Best way to slice fresh mozzarella?
March 19, 2007 5:16 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to slice fresh mozzarella?

I love to use fresh mozzarella on pizza when I make it. You know the kind: big, white, round balls of cheesy goodness. The stuff you find on real, authentic pizza made by Italians and other folks who know what they are doing.

The problem is, every time I try to cut it thin, the slices aren't uniform and don't cook evenly the way I like. So far, I have tried a very sharp chef's knife and an alternate method using unwaxed/unflavored dental floss. The floss does an OK job, although it is hard to control for a uniform thin-ness.

Any suggestions?
posted by rageear to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One of these sorts of things. (I cannot believe there is a Wikipedia entry for that.)
posted by theredpen at 5:23 PM on March 19, 2007

Would grating it work? The cheese is all going to melt together once it's on the pizza anyway.
posted by chrisamiller at 5:24 PM on March 19, 2007

Alternately, a cheese slicer would probably work well.
posted by chrisamiller at 5:26 PM on March 19, 2007

Cheese slicer.
posted by tristeza at 5:26 PM on March 19, 2007

I use a serrated knife for slicing fresh mozzarella; I find cheese slicers more useful for slightly firmer cheeses.
posted by redfoxtail at 5:41 PM on March 19, 2007

I don't have much hassle when I cut a ball in two, and then cut my thin slices with a very sharp serrated knife. The sort of thing that doesn't damage even the ripest tomato.

Do try buffalo mozzarella if you haven't already. This page is worth reading; I notice he says "Put the cheese on in cubes rather than slices." That's worked well for me, too.

And, here, you can find mini balls of bocconcini -- no fussing required.
posted by kmennie at 5:47 PM on March 19, 2007

I use a very finely serrated bread knife, the kind that just tickles when you run it over your fingertip.
posted by fire&wings at 5:58 PM on March 19, 2007

(unflavored) dental floss
posted by ijoshua at 6:34 PM on March 19, 2007

Oh, sorry, I just skimmed your question. I see that you’ve tried the floss. Have you tried freezing the cheese?

(I’ll try to stop answering while drinking…)
posted by ijoshua at 6:38 PM on March 19, 2007

what you need is something called a guitar cutter/slicer. it is like an egg slicer for pros.
posted by Infernarl at 6:53 PM on March 19, 2007

The egg slicer will probably do the trick but to be honest I've never had a problem with the thicker slices of the freshs mozzarella. I just spread out the luscious disks of goodness and as it melts in the oven, it spreads out to cover the pizza.
posted by mmascolino at 6:57 PM on March 19, 2007

I use a four-sided box grater. The long horizontal slicer side. The slices are even in thickness.

The grater is not to be used if you want perfectly round slices for a nice presentation, such as tomato mozzarella salad.

I find that the grater works very well for dishes that will cook the mozzarella, like lasagna and pizza.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:03 PM on March 19, 2007

Didn't Alton Brown make some kind of contraption with a "woefully undersized" cutting board and a guitar string, for cheese cutting? I bet that'd work a treat.

Oddly enough, while trying to find a link to that, I found a link to this, which I think is exactly what you were looking for.
posted by bink at 7:13 PM on March 19, 2007

Another vote for serrated knife -- that's the ticket. Egg-slicing contraptions and their variants would work too, I suppose, but you probably already own a serrated knife.
posted by butternut at 7:53 PM on March 19, 2007

I wash my hands and squish the slices so they're uniformly thin. I'm very bad with cutlery though.
posted by nursegracer at 8:00 PM on March 19, 2007

How "thin" are you trying to cut it? Mozzarella should be cut rather thick, things considered: with heat and time, it can start breaking down into ricotta-like curd, which isn't nearly as nice in the end. By "thick" I mean maybe a centimeter, maybe more. Follow the other advice: serrated knife, don't worry about evenness, mmascolino mentioned earlier that it melts outward and evenly anyway, just give it enough thickness to do so.

The real question, for mozzarella perfection, is how do you cook the pizza? Are you lucky enough to have a brick oven and a thousand degrees? Gas oven? Electric? Pizza stone? How much time passes between first adding the sauce and/or toppings to the pizza and getting the pizza in the oven? How long do you cook it for?
posted by stance at 8:08 PM on March 19, 2007

I've had good luck with simply a sharp knife.. what was the problem you were having? Make sure you draw across the top first to get a groove, then just go down/towards you in one motion. Its worked for pretty soft mozzarella balls in the past.
posted by devilsbrigade at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2007

nthing the egg slicer. I work in a restaurant and it's what we use when we we cut mozzarella. We cut the mozzarella balls in half first, though, as they're often too big otherwise.
posted by lilac girl at 8:57 PM on March 19, 2007

Heat the knife up. I used to cut a lot of mozarella when I worked at a restaurant, and a machete straight out of the dishwasher always worked the best.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:49 PM on March 19, 2007

I toss mozzarella into the freezer until it's cold (but not frozen), and then use a chef's knife that wet between cuts.
posted by dws at 9:59 PM on March 19, 2007

Second the Guitar slicer -works like charm on mozzarella di bufala
posted by Neiltupper at 10:02 AM on March 20, 2007

Response by poster: Seems like the egg slicer/guiar slicer is the way to go. I actually don't own one of these (yet), but I'm certain it will be in my possession soon. To answer some more direct questions:

@chrisamiller: I'm not looking for grated cheese. I want the round slices that are seen in this link passed on by kmennie.

@kmennie: I've come across that pizza page before; kinda got me inspired to fiddle with my pizza recipe/methodology. Haven't had the time to read the whole thing, though.

@stance: A centimeter is a bit too thick for my liking. I was aiming for closer to a half centimeter. As for cooking the pizza, I am limited to the crappy oven in my apartment. It has a definite hot spot towards the back, so I have to rotate the pie every so often. Additionally, I use a pizza stone that helps crisp up the crust and aids in the overall cooking process. I think the rest of your questions would make a mighty fine "How to best cook a pizza" discussion.

Thanks for all your suggestions folks!
posted by rageear at 11:54 AM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I never cut it when i make pizza (and salads). I just tear it into pieces with my hands. I find it looks better, melts better, is easier to do etc.
posted by brautigan at 2:57 PM on March 21, 2007

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