According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, at 2.55 billion pounds per year, Italy is the fourth-largest producer of cheese in the world. Despite coming in fourth, however, they are hands down one of the best cheese producers. Common among their many variants is Scamorza.
Scamorza is produced in South Italy regions (majorly Apulia, Campania, and Molise) from pasteurized cow milk (sometimes mixed with sheep milk). Like we will soon show you, this cheese is your go-to if you need exclusive milky and creamy goodness in your meals.
What is the best substitute for scamorza cheese? The best substitute for scamorza is mozzarella. In fact, many chefs like to compare mozzarella and scamorza as step-cousins. It’s because they’re produced the same way, differing only by slight end-stage processes.
An Overview of Scamorza Cheese
Also referred to as scamorze cheese, scamorzo, scamorza is an Italian semi-soft, chewy, stringy, and firm cheese. It is sweet yet slightly salty (it is dipped in brine before being spread to ripen).
Amongst many features, scamorza’s physical outline is the most unique. And here’s why:
At the end of the cheese production process, the makers mold the cheese into a round shape, string a loop around it, then hang to dry. This process is commonly known as strangling, and it takes about two weeks to ripen.
This simple end process confers scamorza with an easily recognizable, funny look – a tiny ‘head’ sitting on a much larger ‘body.’ In fact, the literal English interpretation of scamorza is “beheaded.”
Unlike mozzarella that exists in about five different forms, scamorza is not so multifaceted. However, it has one major physical variant: once formed, scamorza is white, fresh, and milky (called scamorza bianca). It can be sold this way or further tossed on a flaming straw for about 10-15 minutes. This is its smoky variant with a peculiar smoky flavor and mild caramel presence. This smoky variant is called Scamorza Affumicate.
Though scamorza can be eaten as a standalone meal, there’s much more to it. Due to its exceptional melting qualities, this cheese is most famous for making the tastiest pastries (pizza inclusive) and for griddling. The Affumicate incredibly accentuates Orvieto, Chardonnay, or Girgio too.
Scamorza can be found in any random food store you walk into, most especially Italian stores. Unlike other kinds of cheese packaged in water, scamorza is mostly vacuum sealed and can last for 30 days.
Why Replace Scamorza Cheese?
Variety is the spice of life, and it really just feels good knowing you have and can experiment with other options.
On more serious grounds, however, here are the most common reasons for replacing scamorza cheese with substitutes in meals:
- Too strong?
Scamorza has a really strong note. It is almost impossible not to distinctively notice its presence in any meal… even when it’s added in the smallest amount. Some people would rather go for a more tamable alternative like mozzarella or Cheddar.
- Personal preference
As tasty as scamorza is, some people simply don’t like it. This is reason enough to have a readily available alternative.
In circumstances where scamorza is either not available or out of stock, you could use the substitute.
Top Recommended Substitute for Scamorza: Mozzarella
If you eat pizza, you probably already love mozzarella and don’t even know it.
Like we said earlier, nothing comes close to scamorza in taste, smell, and even texture, like mozzarella. As a matter of fact, scamorza is only mozzarella with some extra finishing touches.
These extra finishing touches give these two foods some very distinctive differences.
For example, unlike scamorza, which has a very strong and noticeable essence, mozzarella is mild. Therefore, it is perfect for people who would rather not have the cheese flavor dominate their meals.
Fresh mozzarella contains more moisture than scamorza, and tends to somewhat gradually liquefy baked foods like pizza. This could pose a major problem for this substitute; however, mozzarella has high moisture content and tends to somewhat liquefy baked foods like pizza. It is, nonetheless, the best substitute for scamorza.
Additional Substitutes for Scamorza
Unlike mozzarella and scamorza, marzolino is sheep milk cheese generally made in Tuscany. Like scamorza, it has premium melting qualities, and hence blends well with baked foods, omelets, sun-dried tomatoes, salads, and vegetables. It is semi-soft with a rubbery texture, slightly grassy, and has an ecstatic buttery flavor.
Unlike most cheese you’ll see, Tallegio has an orange color. This is because, like scamorza, it’s dipped in brine before hanging to dry. Like you’ll imagine, however, it is saltier. Tallegio is also semi-soft and melts as a hot knife through butter when used for pastries and traditional delicacies like risotto.
Finally, a non-Italian alternative!
If you think this appears as the most unlikely substitute for scamorza, you’re in for the shock of a lifetime.
Disregard that UK’s most popular cheese’ hard/firm texture sharply contrasts with scamorza’s semi-soft consistency… Cheddar makes a perfect, readily available substitute.
Despite its firmness, it readily melts in ovens and even in the mouth. It’s why it’s a common substitute for mozzarella in pastries, bread, eggs… You name it.
And if it works for mozzarella, of course, it works for scamorza!
And here’s the shock we promised you – the only essential difference between mozzarella and Cheddar is this: While mozzarella (and scamorza) is made from cow milk, Cheddar is made from buffalo milk.
While there are many more options to use for scamorza, these are the most efficient we’ve discovered. Now you know what to use when you’re either tired of scamorza or out of it.