That is WAY old.
Aging Time and Rate[/size]
Mozzarella is usually shipped within seven days after producÃ‚Âtion and, so, receives little or no curing in the cheese plant. Instead, aging occurs in the distribution channel and pizzeria. Aging time is often listed as 1 to 4 weeks, meanÃ‚Âing that the cheese should not be used before 7 days or after 28 days from date of manufacture. HowÃ‚Âever some experts suggest that the optimum usage window is 14 to 28 days, with lower moisture mozzarella (45 to 47 percent moisture) lasting a little longer. This, of course, assumes that the cheese has been maintainÃ‚Âed at 36 to 40 degrees F. Typically the distributor receives mozzarella thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 6 to 13 days old. So most pizzeÃ‚Ârias receive it at 13 to 20 days.
The rate of aging varies with the type of mozzarella. The higher the fat and moisture content, the faster it ages. So whole milk mozzarella ages the quickest and low-moisÃ‚Âture, part-skim the slowest. This means that the window of usage for whole milk mozzarella is shorter than for part-skim, as whole milk mozzarella ripens (and over-ripens) sooner. Mozzarella with more than 50 percent moisture is considered over-aged after 30 days. A 45 to 47 percent moisture mozzarella is still good-tasting after 30 days, but becomes slightly more difficult to process. One advanÃ‚Âtage of whole milk mozzarella is that it develops stronger flavor during aging, thus producing a slightly more flavorful pizza.
Salt also affects the rate of aging. The higher the salt content, the slower the rate of aging.
[size=5]Impact on Flavor, Texture, and Baking Performance[/size]
The degree of aging of a cheese can be judged by its flavor and texture. Under-age mozzarella is white and bland-tasting and has a hard, rubbery consisÃ‚Âtency. It procesÃ‚Âses easily but bakes up poorly, meanÃ‚Âing it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t melt well and browns with a dry appearance. In addiÃ‚Âtion it congeals very quickly after baking. As mozzarella ages, the color becomes slightly more yellowish, the flavor becomes sharper, and the texture becomes softer. In this state it melts, stretches, and browns better when baked. Over-age mozzarella is overly soft and pasty and nearly impossible to slice, shred, or chop. The loaf begins to round out, losing the sharp corners. When baked it may be overly runny, have less stretch, and tend to oil-off more. Although most people agree that oiling-off increases with age of cheese, a test conducted at the UniverÃ‚Âsity of Vermont showed oiling-off to be unchanged with variations in the age of the cheese.
To achieve an easy-to-process, good baking, nicely flavored cheese, mozzarella must be used at the optiÃ‚Âmum time. This requires two things. First, the cheese should be about 13 to 20 days old when it arrives at the pizzeria. Second, it must be stored at a temperature that will proÃ‚Âduce the desired speed of aging within the pizzeria.