Science has proven what the world already knows: Mozzarella is the optimal cheese for pizza. Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand have published a paper, aptly titled, "Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and their Correlation with Cheese Functionality," which, according to the abstract, aimed to "quantify the pizza baking properties and performance of different cheeses, including the browning and blistering." In a video, a researcher explains that they made a range of pizzas topped with different cheeses including mozzarella, Gruyère, cheddar, and provolone.
The team then measured the oil content and the amount of browning and blistering with cameras and fancy specialized software. They also measured each cheese's water content and elasticity. According to NPR, the reason Mozzarella browns so well is because of "the way it bubbles." Because it is so stretchy and elastic, it forms many bubbles while cooking, allowing oil to slide down to the surface to brown.
Cheddar on the other hand isn't very elastic so it browns very well but fails to bubble. For the cook looking to make a perfectly blistered pizza with a more interesting flavor, the scientists recommend mixing mozzarella with another cheese. Wonder what the scientists would think about baking a pizza with nacho cheese sauce? Go, watch a video about the study:
Video: Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties
· Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties [PubMed]
· Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties Study Video [Bright Cove]
· Mozzarella The King of Pizza Cheese [NPR]
· All Pizza Coverage on Eater [-E-]