong the shelf life of the cheese, but this is incorrect. As long as you’ve used clean utensils for reaching into the container and haven’t contaminated the solution with improper handling methods, you should not replace the liquid solution with fresh water—that will deplete the salt levels in the cheese and may cause the cheese to lose some of its flavor and go soft and slimy.

If you suspect that the liquid solution has become contaminated, you can replace it with a fresh mixture of brine solution consisting of 1 tbsp. of salt dissolved in 1 to 4 lb. of 37°F water, depending on the concentration of salt that you desire and its potential effect on the saltiness of the cheese stored in the solution. Stronger brine will do a better job of retarding souring/spoilage, but the cheese will also become saltier as long as it’s stored in the solution. The concentration of the brine will also affect the texture consistency of the cheese over time as the salt interacts with the proteins in the cheese.

Another way to prolong the shelf life of larger pieces of fresh mozzarella is to remove the piece from its liquid packing solution and encase it in plastic wrap, replacing the plastic wrap every time you open it. These large pieces can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for up to seven days, while smaller pieces, which tend to dry out more easily, need to be stored in brine, whey or water solutions.

While unrefrigerated fresh mozzarella tastes best on the day that it’s made, it also tends to release more whey/water during baking as a pizza topping or in lasagna, as compared to fresh mozzarella that has been refrigerated or frozen before use in baking. On the other hand, refrigerated or frozen mozzarella (and remember, many mozzarella connoisseurs strongly recommend against refrigerating or freezing it) will have a drier mouth-feel when directly eaten, but it won’t release as much whey/water in the baking process. These variations in eating and baking characteristics can be attributed to the proteins in the cheese changing over time.

Finally, studies show that fresh mozzarella that has been refrigerated for a week or longer can be somewhat refreshed to its “first day of production” eating characteristics by soaking it in a warm salted whey or salted milk solution (1 tsp. salt per 1 c. of milk) for about an hour. This process will enhance the direct eating characteristics of the cheese, and it should not be done with cheese that will be used for baking. 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

The Robots Are Coming: Zume Pizza may be the sci-fi pizzeria of the future

With robots in the kitchen and trucks that bake pies en route to customers’ homes, this Silicon Valley startup has a game-changing pizza delivery model.

Pizza-making tip: How to prevent the dreaded cheese slip

If your cheese slides off the pizza with every bite, don’t blame the cheese—the fault probably lies with the sauce.

A new machine in Sweden helps pizzeria owners reduce food waste by turning old pizza dough into compost

In other international pizza news, an Italian flour company releases a blend of traditional wheat flour with aromatic Black Venus rice.

What’s Your Story? Mark Mannen of Fat Jack’s Pizza explains the Quad Cities style of pizza

Quad Cities pizza boasts a generous dose of malt syrup in the crust, fennel-laced sausage and a sauce spiked with red pepper flakes.

Dining in the digital age: It’s getting harder and harder to define what we mean by “eating out.”

A restaurant expert says the next stage of restaurant evolution is happening right now now.

Nature of the yeast: Experts answer your most pressing questions about this crucial pizza dough ingredients

How yeast works, how to choose the right type for your pizzeria, plus one innovation that may transform dough management as we know it.

Pizzeria owners give a helping hand to the hungry and homeless during A Slice of Hope Week this month

The New York-based nonprofit A Slice of Hope seeks food donations and sponsorships for a week of pizza parties, June 19 to 25, around the U.S.

The Mid-America Restaurant Expo 2017: The best of the best

From new technologies to sweets, meats and veggies, PMQ staffers share their favorite discoveries at this year’s event.

Gadgets and gizmos: Who says you can’t reinvent the (pizza) wheel?

From the RotoPeel to the Giant Pizza Cutter, these kitchen innovations make pizza-making easier—and a lot more fun.

Spaghetti With Vodka and Caviar

Caviar isn’t just for rich people. Shop around to get a good deal and wow your guests with this delicious and elegant pasta entrée.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags