The world of cheese can be somewhat intimidating to navigate. Perhaps just like wine. There are various different types of cheese, and they may vary by the country of origin, type of milk, cooking concerns, time taken to age, and tasting notes. With so many different types of cheese available, a beginner can get confused and overwhelmed. No worries; in the following article, we are going to help you understand the differences between two incredibly popular types of cheese, Mozzarella and Feta.
Both Mozzarella and Feta fall into the category of fresh cheese. These types of cheese are very popular because of several reasons. One would be the recent buzz saying that Mozzarella and Feta will not make you gain weight. That’s pretty much true, of course. The other reason is certainly their peculiar tastes. They taste very nice, especially if you like salty foods. So, what is the difference between Mozzarella and Feta? How can you tell the two apart from each other? See the comparisons below.
Mozzarella is actually a traditional dairy product of southern Italy that is made from Italian buffalo’s milk using the pasta filata method, which is a particular technique for making Italian cheeses that involves plasticizing and kneading the fresh curd in hot water to create a fibrous structure. Mozzarella received the Traditional Specialities Guaranteed certification in 1998 from the European Union. Nevertheless, the TSG certification does not specify the type of milk to use, and technically you can make mozzarella from any type of milk, such as the milk of cow, sheep, or goat. In Italy, however, the mozzarella made from the milk of an Italian water buffalo is an important variety, and may only be produced in select locations in Lazio, Apulia, Campania, and Molise. (Read also: Provolone vs Mozzarella)
Fresh mozzarella is usually white, but may also appear slightly yellow depending on the animal’s diet. Mozzarella is traditionally served the day it is made due to the high moisture content. However, the cheese can be kept for up to a week if stored in brine, longer when sold in a vacuum-sealed package. Low-moisture mozzarella can be refrigerated for about a month. Mozzarella can be found in many types of pizza, several pasta dishes, and the Caprese salad – served with sliced tomatoes and basil.
On the other hand, Feta is a Greek brined curd white cheese made from sheep’s milk, sometimes mixed with goat’s milk. Some brined white cheeses made using cow’s milk in Europe are sometimes also called feta. However, feta has been made into a product of protected designation of origin by the European Union since 2002. A cheese can only be called “feta” if produced using a traditional way in particular areas in Greece and made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s milk with up to 30% goat’s milk.
Feta is usually used as a table cheese and in salads, pastries, omelets, and sandwiches. You can also find it in popular phyllo-based dishes such as spanakopita and tyropita. It can also be cooked or grilled, or served with olives and aromatic herbs.
Mozzarella vs. Feta: Country of Origin
As explained above, mozzarella and feta came from different countries. Mozzarella came from Italy. As a note, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is only produced in Lazio, Apulia, Campania, and Molise. But the ‘regular’ mozzarella can be produced in other countries. The cheese is produced according to the TSG certification, received in 1998. On the other hand, Feta came from Greece and is only produced in particular locations across the country. It is produced according to the PDO certification, received in 2002.
Mozzarella vs. Feta: Types of Milk
Mozzarella was originally made from Italian buffalo’s milk. Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is made using Italian water buffalo’s milk. But regular mozzarella can be made from buffalo’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or cow’s milk. On the other hand, Feta is made from sheep’s milk. It can also be made using a combination of sheep’s milk with up to 30% goat’s milk.
Mozzarella vs. Feta: Production Process
Some mozzarella variants are designed not to require aging. These variants are usually made for pizza. Some other variants can be made through direct milk acidification. The milk is warmed and curdled, the whey is drained off, and then the curd is steeped in a bath of very hot water for several hours. Finally, the liquid is removed and the curd is kneaded. Ideally, a mozzarella cheese should be consumed within a few days.
On the other hand, feta requires an aging time, which is at least three months. After the curds become firm enough to cut up, they are salted until the salinity reaches 3%. The salted curds are placed in vessels for several days. Afterward, they undergo the aging process in brine.
Mozzarella vs. Feta: Texture and Flavor
The texture of mozzarella is semi-soft. You can see that the surface is soft and smooth. It may come in various shapes and sizes. The taste is certainly salty, but not as strong or peculiar as feta.
On the other hand, feta is often sold in blocks. It is somewhat solid, and is crumbly. The taste is stronger and more peculiar than mozzarella.
Mozzarella vs. Feta: Nutritional Values
So, which is the best cheese for weight management? Well, both are generally good. Now comparing the 100g servings of both kinds of cheese, a generic mozzarella would have slightly more calories and more protein than a generic feta. Mozzarella contains 300 calories, 2.19 grams carbs, 22.35 grams fat, and 22.17 grams protein. On the other hand, feta comes with 264 grams calories, 4.09 grams carbs, 21.28 grams fat, and 14.21 grams protein. However, different varieties may come with different nutritional values.
So, you know the differences between mozzarella and feta. Mozzarella is from Italy, originally made from Italian buffalo’s milk but can also be made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk. It is semi-soft and has a soft, smooth surface. Meanwhile, feta is from Greece, made using either sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. It is somewhat solid, and is crumbly. The flavor of feta is stronger than mozzarella. Both are good and healthy.