Science Figured Out the Best Pizza Cheese Combos

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A pizza fresh from the oven is a thing of beauty. That golden exterior… the promise of meltiness… the little patches of perfectly browned cheese… the crisp, yet chewy crust… This is why pizza is one of the world’s greatest gustatory experiences. Like all such things, the way to reach pizza perfection is through science — and thanks to a team of researchers from New Zealand’s University of Auckland, we now have the key to creating the most glorious pizzas of all time: The best pizza cheese combinations ever.

According to The Telegraph, lead researcher Bryony James, PhD, and her team put seven different cheeses to the test: mozzarella, cheddar, Colby, Edam, Emmental, Gruyere, and provolone. How each one turned out depended on factors like the elasticity of the cheese, the amount of oil it produced, oven temperature, and how much moisture the pizza base had. They found that cheese with “small elasticity” — cheddar, Colby, and Edam — don’t tend to blister when baking; meanwhile, the amount of oil in Gruyere, Emmental, and provolone caused less browning. Mozzarella, on the other hand — which traditionally makes up the bulk of most pizzas’ cheese — blisters quite easily.

As an aside, I would like to take this moment to note that there is a Tumblr devoted entirely to GIFs of pizza. I probably shouldn't be surprised by this fact, as there is currently a Tumblr devoted to everything... but still.

So: How do you arrive at the perfect cheese combination? By mixing mozzarella with one of the other cheeses. Doing this actually allows you to personalize your pizza to an enormous degree, which I think we can all agree is a glorious thing. Don’t like browned cheese? Mix your mozzarella with some Gruyere. Love it? Use more mozzarella. Not a fan of the blisters? I think you’re nuts, because to me, that’s the best part — but to each his or her own. Try throwing some cheddar into the mix. Voila! The best pizza cheese combination ever, according to the most important critic of all — you!

For the curious, James explained the whole experiment and what they found in a video for IFTLive. Take a peek here:

Oh, and just in case having the perfect cheese combination isn’t enough for you, there’s also a way to get your pie perfectly proportioned, too. Mathematician Dr. Eugenia Cheng calculated a formula designed to “ensure maximum flavor of topping to base.” According to Dr. Cheng (by way of Fast Company), an 11-inch pizza contains 10 percent more toppings per bite than a 14-inch one — but due to the fact that the size of the crust is “proportional to the thickness of the pizza,” the larger pie probably won’t be as soggy as the smaller one. Who knew?

Aaaaaaand now I have a huge pizza craving. Luckily I have a few slices in the fridge left over from the weekend. If, however, you don’t happen to have any on hand and you don't particularly feel like dealing with a delivery person right now, fear not — pizza’s not actually that hard to make. Now go forth and pizza!

Images: Pizza GIFS/Tumblr