The Reason Professional Chefs Never Store Mozzarella In The Refrigerator

Is fridge space considered prime real estate in your home? Do you find yourself clicking on different fridge organizing hacks to find a way to fit more in — and still be able to find what you're looking for? If you're one of those people, listen up. Even if you've got plenty of room in that new counter-depth French door fridge you installed in your kitchen, it's always good to know how to store food properly.  

How to store dairy products is often subject to debate. Many professional chefs keep butter on the counter because it's better for baking and spreading. But fresh mozzarella cheese? Most of us might assume that dairy products need cold temperatures to keep bacteria at bay. There is truth to that, but it's a truth that comes with trade-offs.

The problem: Refrigeration changes mozzarella's texture and taste from smooth, silky, and creamy to chewy and milder in flavor. Fresh mozzarella is a delicate cheese, so temperature makes a big difference to its subtle milkiness. Plus, fresh mozzarella takes a while to warm up once it's been removed from the fridge — and it's best when eaten at room temperature  – so professional chefs often keep it out on the counter.

Leave mozzarella out and enjoy it fresh

Fresh mozzarella is different from packaged, so it's intended to be eaten shortly after it's made, while its natural goodness is at its peak. If you purchase fresh mozzarella from the store, it's tastiest when stored in water and should be savored shortly after being brought home — within a day or two. Plus, mozzarella's moisture content makes it feel much more decadent than it is. The cheese's creaminess comes from water rather than from fat. 

The moisture content of fresh mozzarella — together with its lack of salt and acid — also makes it vulnerable to spoilage pretty quickly. So, if you can't eat it within a day or two, you will need to store it cold. Your best bet in this imperfect world is to give it time to warm up, ideally a couple of hours at room temperature, before consuming it. Fresh is best, but eating and serving it at room temperature is the next best thing. And with quality mozzarella cheese, even second best is awfully good.