Mozzarella (English /ˌmɒtsəˈrɛlə/; Italian: [mottsaˈrɛlla]) is a fresh cheese, originally from southern Italy, traditionally made from Italian buffalo and later cow's milk by the pasta filata method. This cheese is common for pizzas. The term is used for several kinds of Italian cheeses that are made using spinning and then cutting (hence the name, as the Italian verb mozzare means "to cut"):
- Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella), made from domesticated Italian buffalo's milk in Italy and from other types of buffalo's milk in many nations: in almost all cases Italian breeders or entrepreneurs started production in other nations
- mozzarella fior di latte, made from fresh pasteurized or unpasteurized cow's milk.
- low-moisture mozzarella, which is made from whole or part skimmed milk, and widely used in the food-service industry
- mozzarella affumicata (smoked mozzarella)
Fresh mozzarella is generally white, but may vary seasonally to slightly yellow depending on the animal's diet. It is a semi-soft cheese. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day after it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week, or longer when sold in vacuum-sealed packages. Low-moisture mozzarella can be kept refrigerated for up to a month, though some shredded low-moisture mozzarella is sold with a shelf life of up to six months. Mozzarella of several kinds is also used for most types of pizza and several pasta dishes, or served with sliced tomatoes and basil in insalata caprese.