The Real Reason Mozzarella Is Stored In Water

While your Camembert or Parmigiano-Reggiano will do fine for long periods of time in the cheese drawer of your refrigerator, there's one type of cheese (and it's a popular one) that has to be stored a bit differently. Fresh mozzarella, beloved as a salad topping or eaten caprese-style with ripe tomatoes and basil, can most often be found in plastic containers full of liquid. This liquid can be water, a salted brine, or whey, which is a by-product of the cheesemaking process. 

But why does fresh mozzarella have to be stored in liquid unlike other cheeses? Mozzarella is typically produced in the shape of a ball. Because of its high water content and its soft texture, if stored the same way as other cheeses, it will lose its shape and flatten out over time. Keeping mozzarella in a liquid helps to retain both its shape and its moisture (via

What other types of mozzarella are there?

Traditionally, mozzarella was only made with milk from the water buffalo, which is a slightly acidic milk. These days, however, it is generally made from cow's milk (via Epicurious). There are producers in Italy and the United States making it the old-fashioned way though, and you'll be able to tell the difference because buffalo milk mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) has a telltale tang to it. 

You can also purchase low-moisture mozzarella which will keep for a longer period of time. This is often sold shredded, in bags, rather than in plastic containers in liquid. If you're looking for a mozzarella which is closer to ooey, gooey burrata, you'll need to spring for the fancy stuff that you have to keep in water. On the other hand, if you're just buying some cheese to make pizza at home, low-moisture mozzarella will likely do just fine (via The Kitchn).