Provolone is an all-purpose Italian cheese that is prepared using the stretched-curd method with cow milk.
Traditionally, you’ll find it in the original gourd or pear shapes but smaller packages can also be found.
The thing that makes provolone so good is its complex but excellently balanced taste.
Provolone provides the perfect fusion of a strong aroma, rich with buttery undertones and hints of a nutty, peppery finish.
However, you may run out of provolone. What will you do then?
If you are looking for Provolone cheese substitute, Fontina cheese, and Mozzarella cheese is a good substitute. You can also use Scarmoza cheese if it is available to you.
Read further to find out everything that you need to know about provolone cheese. You can also find here about some essential facts about Provolone cheese and the most common questions while using this cheese.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Provolone Cheese?
- 2 What is Provolone Cheese Used For?
- 3 How Long is Provolone Cheese Good For?
- 4 Can You Freeze Provolone Cheese?
- 5 Substitute for Provolone Cheese
- 6 Related Questions
What is Provolone Cheese?
Provolone is a full-fat Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s a semi-hard, pasta filata cheese, which is usually aged for at least 3 to 4 months.
The taste of the cheese depends on either of the two types of provolone cheese: provolone dolce, which is sweet in taste, and Provolone Picante, which has a sharp taste.
Provolone cheese comes out in varying shapes and sizes.
It may be in the shape of a very large sausage with length from 30 cm up to 90 cm. Otherwise; its shape resembles that of a truncated bottle or a large pear.
What is Provolone Cheese Used For?
Provolone is a very versatile type of cheese but its most common application is that as a table cheese and sandwich cheese.
In these meals, it’s eaten uncooked with the food instead of being a part of the recipe of the meals themselves.
However, cheese connoisseurs believe that provolone enriches the taste of pizzas and pastas more when melted.
Apart from this, provolone can be used with red grapes, tomatoes, paired with olives, red roasted peppers and they can also be grated to sprinkle over pizzas and salads, with or without mozzarella.
You can even use provolone as a snack if the quality is good enough.
How Long is Provolone Cheese Good For?
Provolone cheese can stay good for varying durations depending upon a few factors that affect its freshness. The most important of them is the condition in which you store it.
If you store it in a damp, warm place, it will probably develop a hard texture, a darker color, and a pungent smell.
Most of the provolone brands usually do mention an expiration or best by date on the package, which mostly ranges anywhere between 3 to 4 months but it can usually stay fresh for a longer time in many cases.
Opened blocks usually last less than a month, while unopened ones can stay fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of months.
Can You Freeze Provolone Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze provolone cheese and allow it to stay fresh for a few months.
A block of provolone usually lasts for just a few weeks but if you wrap and store it properly, it can keep fresh at least 2 or 3 weeks more than the mentioned expiration date.
You can keep the original packaging of the cheese on it and then wrap it properly in a kitchen aluminum foil or a plastic wrap.
Wax or a parchment paper is a better wrap for cheese. After this, you can put the cheese in a freezer/zip bag and store it in your freezer.
Substitute for Provolone Cheese
There could be times when you can just run out of your own provolone cheese stock in the refrigerator or it may not be available in the market during rush periods like the Holidays etc.
If you don’t already know, the good news is that there are a few other cheese types that can stand in for provolone quite easily.
If you’re unable to find provolone, specially the stronger flavor, you can even use the regular, sweeter form but that won’t just give you the original taste.
Therefore, it’s better to look for substitutes. There are many substitutes for provolone that can stand in for it just as fine if not better than it with similar textures and flavors.
Here are a few of the best choices:
Fontina cheese originates from northern Italy and like provolone; it is made using cow’s milk too.
Fontina has the same fat content as provolone. It is a table cheese excellent for cooking with its creamy, nutty, and smooth taste.
Its traits in flavor, finishing and uses are quite similar to those of mild provolone. It has a mild taste with a nutty, butter-like finishing, and offers a firm texture.
Like provolone, Fontina is also excellent for melting and has a dense, sharp aroma.
Mozzarella and Provolone are so similar that it can be quite difficult to tell the difference in cooked meals.
Many people widely use both of the cheeses interchangeably in their dishes without altering the overall finishing.
Both of them originate from Italy and are made from cow-milk. Furthermore, the method used to make them is the same and is known as pasta filata, meaning, “stretched curd.”
The flavor of Mozzarella is quite mild and it is served with warmer, cooked dishes, salads.
Mozzarella is one of the most widely consumed dairy products in the world because of its use in pizzas and pastas. Due to this reason, it’s available almost anywhere, at any time of the year.
It’s quite possible that you already have it stored in your fridge somewhere. This means that whenever you run out of provolone, you can grab a packet of mozzarella from practically anywhere.
It is most similar in taste to fresh provolone. That said, the preservation period for both of them are very different because provolone is harder and can stay fresh for a longer period of time than mozzarella.
Scarmoza is another cow-milk cheese and like Mozzarella, it also originates from southern Italy.
Like all other cheeses mentioned above, it is also produced with the stretched-curd technique, therefore most of its traits are similar to them.
It is most similar in taste and finishing to Mozzarella. Its semi-soft, creamy texture is akin to that of Mozzarella while it’s pear-like shape is very similar to Provolone.
It’s the similarity to Mozzarella in flavor and texture means that it can stand as a trusted substitute for Provolone too.
The only drawback is that it’s a little harder to find in the market.
What does provolone cheese taste like?
Italian style Provolone taste like Italian style Mozzarella cheese. But it is a little stronger flavor than Mozzarella.
It has a smooth but little rubbery texture. It has a slight old nutty and buttery taste.
Actually, what we smell is denote the taste. It has a slight milkiness aroma and little flavor like traditional feta cheese.
As it is mild Italian cheese goes well with Italian meats.
Is provolone a good melting cheese?
Yes, Provolone is a good melting cheese. As you know provolone is made using the pulled curd technique. The provolone cheese is softening into ropy chew.
Provolone comes in various flavor intensities. If you are looking for the best varieties for melting, you need a medium or sharp aged provolone as they offer gooey texture and delicious taste. Most of the sliced provolone cheese is ideal for melting.
The Aurrichio Provolone is a spicy and dense variety of provolone cheese that offers an intense flavor when it is melted.
Is Provolone cheese aged?
Yes, Provolone is aged cheese. The provolone cheese is aged for at least two months and they are ready to use.
Provolone is a pasteurized and gluten-free cheese with a rich taste. It doesn’t contain any preservatives and fillers.