Mozzarella sticks are delicious snacks with a crispy bread coating and oozing cheesy filling. They’re more expensive than other deep-fried foods like French fries and onion rings. So, why are mozzarella sticks so expensive?
It’s because mozzarella cheese is costly. Traditional mozzarella cheese is made from water buffaloes’ milk which is more expensive than cow’s milk. The price of this cheese accounts for the manufacturing, storage, and transportation expenses too. All these factors make mozzarella sticks expensive.
Let’s try to understand this better.
The Origin Of Mozzarella Sticks
Mozzarella sticks use Italian cheese as the main ingredient. However, it’s not traditional Italian food.
This snack started appearing in American restaurants in the early 1970s when deep-fried food was gaining popularity.
At the time, chefs and restaurant owners were increasingly experimenting with various types of ingredients to create different deep-fried snacks for the public.
With mozzarella cheese being readily available, it didn’t take too long for someone to come up with the idea of deep-fried mozzarella sticks.
The snack became an instant hit, and it became a mainstay in many establishments, not just American or Italian food joints.
Factors Affecting The Price Of Mozzarella Sticks
There are two main ingredients in mozzarella sticks—mozzarella cheese and bread crumbs.
Traditional recipes use seasoned Italian bread crumbs, while modern versions use other types of bread crumbs or even batter for the coating.
Although the ingredient used for the coating may vary, the filling is always mozzarella cheese.
Mozzarella cheese gives this snack its delicious texture and taste. Using any other cheese wouldn’t deliver the same taste or texture.
The cost of mozzarella sticks depends on how expensive mozzarella cheese is. Let’s look at the different factors affecting the price of this cheese.
1. Cost Of Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is one of the most popular and widely consumed cheeses.
It’s used in a variety of recipes like pizzas and omelets. Just looking at the amount of pizza consumed each day will help you realize the immense demand for mozzarella cheese.
Cheese manufacturers try to meet this demand by increasing their production of cheese. However, it’s not easy.
Firstly, authentic mozzarella cheese is made from the milk of water buffaloes. It’s more expensive than cow’s and goat’s milk used to make other types of commonly available cheeses.
Farmers have a fixed price for this milk which isn’t subject to negotiation. This directly affects the cost of mozzarella cheese.
2. Shorter Shelf-Life Of Mozzarella Cheese
Another important factor to consider is that mozzarella cheese has a significantly short shelf-life than other types of cheese.
Mozzarella cheese is one of the easiest cheeses to make. It’s prepared by heating milk and adding a starter bacteria culture and rennet to the milk.
This makes the milk solids clump together and separate from the liquid whey.
The solids are then squeezed to remove excess moisture and yield mozzarella cheese.
Now, mozzarella cheese doesn’t undergo aging like other cheeses. The aging of cheese increases its shelf life by controlling the growth of germs that cause food spoilage.
Since mozzarella cheese isn’t aged, it’s very delicate. Being a soft cheese, it doesn’t keep as well as other cheeses. Its higher moisture content makes it more prone to spoilage.
Mozzarella cheese holds up for longer when refrigerated. However, it will not last as long as hard cheeses like cheddar.
Long refrigeration will also affect the texture of this cheese and make it unsuitable for different recipes.
The delicate nature of this cheese, combined with the increased demand for it, makes mozzarella cheese very expensive.
3. Labor And Manufacturing Charges
Since mozzarella cheese doesn’t keep for long, it’s not possible to produce it in bulk and store it for a long time.
Cheese factories must continuously produce this cheese to meet the ongoing demand. This leads to increased charges for labor and production.
Additional care is also required for storage and shipping to keep it intact until it reaches the market.
All these factors contribute to an increased cost, making mozzarella cheese very expensive.
4. Processing Charges
When mozzarella cheese comes out, it’s soft and pliable. It can’t be made into mozzarella sticks when it’s in this form.
The cheese has to be shaped and molded into cheese sticks that are to be used as the filling for the mozzarella sticks.
To transform it into cheese sticks or string cheese, it’s dumped into cold brine tanks and left to solidify.
Once it loses all the excess moisture, the cheese is processed into long, pipe-shaped cylinders. Restaurants use these cheese sticks to prepare mozzarella sticks.
When you buy cheese sticks, you may have noticed that they cost more than regular mozzarella cheese.
This is because of the additional stage where the mozzarella cheese lumps are transformed into cheese strings. This cost also factors into the pricing of mozzarella sticks.
Is It Possible To Get Mozzarella Sticks On A Budget?
Mozzarella cheese is a delicious cheese that tastes better when cooked or baked, like in mozzarella sticks and pizzas.
However, it’s an expensive cheese. If you look at restaurant menus, mozzarella sticks are one of their higher-priced items.
It’s usually more expensive than other fried snacks, and the portion size that is served will usually be tiny. Due to the higher price point, you may not be able to enjoy it as you desire.
It’s often cheaper to make mozzarella sticks at home than to buy them from a restaurant. You can either make the sticks from scratch or use frozen mozzarella sticks that you can fry at home.
You need only a few ingredients to make homemade mozzarella sticks. These include string cheese, bread crumbs, egg wash or flour-based slurry, and oil.
To make mozzarella sticks from scratch, you can either use string cheese or cut mozzarella balls into bite-size pieces.
It’s easier to work with string cheese as these don’t have much liquid. So you can cut them easily.
However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, use low-moisture mozzarella cheese, which can be cut into blocks. Although it will not be as firm as string cheese, it will taste just fine.
The process of making mozzarella sticks involves cutting the cheese into bite-size pieces, dipping it in a binding agent, coating it with bread crumbs, and deep-frying or baking.
Serve with some marinara sauce on the side, and you have a delicious snack.
If you’re looking to cut down on the cost as much as possible, you can use cheaper mozzarella cheese that is made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk.
These versions of mozzarella cheese are much cheaper than those made from the milk of water buffaloes. However, the texture, taste, and color will not be the same.
You may occasionally also find mozzarella cheese from new brands at cheap introductory prices in the market.
Make use of such attractive deals to indulge in some delicious mozzarella sticks when the opportunity presents itself.