Recent discussions have been among the Vegetarian and Vegan communities to define “Is Fior di Latte Vegan?”
According to most vegetarians, Fior di Latte is vegetarian food. And though numerous recipes are available for vegans, the technicality of its ingredients is questionable and becomes muddied.
We have more answers that will help define this rather cheesy topic that will settle the debate once and for all.
Let’s get started.
Is Fior di Latte Vegan?
No, Fior di Latte is not vegan. “Fior di Latte” translates to “flower of milk” in English, which indicates its primary ingredient. It is a type of fresh mozzarella cheese made from cow’s milk. Vegan diets exclude all animal products, including dairy, so any cheese made from cow’s milk would not suit someone following a vegan diet. There are vegan alternatives to mozzarella cheese made from plant-based ingredients, but they wouldn’t be called Fior di Latte.
This type of cheese is a member of the Mozzarella family and, as a result of the cheese-making process, also uses animal rennet.
Rennet typically comes from the stomach lining of a newborn calf which is a double whammy for both vegetarians and vegans.
Many vegans have ethical issues when manufacturers exploit animals in any way.
Yet, this is where some cheese producers use synthetic rennet derived from bacteria or fungus to produce vegetarian rennet. Aside from this, authentic fior di latte is not vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
That does not mean there are specialty products and online recipes specially tailored for vegans and vegetarians.
Good news! For those looking to get that mozzarella cheesiness on their gluten-free pizzas.
What Type of Cheese is Fior di Latte?
Fior di Latte is a type of fresh mozzarella cheese. It originates from Italy, and it is made from cow’s milk (as opposed to Mozzarella di Bufala, which is made from the milk of water buffaloes).
The phrase “Fior di Latte” translates to “flower of milk”, which signifies its fresh and delicate flavor. This cheese is known for its soft, elastic texture and mild and milky taste. It’s commonly used in dishes such as pizza, Caprese salad, and various pasta dishes.
The clear the air further, authentic Mozzarella is made using milk from water buffalo and is tangier than fior di latte cheese.
This milk source gives the name Buffalo Mozzarella, primarily an Italian innovation.
Fior di latte origin dates to the 12th century in Campania, Italy, near the southern tip of Italy.
This cheese is semi-soft and remains this way until it becomes melted and is a preferred choice on pizza over standard mozzarella.
This cheese is also preferred for pizza making because the melting ability is superb in high-temperature ovens. It will not burn like other cheeses and has all the best qualities of mozzarella cheese.
There is also a version of Fior di Latte that uses only cow’s milk and, in many regards, is not the same as buffalo mozzarella. It will have additives to give it a similar taste and structure that only buffalo mozzarella can offer.
Interestingly, the Italians are so strict in the production of buffalo mozzarella, and it’s prohibited to use anything other than water buffalo milk.
As recently as 2014, the Cantile di Sparanise Diary in Caserta was shut down, and 13 employees were arrested for making and distributing counterfeit buffalo mozzarella!
They have laws that specify product processing (DOP) which protects the origins and denomination of local and certified ingredients.
How to Best Use Fior di Latte on Pizza
Fior di Latte is a wonderful cheese for pizza because of its fresh and mild flavor and its ability to melt beautifully. Here’s how to use it effectively:
Slice or Tear
Fior di Latte can be sliced or hand-torn into small pieces. The size of the pieces depends on your preference, but typically you’d want them small enough to distribute evenly over the pizza but not so small that they completely melt away.
Distribute the cheese evenly over the pizza sauce. Be careful not to overload the pizza with cheese. While adding a lot of cheese might be tempting, too much can make the pizza soggy.
Bake your pizza in a very hot oven or a pizza oven if you have one. The high heat will cause the Fior di Latte to melt and bubble without losing its shape entirely.
Allow your pizza to cool slightly before cutting and serving. This will allow the cheese to set a bit and improve the pizza’s overall texture.
Remember, the quality of the ingredients can make a big difference in the final product. Using fresh, high-quality Fior di Latte can elevate your homemade pizza to the next level.
Typically, mozzarella used in pizzas in the US has lost much of how cheese is supposed to be placed onto an authentic pizza recipe.
It’s more common to see shredded mozzarella rather than rounded slices.
Most commercial pizzerias use shredded mozzarella to cover the surface completely. As we can see from history, the proper method follows a set guideline that applies to fior di latte and buffalo mozzarella.
When making a pizza with a fior di latte, the cheese is specifically and purposely sliced into thin strips and placed onto the pizza—this is the very last step before putting it into the oven for cooking.
Rounded slices were reserved only for buffalo mozzarella and signaled to a restaurant patron their highly-prized buffalo mozzarella pizza due to the apparent difference in price between these two mozzarella products.
Another fascinating fact about pizza with fior di latte is that pizza with mozzarella was not eaten by those considered a standard class.
Their pizza would contain pizza dough, lard or oil, tomatoes, pecorino cheese, and basil. Pecorino cheese is a hard dry cheese made from goat milk and often resembles wax shavings when melted onto a pizza.
Any mozzarella on pizza was a meal fit for a king and those who were wealthy at one time.
Of course, no rule applies (these days) to the best way to put fior di latte on your pizza.
If slices look more attractive than small strips or grated, it simply matters for presentation purposes.
Artisan pizza makers prefer to make large thin slices laid onto the top of a pizza, giving it a distinct look.
Many of them probably never even knew the reason why slices were added this way.
The apparent preparation to get the best results from using fior di latte is to soak up as much of the liquid in the package that it’s shipped in. Most people use paper towels to wrap around the mozzarella.
This process helps reduce the moisture quickly coming out of the cheese and onto your pizza dough.
Preventing your dough from properly cooking makes it nearly impossible to have a crispy crust.
Nobody likes a soggy pizza, right?
We recommend drying the mozzarella slices with sheets of paper towel layer over them. This process ensures that both sides of the fior de latte are free from excess moisture before adding them to the pizza top.
How to Find if Fior di Latte is Vegan
At one time, being a vegetarian was part of a choice in dietary needs. It morphed into a political focus that sits more on animal rights than the evolutionary proof of human civilization.
Nowadays, the Vegan movement is practically defined by which pronouns accompany that title.
Whether or not fior di latte is vegan will depend on which brand of fior di latte is available.
So many products cater to vegetarians and vegans, but the differences between these groups rely primarily on ingredients.
Accordingly, to find if a particular fior di latte is vegan:
- Check the brand
- Check the ingredients
In general, anything that is milk-based is off-limits for vegans.
However, the anger toward the fior di latte comes from using a baby calf’s stomach lining called rennet.
For this reason, this forced some cheese producers to switch to using synthetic rennet after a massive wave of outcry came from social media.
Many plant-friendly Fior di Latte recipes online claim they are 100% vegan, but we decided to test this for ourselves.
The recipe in question is one of the top searches for vegan fior di latte and lists some widespread vegan-friendly products.
Here are the principal ingredients that are listed:
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a natural ingredient that is entirely plant-based.
· Almond milk/cashew milk
Almonds and cashews are grown in fields with plenty of water irrigation, but these farmers use bees to help pollinate the trees to get the almonds to grow better.
Accordingly, an ethical question arises when humans have to use bees to make almonds and cashews grow faster.
- Tapioca powder
This is often called tapioca flour and is used for gluten-free baking. If you happen to consider that the tapioca root is being grown using GMOs, this is a question that most vegans cannot answer.
Most tapioca is grown in South America, India, and countries that don’t regulate using GMOs to grow their plants.
- Kappa Carrageenan
This vegan-friendly gelatin substitute is used in everything from sauces to gummy bears. But most vegans don’t want to hear that the FDA does not approve carrageenan.
- Sea salt
We think of sea salt as the most natural element on earth that flavors food of all kinds.
In the case of artisan sea salt, it has been well-established that this type of sea salt contains living microorganisms. These microscopic creatures are similar to bacteria and are officially called Proteobacteria.
Although there isn’t any proof these are harmful, they are still awakened living organisms used to make moist germ-growing environments like cheese.
- Lactic acid powder
Thankfully, lactic acid doesn’t contain any dairy, but the biggest problem is how manufacturers produce lactic acid.
There is no way to tell if the sugar source used to create the lactic acid is sourced from cane sugar or beet sugar. In most cases, it can contain either of these two.
However, refined cane sugar uses bone char to help whiten the finished sugar, which can then be used by secondary companies when making lactic acid.
Where to Buy Fior de Latte
Fior Di Latte is an Italian-style cow's milk cheese made to order and delivered fresh as can be. With a name meaning "milk's flower," each ball-shaped cheese has an elastic texture and fresh, tangy taste thanks to the use of fresh cow's milk (as opposed to the buffalo's milk used in Mozzarella di Bufala). While fresh Mozzarella cheese can be enjoyed by itself, it works wonders spread over pizza or accompanied by salad.
The Last Slice
We hope this article has better understood fior di latte and its use on pizza.
If you happen to be following a vegan diet, we hope to help inform you with this honest and insightful information.
Ultimately, this info will also encourage you to become a better pizza maker with an understanding of pizza history and background info most people never mention.
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