When you want to elevate your cheese game, start using fresh cheeses! Mozzarella pearls and balls are a couple you can use. It raises the question—do they melt? If that's your concern, we'll show you how!
Mozzarella pearls/balls melt, but you have to prepare them first. They hold more moisture than packaged mozzarella. For this reason, drain the brine, and start shredding them. Then, place the pieces on a towel and fold it. Let it dry for 15-20 minutes before melting.
Even if you dry the mozzarella pearls/balls, you might not like the results. Fresh mozzarella performs differently from packaged variations. It's a crucial detail to consider before you use it in a dish. If you'd like to explore more on this topic, keep reading.
How To Dry Fresh Mozzarella For Melting
It doesn't take long to notice the difference between fresh and packaged mozzarella; the fresh kind is more watery. Accordingly, we can't expect it to perform the same.
We'll need to dry it first to get the same stretchiness of packaged mozzarella. Let's go over three ways you can do that.
There are a few ways you can approach drying out mozzarella. If you don't want to use it right away, you can let the refrigerator do it for you. Otherwise, a towel can actively draw the moisture out of the cheese.
Using the Refrigerator
We'll start with the more laidback option. So, start by draining the brine in the packaging. Then, shake out any excess moisture on the ball itself.
From here, we'll need a sieve and a bowl. The sieve should be able to sit on the bowl while leaving room at the bottom. At this point, you may be wondering—what's the need for all these tools?
The reasoning is simple; the fridge is a relatively dry area. The cold air will help remove moisture without the need for towels.
Secondly, we can allow gravity to do the rest of the work. If we can hang the mozzarella balls, the liquids inside will have to come down eventually. Since most fridges won't be large enough to hang several mozzarella balls, a sieve and a bowl are essential.
Alternatively, you can use cheesecloth in place of a sieve. However, this is if you have room to hang the cheese.
Of course, no one would want cheese water all over their fridge. So, we place the bowl under the sieve to catch the excess water. Accordingly, you can leave the uncovered mozzarella balls inside for a day.
Some people may have a problem with leaving mozzarella balls uncovered in the fridge. After all, won't it affect the flavor? It's a fair concern, but there should be no problem.
As long as the fridge is clean and free of foods with strong odors, the flavor of the mozzarella balls shouldn't change. So, you might have to move some items into the freezer or elsewhere for a day.
Preparing the Mozzarella Ball For Melting
Once a day has passed, take it out and inspect it. If you see any dry parts, cut them off with a knife. Otherwise—if it still looks watery—set it aside on some paper towels.
You can accelerate the process by shredding it into pieces. So, take the ball and start pulling it apart. Afterward, place it on a towel and wrap it around.
Let the cheese sit for an additional 15-20 minutes. From here, you're free to use it for whatever dish you'd like. There's no longer a chance it can come out more watery than expected!
Using Paper Towels
Of course, the refrigerator isn't the only way to effectively dry out the cheese. Towels can do a good job. Still, it will need some time to remove the most moisture.
We'll have to follow the same procedures as preparing a block of tofu. If you've used tofu in the past, you're probably familiar with the process. In any case, we'll need three tools for this.
Of course, a paper towel will be essential to draw the water out of the mozzarella ball. The other tool we'll need is a weight; it can be a can of tomatoes, a textbook, etc.
It only needs to be heavy enough to press the water out of the mozzarella ball. Finally, we'll need a container or dish with a flat surface.
Draining the Cheese
Start by lining the container with paper towels. Then, place the mozzarella ball on it. Take another paper towel and lay it over the mozzarella ball.
Finally, use an item with a flat surface—like a small cutting board—and lay it over the cheese; set your weight on top. Let it sit like this for 15-20 minutes.
After this period, it should be dry enough to melt.
Using A Tofu Press
People who have dealt with tofu in the past may have something that can come in handy for this situation. More specifically, maybe you have a tofu press lying around.
Instead of stacking a weight over a flat surface, you can use the tofu press to extract moisture from the mozzarella ball/pearls.
Melting the Mozzarella
It always helps to know what to expect once you go through the effort of drying out the cheese. Otherwise, how would we know where we went wrong? Let's start by discussing what it looks like to melt mozzarella pearls/balls out of the packaging.
Melting Mozzarella Without Drying It
It won't take long to notice the disaster. In some cases, the cheese might not melt at all. It might be difficult to melt fresh mozzarella, but—in high heat—it's possible.
The result is unsatisfying. It will be able to stretch like packaged mozzarella, but it will be hard to enjoy it with all the water. In other words, it will turn your food into a soupy mess.
If you're using fresh mozzarella on a pizza or lasagna, it will come out soggy. However, it might fare better on a piece of bread. Avoid using too many mozzarella balls/pearls out of their package.
It's better to use it sparingly. This way, your dish won't turn into soup.
Melting Mozzarella Through The Paper Towel Method
Although the paper towel method is effective, it's not the best way to remove moisture. It won't turn out as bad. Still, the dish will have some excess moisture.
It won't be enough to ruin the food, but it's noticeable. If you can, drying the mozzarella in the fridge is the better option.
Melting Mozzarella Through The Fridge Method
Using the fridge and a sieve is the best way to bring out the moisture in fresh mozzarella balls/pearls. It will perform nearly the same as packaged mozzarella. However, it won't spread as much.
So, you might want to spread it out evenly to get good coverage. In any case, the results won't disappoint.
If you'd like to see the results, here's a video demonstrating it with pizzas:
Can You Melt Mozzarella Balls in the Microwave?
There's a quick way to melt the mozzarella balls/pearls. However, it involves using the microwave. While it's not the best way to cook the cheese, it removes the need for drying.
All you'll need is a microwave-safe bowl and mozzarella; place it inside and let it cook in 15-second increments. Each time the microwave stops, drain the excess liquid.
Continue cooking it in 15-second increments until you get the results you want. It's not the most glamorous way to cook it, but it's quick and effective.
Why Do Mozzarella Balls Come in Water?
At this point, we can point toward the moisture content of mozzarella balls/pearls for their inability to melt well enough. Since the extra moisture can be problematic, why does it come in brine?
There are several reasons why fresh mozzarella needs it. First, the brine helps the mozzarella preserve its shape. Without it, it'd fall flat over time.
Secondly, the brine acts as a preservative for the mozzarella balls/pearls. It's not water alone in that container; salt makes up about 18-24% of it.
Lastly, fresh mozzarella balls/pearls are better when it's raw. It doesn't cook well unless you dry them. If you want superior melting capabilities, the packaged kind is better.
Foods are better when you use fresh ingredients. However, it might make cooking more tricky. Luckily, you can melt mozzarella balls/pearls. You just need to dry them first. We hope you found this helpful!
Before you go, do you need help melting other items? How about peanut butter? To learn more, check out:
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