Mozzarella is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices of cheese. It's present in so many dishes like mozzarella sticks, pizza, risottos, frittatas. There's a lot of good reasons why people love it! But, sometimes, we go ahead and purchase it without wanting to consume it right away. If you're wondering how to freeze mozzarella cheese for later use, let's find out what others have to say!
Freezing mozzarella cheese for later use is a simple task. But first, it depends on what type of mozzarella cheese you're planning to store in the freezer. Is it store-bought or fresh? This detail matters because it will determine what you will have to do to place it in the freezer. Regardless, here are some steps to freeze mozzarella cheese:
- Remove excess water from the packaging.
- Slice the mozzarella into portions.
- Place the pieces in a freezer bag.
- Store them in a flat position to preserve their shape.
As you can see, storing mozzarella cheese is relatively simple. But, there are still some details that need clarification. Additionally, what do we do when you want to use the frozen mozzarella? These are some issues that we'll cover in-depth. If you'd like to learn this and more, keep reading ahead.
Freezing Mozzarella Cheese—By Type
The type of mozzarella cheese you have will determine the steps you will need to take. Let's go over what you need to do if you have fresh mozzarella cheese. Fresh mozzarella usually comes in the shape of a ball. In addition to the form, you'll notice the container will usually have brine inside.
If you don't know, mozzarella comes in a container with liquid because it helps it keep its shape. Without the additional liquid, it will flatten out over time and begin to dry. Drying is what we need to do before we go ahead and store fresh mozzarella cheese in the freezer.
Freezing Fresh Mozzarella
To prepare fresh mozzarella cheese for the freezer, you will need to discard the brine and let the ball rest for a minute or two. It will help the mozzarella bring out more liquid. After this, you will have to portion it in a way that makes sense for what you will prepare in the future.
So, you can separate it into slices, blocks, or other forms. Keep in mind that you should organize them in a way that makes defrosting easy. Regardless, after cutting the mozzarella, there will be more liquid that could ooze out of it. Remove the excess moisture by patting it with a paper towel.
Now you can move it to a freezer bag. Make sure the mozzarella pieces have enough space between them. This way, they won't freeze together. Lastly, move them to the freezer. Lay them flat at first so they can freeze into solid pieces. You can arrange them however you'd like after.
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Store-bought Mozzarella (Block)
Store-bought blocks of mozzarella are a different case in comparison to fresh ones. They usually don't come with additional liquid. Instead, they contain preservatives that help them last longer. As some suggest, the lack of brine is what makes their texture rubbery and chewy.
Regardless, the lack of moisture will make freezing this type of mozzarella more simple. In other words, there's no additional preparation needed to freeze it. All you'll need to do is decide how you want to package it. Are you going to use the whole block in one go?
You can go ahead and store it in a freezer bag. And, that's all you'll have to do! Otherwise, if you plan to make a dish out of it, you'll need to portion the block into pieces that make sense. If you plan to make a casserole or pizza, you can shred the block.
Are mozzarella sticks in your future? Then, you should cut it into portions and space them out. This way, they don't freeze together.
Store-bought shredded mozzarella, like the block variation, doesn't need additional preparations. Instead, it has preservatives that help it last longer. You can transfer it to a freezer bag and store it in the freezer immediately. However, that will make it freeze into a large clump.
If you want to avoid this, some suggest pre-freezing it. In other words, you'll want to freeze it on a baking sheet first. Then, you can take the frozen clumps and break them down with a spatula. From here, you can transfer the shredded mozzarella into freezer bags.
How Do You Defrost Mozzarella Quickly?
Now that we know how to freeze mozzarella, how can we defrost it quickly? There are multiple ways to go about it. However, the fastest ways are to leave it to thaw at room temperature or skip the defrosting process altogether.
Leaving the mozzarella on the counter will take about three hours or less. It depends on the temperature in the room. Another way to help it defrost is by placing it in the microwave. But, if you care about quality and taste, this method isn't the way to go.
The last method of quickly defrosting mozzarella is to skip this process. However, this only applies to those who want to melt the cheese. The heat of an oven or toaster will do the job for you.
What Is the Best Way To Defrost Mozzarella?
The quickest way isn't always the best way to do things. While thawing mozzarella on the counter is relatively fast, it can go bad quickly too! Some users suggest trying to use the mozzarella as soon as possible after it defrosts on the counter.
Mozzarella will take anywhere from two and a half to three hours to defrost. In some cases, we can forget and leave it on the counter for longer. If this happens, it can go sour. Meaning, it will start developing an unpleasant smell and change color.
So, if you want to preserve the quality and taste as much as possible, defrosting it in the fridge is the best way. From here, it will depend on what type you have.
Shredded mozzarella will defrost quickly. Thick chunks will take longer. In general, it should defrost within 20 to 24 hours.
How Long Does Unopened Shredded Mozzarella Last in the Fridge?
Sometimes the best way to preserve an ingredient longer is by not opening the packaging at all. Regarding unopened shredded cheese, some suggest it will last one week after the best-by or sell-by date.
Of course, if you choose to freeze it, it will last longer. However, if you plan on storing it for longer than two months, you will need to open the package and transfer the cheese into a freezer bag to preserve it further.
How Do You Keep Shredded Mozzarella From Molding?
The best way to keep shredded mozzarella from molding is to put it in the freezer. But, if you're storing it in the fridge, there are other ways to ensure mold doesn't grow. Some recommend removing as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it shut.
The reason is that shredded cheese has a large surface area. As a result, it faces more exposure to the microbes in the air. So, it ends up getting moldy quickly.
How Can You Tell if Mozzarella Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Mozzarella cheese will expire no matter what we do. We can prolong that by freezing it or using all of it as quickly as we can. But, sometimes, we don't finish the entire thing. In that case, how can we tell if it has gone bad?
You can tell mozzarella cheese has gone bad when you start to see mold or once it has begun to harden. There will be some discoloration along with a sour taste. At this point, it's best to throw out the whole thing.
How Do You Use Frozen Mozzarella?
Frozen mozzarella won't have the same texture as before. It will often turn crumbly. This differs from fresh mozzarella that is soft and tender. For this reason, some recommend using frozen mozzarella as a topping or for any recipe that calls for melted cheese.
If you decide to melt the mozzarella, you can skip the defrosting process. As mentioned above, the heat from the oven or toaster will do the job for you. Some of the dishes where you can use frozen mozzarella are:
- Mozzarella sticks
- Melted on a piece of bread
- Egg scrambles
The list is just to give you an idea of what you could make with it. Of course, any recipe that requires you to melt the cheese can go on the list too!
Mozzarella is a tasty delight that you can enjoy in many dishes. But, figuring out how to preserve it for the long run can be tricky. With a bit of research, you can save it for future recipes! We hope you found the information above helpful.
Before you go, do you have other concerns about cheese? Are you wondering if all cheeses age well? If you want to find out more, check out our post here.
Do you plan on grating your own mozzarella cheese or purchasing it already shredded at the store? If you'd like to see the advantages of making your own, check out our post here. Until next time!