Science declares: Here's the perfect cheese for the perfect pizza

Should you use cheddar? Just ask the boffins at the University of Auckland.

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This is Pizza Hut. Is the cheese perfect? Big J Reviews/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There are many research projects designed to make the world a better place.

None, though, can surely have such a direct impact on the progress of late nights in Silicon Valley than a project just concluded at New Zealand's University of Auckland.

These scientists were concerned with one thing and one thing only: the perfect cheese combination for the perfect pizza.

This might sound trivial to you. But thousands of large brains depend on pizza infusion after midnight to bring the latest caring, sharing app to your phone.

So reading "Quantification Of Pizza Baking Properties Of Different Cheeses, And Their Correlation With Cheese Functionality" is akin to witnessing the Holy Grail of humanity's fight for survival.

The aim of this work was "to quantify the pizza baking properties and performance of different cheeses, including the browning and blistering, and to investigate the correlation to cheese properties (rheology, free oil, transition temperature, and water activity)."

I confess that when I think "perfect pizza," I don't think "University of Auckland." Or even "New Zealand." So without tasting their conclusions in action, it's hard to know whether they're just sublime bunkumists.

Moreover, given that these scientists used machine vision as their method of analysis (something that had apparently never before been applied to cheese), the inner workings of my palate already prepare a rebellion.

The scientists agreed that pizza cheese should be dominated by mozzarella.

However, in a video describing the research, associate dean of chemicals and materials engineering Bryony James explained that they experimented with different cheese to "push the materials properties and the composition properties away from what's typical."

And a million Italian grandmothers began to weep.

The researchers were especially enthused by the browning and blistering of the cheese. It's our fault. We care so much about how a pizza looks, as well as how it tastes.

James insisted that she could have asked people what they loved in pizza. But that would make things far less "quantifiable." And if you can't quantify it these days, it doesn't really exist, does it?

The glory, as far as she sees it, is that with machine vision, which controls the light and provides gorgeous imagery, it is possible to quantify color and color uniformity.

"Elasticity, oil content, moisture, water activity and 'transition temperature'" were all looked at as vital ingredients.

Ultimately, the researchers examined cheddar, colby, emmental, edam, gruyere and provolone. None of the pizzas were adorned with sauce, which surely affects the overall visual joy.

Still, as Quartz reports, the results concluded that, yes, mozzarella has lots of elasticity and not much free oil. So it's great for browning. It's also quite moist, which is marvelous for perfect blistering.

On the other hand, edam, cheddar and colby and tight little things, so bring their own consequences.

At heart, in making the perfect pizza, you should consider this: "Different cheeses can be employed on 'gourmet' pizzas in combination with Mozzarella. Gruyere and Provolone can be added to obtain less burnt appearance by producing more free oil, and the color would be more uniform by adding cheeses with low elasticity, such as Colby."

The research was conducted in concert with Fonterra, which says it works "to unlock every drop of goodness from the 22 billion liters of milk we collect each year and sharing it with the world."

And a million Italian grandmothers sniffed: "I'll make it my way, thanks."

 

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