Scientists discover why mozzarella is the ideal pizza cheese

Pizza is essentially the perfect food. Well, so long as you aren't lactose intolerant or have problems with gluten. We realize that those are pretty big caveats, but stay with us for a second -- it'll be worth it: NPR spotted a study of why different cheeses diverge in looks and taste when baked. Seriously. In a paper called "Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality," researchers found that, among other things, the reason why mozzarella is so unique of a topping has to do with the way it's prepared. The cheese bubbles and browns because of its inherent elasticity due to stretching. In contrast, cheddar isn't as ideal because it isn't very elastic, thus it doesn't bubble as well. The same apparently goes for Edam and Gruyere, too.

Lest you think this paper was just an excuse for the scientists to eat lots of pizza (maybe it was), they claim that by understanding why foods behave in certain ways, they could unlock the knowledge needed to hack our grub. For example, developing a cheese that's healthier for us and that tastes just as good as the stuff likely to cause debilitating heart conditions could come from this. Pizza that's actually good for you? That's something we can get behind.

[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]