What’s The Difference: Mozzarella Vs. Kesong Puti

Mozzarella is made differently from kesong puti.

IMAGE Shutterstock, Miguel Nacianceno
ILLUSTRATOR Louis Miguel Talao

Fresh cheese sounds like a luxury for those of us who live in the city. It sounds artisanal, a small-batch project that costs a bundle compared to the cost-effective, mass-marketed, and packaged cheese you can easily get from any supermarket. 

Fortunately, we have a local cheese that is delicious. Kesong puti is a local cheese traditionally made with fresh carabao milk that you can actually make at home with easy ingredients. You might be wondering how this might be different from the mozzarella that is also a kind of white cheese. However, it has more in common with fresh mozzarella than the mozzarella that many of us are familiar with. 

Here are the differences between these two kinds of cheese: 

Mozzarella is now more commonly found in supermarkets.
Photo by Shutterstock
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1 Mozzarella is a low-moisture cheese. Kesong puti is packed in water. 

Unless you are using buffalo mozzarella, also known as fresh mozzarella, mozzarella at the supermarket is known as a low-moisture cheese. All this means is that most of the water has been drained out or has been squeezed out. This is done to store the cheese for longer than if it were fresh. 

This is why kesong puti is still packed in water. Since kesong puti is known as fresh cheese, it's still packed in water since the cheese is not meant to be stored for a long time. 

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2 Mozzarella is bland. Kesong puti is salty. 

Unlike fresh mozzarella, the mozzarella we commonly use for homemade pizza and lasagna is a dense cheese. It's mild in taste but it's nothing compared to the milky fresh mozzarella. Kesong puti is more like fresh mozzarella. It's salty with a tang from the curdling process, usually vinegar or calamansi juice. 

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Kesong puti is a local fresh cheese that looks like fresh mozzarella would.
Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

3 Mozzarella is stretchy when melted. Kesong puti stays creamy. 

The most popular characteristic of mozzarella that makes it a favorite is its ability to deliver the stretchy pull. This is because mozzarella is heated and its curds are stretched and pulled to create strings that give it the stretchy quality.

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This is not a trait shared by kesong putiKesong puti is made simpler and easier. When curdled, the cheese is gathered together to create the cheese. When melted, kesong puti stays creamy with a slight stretch that many cheese has. This cheese pull is just more exaggerated in mozzarella than in other cheese. 

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