Mozzarella cheese is one of those things that everybody loves. It is an essential ingredient in many continental dishes in both solid and melted form. We often find melted mozzarella cheese inside already-cooked food but what about melted cheese as an ingredient?
It is common to use mozzarella in its melted form to make dips and sauces. But the question is how to melt it perfectly without any clumps and dried out lumps.
The easiest way to melt mozzarella cheese is to use the microwave. However, that too needs some cautionary steps as any extra heat or microwaving it for longer than necessary will ruin the cheese, make it hard, rubbery, or basically inedible.
Does Mozzarella Cheese melt in a Microwave?
Yes, mozzarella cheese melts inside the microwave just fine.
If you take a block of mozzarella and try to microwave it inside a heatproof bowl, it may take very long to melt to the point where you may think it’s not working. This is because cheese even after softening up due to heat will stay in a lump and not fall apart.
This is why mozzarella cheese must be shredded using a grater or at least cut into smaller pieces using a knife to get that smooth creamy consistency.
Can you melt Mozzarella Cheese in the Microwave?
Yes, you can melt mozzarella cheese inside the microwave.
Microwaving is the fastest and the most efficient method of melting mozzarella cheese and it takes a very short time as compared to melting mozzarella using a gas oven. Moreover, using the microwave also has the added benefit of precise settings and timing that you can provide which will melt the cheese perfectly every time to your desired consistency.
But if you use a gas oven then the heat and timing may not always be controlled and that might end up burning the cheese. Moreover, you need a certain type of utensils to melt cheese using a gas oven otherwise it will be all lumpy and burnt.
Considering all of these, the microwave oven definitely seems like a better alternative as all you need is shredded cheese and a microwavable bowl to do the deed.
Depending on the size and quantity of the cheese, it will take around 30 seconds to 2 minutes to get the consistency you want. The microwaving has to be done in increments of 30 seconds.
Every 30 seconds, you will have to use a silicone spatula to give the cheese a stir. Silicone is preferred because the cheese will not stick to it as it will to steel.
Continue this until the cheese has melted as much as you want it to. You can even add milk to the container to assist the melting process and get a thick sauce-like consistency faster.
How To Melt Mozzarella Cheese in a Microwave?
As already mentioned, while melting cheese inside the microwave is not that difficult, one should follow some cautionary steps while doing it. Follow these simple steps to melt mozzarella cheese in the microwave.
Prep the Cheese
Yes, prepping the cheese is an important step towards getting the perfectly melted cheese. Pre-packaged cheese comes wrapped in plastic so you have to carefully remove that. If you buy mozzarella from a cheese-monger, they usually sell it fresh and thus they wrap it in parchment paper, removing which is even easier. In any case, remove whatever cover comes with the cheese.
Now you have to shred the cheese using a grater. This too is fairly an easy step, however, the only thing to note here is that the cheese often sticks to the grater and is wasted. To avoid wastage, you can coat the grater with butter or oil to make sure the cheese does not cling to the metal surface.
Put the Cheese in a heatproof microwavable bowl
It is no news that a microwavable container is important for whatever you decide to cook/heat inside the microwave. In this case. We are melting cheese and it still involves a lot of heat thus a heatproof bowl is absolutely necessary.
Also, get a clear or transparent bowl. This will help you monitor the melting process and you will be able to tell from the outside when the cheese has melted to the consistency you were going for.
Add some Milk and Cornstarch
Whenever cheese starts to heat up, it may start to get dry or stiff and break. If it becomes crisp then there is no going back from that and this is why you need to make sure that the cheese preserves the creamy texture.
You can do this by dissolving a tablespoon of cornstarch into half a cup of milk and adding the mixture to the mozzarella.
What happens is, the microwave emits radiation which causes the water molecules inside the food to heat up, and when the heat exceeds a certain point the water molecules may evaporate and the food becomes stiff and hard.
Now you cannot possibly add water to melting cheese but you can add milk which is also a dairy product and will not destroy the taste of the cheese.
Melt the Cheese
Turn the microwave to its lowest setting and set the timer for 30 seconds at first. Then take it out and stir the cheese with a silicone spatula and rotate the bowl in your palms so that the cheese inside spreads evenly throughout the container.
Put it back inside the microwave and repeat this process until the cheese inside has melted completely or it has achieved the consistency you wanted.
Do not remove the cheese from the microwavable bowl immediately after you are done microwaving it as the residue in the bowl will continue to melt the cheese.
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How long do you Microwave Mozzarella Cheese to melt it?
On average it takes between a minute to 2 minutes to melt mozzarella cheese in the microwave.
However, there are factors that determine the time such as the amount of cheese you are microwaving and whether or not it is grated and/or broken into smaller pieces.
The age of cheese also affects the time that will take for it to melt. For instance, fresh cheese may take as long as 3 to 5 minutes to melt while aged cheese will melt in 1 to 2 mins.
Also, aged cheese that has been just taken out of the refrigerator will also take longer to melt. So it is best to let it sit outside before melting it inside the microwave
Why Is Mozzarella Cheese Not Melting?
If the mozzarella cheese is not melting then it is probably because it is set with citric acid and the presence of the acid makes it difficult for the heat to break through the bonds in the cheese. This is why freshly set cheese is always the hardest to melt.
Your cheese may also not melt because you have put a block of mozzarella instead of breaking it into smaller pieces or at least grating it.
6 tips on melting Mozzarella Cheese in the Microwave
Below are 6 tips for melting mozzarella cheese in the microwave perfectly without fail every time.
- Always use aged cheese for making melted mozzarella cheese as fresh cheese is usually set using an acidic base. In the case of mozzarella, citric acid is used and this prevents heat from breaking the bond in the cheese making it hard to melt.
- Use a non-stick container for melting the cheese because it may stick to the bottom and sides of the container. Usually heat proof glass bowls are not non-stick and in such a case you have to coat the bowl generously with cooking spray to make sure the cheese does not stick to it when melted.
- Microwave in increments of 30 seconds and give it a stir after every 30 seconds as well as tilt the bowl in a rotation motion so that the melted cheese spreads evenly throughout the bowl.
- Add milk and cornstarch after the cheese has melted halfway to avoid it from getting dry and stiff.
- Maintain a low to medium power while melting the cheese. Too much heat will destroy the mozzarella cheese.
- If you have a kitchen thermometer, use it to check the internal temperature of the cheese at regular intervals. Make sure the temperature does not exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
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The Bottom Line
So, microwaving is definitely the fastest method to melt cheese. Here, the most frequently asked questions about the process have been answered. Follow these carefully to get your own batch of perfectly melted cheese.