Swiss Cheese vs. Mozzarella

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Aaron

Swiss cheese and mozzarella are two popular cheeses that hail from different parts of the world and possess distinct characteristics.

Swiss cheese, as the name suggests, originates from Switzerland and is often reminiscent of the Emmental variety in the U.S. A few popular types of Swiss cheese include Emmental, Gruyere, and Appenzeller. Swiss cheese is typically made from cow’s milk.

On the other hand, mozzarella has its roots in Southern Italy. Traditionally made from water buffalo milk, most mozzarella today is crafted from cow’s milk. This cheese stands out with its soft, moist, and notably stretchy texture, especially when fresh.

Is Swiss Cheese the Same as Mozzarella?

No, Swiss cheese and mozzarella are not the same. Swiss cheese is a semi-hard cheese that is pale yellow, sliceable, and is renowned for its characteristic holes or “eyes.” The holes are formed by Propionibacterium bacteria that release carbon dioxide gas as they digest lactic acid during the fermentation process.

The main bacteria responsible for this are P. shermanii and P. freudenreichii.

White in color, mozzarella doesn’t have the distinctive holes that Swiss cheese possesses. When considering shelf life, Swiss cheese, being harder, often outlasts fresh mozzarella. However, once opened, its consumption is recommended within a few weeks.

Fresh mozzarella should be savored within several days to a week, although processed mozzarella might last a bit longer.

Flavor and Uses

With a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, Swiss cheese is commonly used in sandwiches, fondues, casseroles, and on top of burgers. Its melt is smooth, making it suitable for dishes requiring consistency.

It’s also consumed as a table cheese.

Mozzarella has a mild and milky flavor and is usually sold in balls or blocks. Fresh mozzarella has a subtle tanginess, while the processed type used on most pizzas can be slightly salty. Its use in Italian dishes is prominent. Think of pizzas, lasagnas, and caprese salads, and mozzarella instantly comes to mind. Notably, its melt and stretch when heated make it an irreplaceable choice for pizzas.

Mozzarella is also great when eaten fresh with tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Which is Healthier: Swiss or Mozzarella?

Swiss cheese and mozzarella are both healthy cheeses and offer nutritional benefits. The “healthier” choice largely depends on your goals. Still, we can look at them from a purely nutritional standpoint.

Swiss cheese and mozzarella are both rich sources of proteins, calcium, and essential fatty acids, but they exhibit distinct nutritional profiles owing to their unique production methods, aging processes, and milk types.

Swiss cheese, often crafted from whole milk but available in low-fat variants too, generally contains more fat per serving compared to mozzarella due to its prolonged aging and reduced moisture.

This attribute also renders Swiss cheese more calorie-dense. Sodium levels can be moderate, varying by type and brand. Nutritionally, Swiss cheese shines as a source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and zinc, with supplementary amounts of vitamin A and other B vitamins.

In contrast, mozzarella, with its creamy texture from whole milk, possesses a higher moisture content, resulting in fewer fats and calories per serving. Processed mozzarella can be notably high in sodium, while its traditional fresh counterpart tends to be milder.

As for vitamins and minerals, mozzarella generously provides calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin A, though it might trail Swiss cheese slightly in vitamin B12 content.

Is It Okay to Substitute Mozzarella for Swiss cheese?

Mozzarella is renowned for its signature cheese pull, a feature that makes it a popular choice in dishes like pizza and lasagna. It can indeed serve as a substitute for Swiss cheese in many culinary applications. However, it’s essential to recognize the stark difference in melted textures between the two: mozzarella becomes notably stringy, while Swiss cheese maintains a smoother melt.

In recipes where a stringy consistency might not be ideal, such as certain soups or creamy sauces, adding a binding agent like cornstarch or flour can help adjust the texture. This step ensures that the melted cheese integrates more seamlessly into the dish, mimicking the consistency you would achieve with Swiss cheese.

Why is Swiss Cheese Melt Better than mozzarella?

Both Swiss cheese and mozzarella are known for their meltability, but they melt differently due to factors like moisture content, fat distribution, protein structure, and age.

The aging process affects Swiss cheese’s protein structure and lower moisture, promoting a uniform melt, while mozzarella’s unique protein structure lends it its signature stretchiness — thanks to the “pasta filata” method when making the cheese, where the curd is heated until stretchy, and then kneaded and shaped. This technique imparts mozzarella its renowned stringy and elastic texture upon melting.

Additionally, Swiss cheese is often made using whole milk. That’ll provide a higher fat percentage contributing to its flow rate and overall mouthfeel. In essence, neither cheese melts “better” than the other; they simply offer distinct melting characteristics based on their composition and aging.

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