One of my first jobs was working for a multi-national dairy company. We shipped mozzarella cheese all over the world to some of the major pizza chains. We’d blast freeze each pack making it freezer resistant. The bags could be opened months later – as good as new. Does this mean we can store this cheese the same way at home? Can you freeze mozzarella cheese in a standard home freezer? In this article, we’ll answer this question along with some other common questions.
If you love a neat sliced piece of cheese then definitely check out this guide to the best cheese slicer which took many hours to research fully.
Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?
Freezing mozzarella at home isn’t ideal for the cheese. In fact, it’s a challenge to store fresh mozz in the fridge for more than a few days without it developing a slightly bitter flavor.
Unlike those commercial blast freezers I mentioned above, the home freezer won’t freeze your cheese fast enough. The end result: cheese with broken cells, a different texture and altered taste.
Why mozzarella isn’t ideal for freezing
The problem all comes down to moisture content. Cheese types have wide ranging levels of water in them. For example, cheddar tends to have around 37% water whereas mozzarella has a whopping 52%.
The higher the moisture content, the harder it is to defrost the cheese without damaging its structure. If you’ve ever seen gluggy, water-logged cheese from the freezer you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Does this mean you should never freeze mozzarella? Not really. Just understand there are limitations and that when the time comes to use the cheese it won’t be as good as when it was bought at the store.
Fresh, Block and Shredded
It’s not ideal to freeze the fresh product. Ideally, avoid buying in bulk or use a vacuum sealer and refrigerate (see below on this method).
Block will tolerate freezing much better, retaining its flavor. However, expect some degradation in texture.
Shredded mozzarella can be frozen but you’ll need to be wary of the pieces clumping together. To reduce this problem, add a little flour or cornstarch to the bag and shake it before sealing. When it comes time to use the cheese, add a sprinkling of cheddar to give the cheese improved structure.
Best use for frozen mozz
Recipes that don’t require the cheeses texture to remain intact: soups, casseroles and sauces.
How long can mozzarella be stored?
Fridge: (cling wrap) 5-7 days
Fridge: (vacuum sealed) 2 week
Freezer: 6 months
A cunning alternative to freezing
If you have bulk quantities of cheese that you don’t want to waste consider “putting your cheese to sleep”.
What you’ll need: A vacuum sealer.
How to do it: Place the cheese is an appropriate vacuum pack bag and seal using the sealer to remove the fresh air and seal tightly. This significantly slows down the ageing process and allows the mozzarella to last much longer – potentially 2 weeks.
Thawing Frozen Mozzarella
If you intend using frozen mozzarella in dishes that involves melting the cheese (such as sauce, soup or pasta) forget about defrosting it. It’s an unnecessary step that won’t improve the dish but it does increase the chance of unwanted bacteria forming.
For dishes like salads and sandwiches where the cheese won’t be melted, pop the mozzarella in the fridge the night before to ensure it’s fully defrosted when it’s time to eat. Don’t defrost using a microwave or submerge the bag in warm water. It’ll mess with the texture and make it an unpleasant goo.
Have you ever wondered why some cheese smells so bad? If yes, take a look at our article on why cheese smells bad.
- Place the cheese at the back of the freezer to reduce temperature fluctuations which occur at the front of the freezer.
- Use single serve bags to separate the cheese before adding to the freezer.
- Wrap the cheese is cling wrap then add to a freezer bag to avoid freezer burn. Push all the air our before sealing the bag.
- Avoid defrosting the cheese at room temperature as there’s a higher risk of bacteria.
- Use freezer labels for easy identification of cheese type and date of freezing.
- Do a quick visual check of the cheese before freezing to look for signs of mold.
Can you freeze unopened mozzarella cheese?
You can freeze unopened mozzarella by placing the package in a freezer bag and labelling with the current date.
How do you store leftover mozzarella?
If you intend storing leftover mozzarella you should decide when it’s likely to get eaten. If it’s in the next few days then store in an airtight container in the fridge. To store for longer periods, add to a freezer bag, seal tightly, and freeze for up to 6 months.
Can you freeze mozzarella sticks?
Mozzarella sticks can be frozen by placing in a freezer bag, ensuring all the air is forced out, before sealing tightly. Label the bag with the current date for easy reference. When it comes time to eat the sticks, they are best deep fried from frozen rather than allowing to defrost.
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