Cheese is undoubtedly an all-time favorite by most foodies. Made from milk and produced into different varieties, cheese has become a true culinary best friend.
Let’s talk about the two most common types of cheese that we have in our kitchens: Provolone and Mozzarella cheese. I know they belong from the same food group, however, these cheeses are not the same and completely different.
The difference between the two is Provolone Cheese is a semi-hard Italian cheese that has a distinctive piquant taste while Mozzarella Cheese is a semi-soft Southern Italian cheese with a neutral and stretchy texture.
How Are They Made?
We’re all familiar with how cheese is made. It’s basically extracted from animal’s milk, commonly from cow’s or goat’s. Although it all came from milk, did you know that these two types of cheese Provolone and Mozzarella are processed differently? Let’s take a look.
A little bit of history telling, Provolone Cheese originated in Casilli near Vesuvius. The name provolone means “large provola”, was invented way back the 19th century. This cheese is now commonly produced in Northern Italy. The Cheese is processed by:
- Extracting fresh cow’s milk.
- The milk is heated until the curds of milk start forming.
- The curds are then broken up and drained and cooked for another 5-8 hours.
- Large blocks of curd are sliced depending on the desired size.
- Then it’s pulled and stretched manually by hand until a stringy and rubbery texture is achieved.
- The stretchy molded blocks of provolone are then soaked in a lightly salted brine.
Provolone is aged for three to four months until its texture turns into a semi-firm, pliable cheese that has a creamy, smooth, and nutty flavor. Aging the cheese for a long time may also result in a drier and firmer texture.
Also Check: 8 Best Provolone Substitutes
This type of cheese falls under the process category, “Pasta Filata” or “Stretched Curd”.
Mozzarella Cheese was derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania from the word “Mozza” which means “cut”. The cheese has been long produced since the early 12th century by the Monastery of Saint Lorenzo. The cheese at the present time is widely produced by the European Union according to its original traditional recipe.
The process involves:
- Extracting fresh buffalo’s milk (other variants also use cows, sheep and goat’s milk)
- A thermophilic bacteria is formed from a whey starter.
- Rennet is then added to make the milk coagulate.
- After coagulation, the curd is cut and goes through a process called “healing”.
- After healing, the curds are stirred, heated, and then separated from the whey by draining.
- The cheese is also hand-stretched and kneaded to achieve a smooth and shiny consistency.
- Then formed into cylinder-like shapes with a rubbery and semi-soft texture.
Just like Provolone, Mozzarella Cheese also falls under the same process category, pasta filata.
But unlike Provolone, Mozzarella cheese has a higher moisture content since it did not go through any aging process. Fresh mozzarellas are mostly consumed on the same day or kept in a brine mixture for up to a week.
Which Cheese Have the Most Nutritional Value?
It’s understandable that certain food groups compete with nutritional health benefits other than taste and experience. Cheese is no exception. Let’s discuss how these two types of cheese differ in nutritional content.
In every 100 grams of Provolone Cheese has 352 calories. It has a total fat percentage of 27 g, Cholesterol 69 mg, Sodium 876 mg, Potassium 138 mg, Carbs 2.1g, Protein 26 g, Calcium 75%, Cobalamin 25% and Vitamin A of 17%.
While 100 grams of Mozzarella Cheese has 280 calories. It has a total fat percentage of 17 g, Cholesterol 54 mg, Sodium 16 mg, Potassium 95 mg, Carbs 3.1 g, Protein 28 g, Calcium 73%, Cobalamin 14%, and Vitamin A of 10%.
If you take a look at the data presented above, provolone is more calorie-dense than mozzarella. If you’re trying to cut down on calories and maintain a healthier diet, mozzarella is a great choice. Mozzarella has also lower fat content, cholesterol, and sodium. On top of that, it also has more protein content perfect for muscle growth.
Provolone is obviously not the best healthy alternative due to its high sodium and fat content. Still, it provides higher calcium, cobalamin, and Vitamin A. If consumed in moderate amounts, I don’t think it’s a huge health concern.
Can You Substitute Provolone Cheese to Mozzarella Cheese?
Yes. You can surely replace both from one another, depending on what the recipe you’re making requires to do so.
Since both fall under Pasta Filata, they still have the same stretchy and rubbery feel to it. But it’s still important to note that Provolone is harder than Mozzarella.
So if you’re trying to replace Mozzarella Cheese from Provolone Cheese when making pizza, expect that your pizza slice will have a more gooey and stringy consistency.
For the taste, you may need to add more salty toppings or meats on your pizza when using Mozzarella since it has a milder taste. For Provolone, it’s more on a savory side, so adding less salty toppings in your pizza is not necessary.
For other dishes, it works the same. You may apply the same technique from making pizza as how you would use both kinds of cheese in other dishes.
Can You Mix Both Cheese in One Dish?
Yes, of course! You can even mix 4 different types of cheese in one go. Remember our favorite 4 cheese pizza? If you’re an ultimate cheese lover, you can mix both of them when making pizzas, mac, and cheese or even cheese soups.
I will share a perfect recipe later on at the end of this article. So please, stay with me until the end.
Other Cheese Alternatives
Provolone and Mozzarella Cheese are not the only types of cheese that you can use for your dishes. Here are other variants of cheese that you may use to substitute neither of the two.
- Cheddar Cheese – Also a common variant is usually known for its affordability and sharp taste. It’s perfect for making pizzas and savory pies. It’s not as elastic as provolone or mozzarella, however, it adds more vibrant color and taste to any dish.
- Goat Cheese – This is a savory soft type of cheese that helps neutralize any spicy dishes. Goat’s cheese doesn’t melt easily compared to provolone and mozzarella but it softens up nicely when cooked in the oven. Try this out when making pizzas as a topping to achieve that savory pizza slice.
- Gruyere Cheese – This semi-soft cheese has also a nice savory flavor which can be used in many dishes. Gruyere cheese doesn’t blister easily that’s why it’s also used for pizzas and other baked dishes. Due to its nutty, sweet, and savory flavor, it goes well with potatoes, processed meats, and peppers.
- Gouda Cheese – Younger gouda cheese is perfect for melting. It’s a perfect alternative as well because of its milder flavor and chewy texture. Other than pizza and pasta dishes, it goes well with sandwiches, biscuits, and charcuterie.
MY VERDICT – Provolone or Mozzarella?
I personally go for Mozzarella cheese over Provolone cheese. First of all, mozzarella has better nutritional content. I like adding this dish in my healthy diet since it’s calorie-dense and has lower sodium content. On top of that, it provides a generous amount of calcium and vitamins.
Whenever I make homemade pizzas, I always opt for mozzarella cheese due to it’s more stringy consistency. I like my pizza stretchy and chewy, stretchy pizzas really look appetizing. It’s also easy to play with flavors when using mozzarella since it’s not that salty. I can add olives or Spanish sardines to make it more savory.
I also like the fact that Mozzarella cheese doesn’t have that undesirable cheese compared to Provolone. Since provolone went to an aging process, it has that fermented smell that most aged cheese has. Mozzarella doesn’t have that aged smell which I really like.
Although I prefer Mozzarella, I still recommend using Provolone. Provolone cheese is really flavorful and I actually use it specifically when making sandwiches. It’s a perfect combo for deli meats and fresh veggies.
Whatever your preference is, Cheese is still arguably one OF THE BEST FOODS ever!
“MozzaLone (Mozzarella and Provolone) Vegetarian Pizza”
- 1 round of frozen pizza dough
- 2 tbsp pizza sauce or tomato sauce
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup provolone cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup mushrooms
- ½ cup thinly sliced onions
- ½ cup thinly sliced green olives
- Preheat the oven for 250 degrees celsius.
- Prepare your pizza dough by brushing it with olive oil.
- Spread the pizza sauce or tomato sauce into the dough. Do not put too much sauce to avoid your dough from breaking.
- Mix mozzarella and provolone cheese. Sprinkle ½ of the mixture on the pizza dough.
- Evenly sprinkle mushrooms, onions, and olives.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Garnish with basil or oregano.