Although it may sound like an old wive’s tale, most Italians swear by keeping fresh mozzarella at room temperature unless it is highly processed or if you plan on cooking with it. But is there any truth to this storage method? We’re here to help solve the great refrigeration debate once and for all.
According to La Cucina Italiana, it’s wise to keep mozzarella at room temperature so that it can maintain its tender and milky consistency and even enhance its characteristically acidic taste. Food scientist Dave Arnold (via Taste) explains that when fresh mozzarella is stored in the fridge, it risks becoming rubbery as the cold causes the curd to absorb more water, leading the texture to tighten and become unpleasantly firm.
For the best mozzarella eating experience, temperature and timing are essential. Since artisanal mozzarella is made without preservatives, La Cucina Italiana recommends eating it as soon as possible — ideally the same day of purchase — and keeping the cheese submerged in its brine slightly below room temperature between 64 F and 68 F until you decide to make a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad.