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Basically, I am trying to melt mozzarella on top of bread. I've tried both pan and microwave, but it doesn't seem to work out. I also tried to heat the balls separately in a microwave, but even that doesn't seem to show any progress.

This led me to wonder... How exactly do people get mozzarella to melt on pizza?

Perhaps is it that low-moisture mozzarella cheese melts better than mozzarella balls?

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    In the UK, mozzarella is primarily sold either as balls that are roughly kiwi-sized in brine (which I would consider the 'real' mozzarella) or in solid blocks (designed for grating, and to melt more easily due to less moisture). You can also get miniature versions of the balls, and a pre-grated version of the block. The balls can be pulled apart by hand giving strips or stands of cheese; I would never put a whole ball onto something.
    – dbmag9
    Jan 26 at 11:58
  • How exactly did you try to melt it? Did you try to melt the entire mozarella ball? How big was the piece of cheese you were trying to melt? How long did you microwave them for?
    – Luciano
    Jan 26 at 13:43
  • One minute or so, yes the entire ball. Thumb sized (about) @Luciano Jan 26 at 13:52
  • Have you tried shredded mozzarella instead of ball form? A lot of dishes I make use shredded form and shredded form usually melts faster. Jan 26 at 18:57
  • @dbmag9 This source claims that high moisture cheeses melt at lower temperatures: finecooking.com/article/…. Jan 27 at 7:45

5 Answers 5

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First off your best bet is going to be an oven/air fryer but a pan should also work. Secondly, you are probably using the wrong type of mozzarella. What you want for things like pizza and other melting tasks is low-moisture, whole milk mozzarella. Low moisture melts much better, and you also want high fat content whole milk provides. It might be harder to find this, but it's definitely worth it. Some packaged 'string' cheeses can be low moisture with higher fat, so don't forget to check them too.

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  • This is the right advice, I just used lower moisture mozarella and I Finally have achieve melted mozarella cheese Jan 31 at 12:43
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Very simply, with heat from above.

I cannot comment on the microwave, since I have almost never used one, but a pan is clearly the wrong tool for the job, since there you are heating the bread from below, and the cheese only gets slightly warmed, if at all.

Using an oven, I have never noticed a need for reducing the moisture, as other answers suggest. The mozzarella straight out of the brine might make your bread somewhat soggy, but there is nothing wrong with that for me.

The best device for doing this will be a grill/broiler, but a toaster oven and a normal oven will also work. All you have to do is slice the mozzarella, place it on the bread, and bake. Place the sandwiches as closely to the upper heating element as possible.

Using this method, I have made sandwiches with up to 1.5 cm thick mozzarella slices. They are quite decadent :) but my point is, the thickness is not a problem at all, nor is the moisture.

melted mozzarrella

Above, a picture of some mozzarella I melted on bread in an oven. It is the high-moisture mozzarella sold in apple-sized balls, sliced thickly. I placed it as close as possible to the upper heating elements, and it fared quite well.

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    The 'from above' comment now I really makes me want to try whether a hair dryer would work 😇. Mozzarella supposedly melts at around 54 degrees Celsius, whilst a hairdryer supposedly reaches 60 degrees Celsius at max heat. Jan 27 at 7:44
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    @DavidMulder You can try for funsies, but it doesn't sound like a good way to do it. Hair dryers are not very efficient at heating the thing they are blazing at - can you imagine it getting your brain to 60 C? If you have to misuse something, there are hot air guns in hardware stores. The melt won't be as tasty as in an oven, but you might get a few Instagram likes out of it, if that's your thing.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 27 at 8:52
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    I reckon a heat gun could get decent browning as well as heating the balls through. Better than a blowtorch anyway.
    – Chris H
    Jan 27 at 9:48
  • OP is mentioning stovetop, which can work, and microwave, which I see being a potential catastrophy. I can attest to toaster ovens working. :) Jan 27 at 10:09
  • I would probably have accepted this answer if I had an oven, but I don't :( Jan 31 at 12:43
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Mozzarella balls, particuarly the almost "Fluorescent" white variety, contain a lot of water. To get them to melt successfully, you need to get that water out.

What I do is slice the balls into ~ 5mm rounds and leave them to drain in a fine sieve for about an hour. You could also leave them in the fridge overnight, this would dry them out even more. You could try not slicing them, but I think they would still retain a lot of water that way.

Using this method I can get melted mozz on my pizza from pale white to nicely browned in a regular domestic oven at 250C [482F].

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    +1 With that said, real fresh mozzarella shouldn't be cooked so long as to go brown on a pizza, at least on the traditional styles of pizza you would bother to put real mozzarella on. In a domestic oven you're forced to cook for longer, like 5-6 minutes, so try adding the mozza a few minutes after the pie goes in. 3-4 minutes is long enough for it to melt, but not so long that it turns into brown chewing gum. If you're going for a NY style, of course, then burnt rubber cheese is the way to go, but it's a shame to do that to good quality mozzarella...
    – J...
    Jan 27 at 21:40
  • I was merely boasting @J. My pizza steel has revolutionised my Friday night pizza session. Every shade of cheese and crust from milky to cremated is now within easy reach .....
    – Greybeard
    Jan 28 at 0:06
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    Fair enough. I also fully admit to a perhaps unhealthy obsession with mozzarella justice, lol.
    – J...
    Jan 28 at 0:09
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"Real" Pizza tends to have the balls broken up or sliced and done under intense heat.

I've had decent luck getting fresh (balls in brine) mozerella to melt in a toaster oven simply by breaking it up into fairly small pieces so they have more surface area to heat up.

If you're doing it on a pan, you could try melting the cheese on a pan that's hot but not on direct heat and build your toast 'upside down'

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    This is it. Whenever I make pizza using fresh mozzarella as a topping I just shred it and it always melts in the oven (260ºC) in just a few minutes. As others said, it will be better if drained some of the water before using the cheese.
    – Luciano
    Jan 26 at 13:47
  • In a pan or griddle, you can melt it with steam— griddle one side of the bread, flip it, immediately put the cheese on, then put a tight lid on it, and turn the heat down to low
    – Joe
    Jan 27 at 0:35
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A method for "pan on stovetop" but not really for pizza (very effective at cook top and melt cheese, but not in a crispy pizza like way) is to put a lid on the pan (which essentially steams the top of the food, thus the disclaimer that it's not pizza-like, but does melt cheese effectively.)

Handy to know if you are stuck with no oven.

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