Can I use Swiss instead of mozzarella? (3 possible substitutes)
In the article, we will answer the following question: “Can I use Swiss instead of mozzarella?” and discuss what characterises Swiss cheese, the differences between Swiss cheese and mozzarella, and what are possible substitutes for mozzarella.
Can I use Swiss instead of mozzarella?
Yes, you can use Swiss instead of mozzarella. Although there are many different types of Swiss cheese, they are also characterised as semi-hard cheeses, with a soft texture, mild hazelnut-like aroma, and a yellow colour (1).
The presence of “eyes” is also common and favourable for the visual appeal of the cheese.
Despite its soft texture, Swiss cheese does not flow upon heating and does not stretch such as Mozzarella and therefore cannot replace mozzarella in the preparation of pizza, for example, where good stretching and flowability properties are required (1).
Mozzarella is also characterised as a semi-hard cheese with a mild flavour and soft texture. However, it has a less intense flavour than Swiss cheese (1), essentially due to the lack of the ripening process.
What characterises Swiss cheese?
The main characteristics are given to Swiss cheese (1, 2):
Swiss cheese is a semi-hard cheese with a yellow colour, soft texture, and a sweet, buttery and slightly acid flavour.
Many Swiss cheeses contain “eyes”, such as Gouda and Emmentaler, resulting from the gas production during ageing and the action of lactic acid cultures.
The manufacturing of Swiss cheese involves two stages of ageing. The first takes some days to weeks and is related to the stabilisation of the proteins and the physical-chemical, enzymatic and microbiological activities in the cheese.
This process occurs at refrigerated temperatures. During this time, lactose is consumed by the lactic acid bacteria and the pH decreases.
The second stage of ageing takes several weeks (4 to 5 weeks) at higher temperatures of about 23 °C (75 °F). In this stage, bacteria present in the cheese convert lactate into propionic acid, acetic acid and carbon dioxide, developing eyes.
Proteolytic and lipolytic reactions occur, which give the cheese characteristic flavour, aroma and texture.
What are the main differences between Swiss cheese and mozzarella?
The main differences between Swiss cheese and mozzarella are shown in the table below (1, 2, 3):
|Milk||pasteurised||heat treated (67 °C for 20 seconds)|
|Fat content||18 to 60 % on the dry mass basis||44 to 47 % on the dry mass basis|
|ripening||not ripened||2 stages of ageing|
|pH||5.6||5.7 to 6.0|
|flavour||milky, mild, creamy||sweet, slightly acid, hazelnut-like flavour|
|salt content||0.1 to 0.5 %||1.1 to 2.0 %|
|lactic acid culture||Streptococcus thermophillus||Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbruecki bulgaricus, Lactobacillus and Lactobacillus helveticus|
The main differences between Swiss cheese and mozzarella result from the distinct lactic acid cultures added and the ripening process of the Swiss cheese (1, 2).
Are there benefits and drawbacks of Swiss cheese replacing mozzarella?
Yes, there are benefits and drawbacks of Swiss cheese replacing mozzarella. The benefits of using Swiss cheese in place of mozzarella are the more intense flavour resulting from the hydrolysed amino acids and fatty acids, and the melting properties, which are favoured by the ageing process (1, 2).
The drawbacks of using Swiss cheese in place of mozzarella are due to the low stretchability of Swiss cheese, which makes it unsuitable to be used as a pizza topping (1, 2).
In addition, Swiss cheese may have a significantly higher amount of sodium in its composition when compared to mozzarella. The high ingestion of sodium can lead to negative effects on health, such as hypertension and kidney-related diseases (4).
Other FAQs about Mozarella that you may be interested in.
What are possible substitutes for mozzarella cheese?
Possible substitutes for mozzarella are cheese types with good stretching and flowability properties when heated. Processed cheeses and young cheddar are the best options to substitute mozzarella as a topping ingredient (3).
Processed cheeses and young cheddar are designed to fit many cooking preparations, such as cutting, slicing, cubing, melting and stretching.
Other options are pasta filata cheese types, such as the Italian Provolone, which is produced by the stretching of the curd at high temperatures, forming a fibrous structure of the cheese proteins (1). Another cheese type classified as a pasta filata is Caciocavallo, also from Italian.
In this article, we answered the question “Can I use Swiss instead of mozzarella?” and discussed what characterises Swiss cheese, what are the main differences between Swiss and mozzarella, the benefits and drawbacks of using Swiss cheese in place of mozzarella and what are possible substitutes for mozzarella.
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di Palma VL, Hammond EG, Glatz BA. Effect of lactobacilli on the properties of Swiss cheese. Journal of Dairy Science. 1987 Apr 1;70(4):733-7.
Lucey JA, Johnson ME, Horne DS. Invited review: Perspectives on the basis of the rheology and texture properties of cheese. Journal of dairy science. 2003 Sep 1;86(9):2725-43.
Farquhar WB, Edwards DG, Jurkovitz CT, Weintraub WS. Dietary sodium and health: more than just blood pressure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2015 Mar 17;65(10):1042-50.