Cheese: Fresh or processed mozzarella?

I recently got a question from Frank who wanted to make fried mozzarella cubes that are light, smooth, and stretchy “like eating a toasted marshmallow” rather than heavy and chewy. I told him that the secret is in the mozzarella and he may have to try several kinds before he finds the one that melts to meet his description. There is a big difference between the texture and cooking properties of fresh mozzarella and processed mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella is hand molded into balls, stored in brine or whey until it is used, and should be served very soon after it is made. It is a special treat that is best enjoyed in salads and sandwiches, cold or at room temperature, where its delicate flavor shines. Factory-made processed mozzarella is lower in moisture, has a longer shelf life, and is easily sliced, cubed, or grated. It is most often used in cooked dishes because it really does melt better than fresh mozzarella. Although I have had fried mozzarella made with fresh mozzarella “bocconcini,” most recipes call for processed mozzarella sticks or cubes and I think that would be a god place to start.

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