Home cooks who enjoy making pizza and other Italian recipes know that a mozzarella cheese shredder belongs in most kitchens. A professionally-made cheese grater saves time and helps ensure that recipes turn out just as the chef wants them to.
Cooks shred cheese for many reasons, including the creation of homemade pizzas, flatbreads, salads and burgers. While different cheeses can be used in all of these dishes, mozzarella holds a special place in the hearts of many cooks. It's a versatile cheese that many cooks feel is an essential part of pizza. Having a mozzarella cheese shredder helps ensure uniform shreds that cook at the same rate, producing consistent results.
What is Mozzarella Cheese?
Traditionally, mozzarella is a soft, buffalo-milk cheese made in Southern Italy. However, many variations exist, some using milk from different animals. The cheese may also be processed differently: Traditional "fresh" mozzarella is very soft and formed into balls. It is sliced and used in Caprese salads, hors d'oeuvres and some styles of pizza.
Because of its moisture content, fresh mozzarella cannot be grated or shredded. However, cheesemakers have found ways to create low-moisture mozzarella, which is typically shredded for American-style pizzas. Smoked mozzarella can also be shredded, though it is often sliced and used in sandwiches and casseroles.
Choosing a Mozzarella Cheese Shredder
The best cheese shredder depends on personal preference as well as the type of cheese a cook plans to use in a recipe. Busy home cooks often purchase several different types of graters.
A flat grater, for example, is a wonderful multitasker that can finely shave hard cheeses, citrus zest, chocolate, and large spices such as nutmeg.
Unfortunately, mozzarella, even low-moisture mozzarella, is too soft for this sort of grater. Still, many cooks want one of these in their kitchens because they are so effective in preparing other types of food.
A more effective hand-held option for softer cheeses is a rotary cheese grater. This is a handheld, mechanical device that grates cheese and other foods at the table or during food preparation. No batteries or other power is necessary. There are upright options that can be mounted on a kitchen counter, though they usually aren't practical or necessary in a home kitchen.
An alternative to a hand-held or upright cheese grinder is the food processor. A food processor can serve as an efficient mozzarella cheese shredder, particularly when it is necessary to shred a large amount of cheese at once.
However, food processors have their downsides:
Cost: Compared to a simple stainless steel cheese grater, food processors are expensive.
Size: While both manual and handheld rotary graters can be stored in a kitchen drawer, processors take up counter or cabinet space.
Electricity: They require electricity to operate and have to be operated near an electrical outlet
Danger: Processor blades are sharp and can cause deep cuts during operation and cleaning.
Handheld graters also allow cooks to shred cheese or other food items at the table, which is fantastic when serving pasta or salads: Everyone can opt to put as much or as little cheese as they want on their food.
While it is possible to purchase a specialized cheese shredder machine, this type of equipment is designed for professional kitchens. In addition, most chefs will still want to have a handheld grater or shredder for greater control of the preparation or garnishing processes. A standard rotary mozzarella cheese shredder is typically all that a home cook will need to create delicious food.