Author Topic: Best Choice ("Mongrel") Brand of Mozzarella Cheese  (Read 7040 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Best Choice ("Mongrel") Brand of Mozzarella Cheese
« on: June 05, 2007, 02:36:56 PM »
As I have reported before, unless I am prepared to make a trip into Dallas, I am unable to find good mozzarella cheeses in the markets near me where I normally shop. National brands of processed mozzarella cheeses beyond the Sargento, Kraft and SaraLee cheeses sold in slices in shrink-wrap packaging simply aren’t available to me. And the house or private-branded cheeses have been disappointing, either because the cheeses have unpleasant aftertastes or they do not bake well, with a tendency to brown too quickly and/or to expel a lot of fat in the form of an orange colored liquid.

So, it came as a surprise to me yesterday to stumble across a new brand of cheese, Best Choice, in a supermarket near me. I examined the label to see if the source was identified, but all I could find was a URL for the distributor, Associated Wholesale Grocers. At a little over $3 a pound for the cheese, I figured that I had little to lose. When I later checked the AWG website, at http://www.awgbrands.com/html/index.htm, I concluded that AWG is an apparent distributor of “mongrel” brands of products that are intended to be lower priced alternatives to the more popular national brands of such products. Indeed, the store where I found the cheese caters to the lower income demographic.

Before using the cheese on a pizza, I first tasted it. I found it to have a nice clean cheese taste, with no medicinal aftertaste as I have found with some of the house brand mozzarella cheeses. The second test was to actually use the cheese on a pizza, which I did yesterday on a cracker crust pizza. I thought that this would be a good test for the cheese since the cracker crust pizza would be subjected to a fairly long bake. In this case, it was over 10 minutes. Through it all, the cheese held up quite nicely. It perhaps helped that the oven temperature was between 450-500° F most of the time, but the cheese did not brown quickly and there was only minor release of fats from the cheese. The cheese also had a nice chewy texture with stretch. To get a visual of this performance, readers are invited to check out the photos at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5173.msg44199.html#msg44199 (Reply 7).

I look forward to testing the cheese in a higher temperature environment, but for now I am very satisfied with the performance of the Best Choice product. I’d be very curious to know if anyone else has tried this brand of cheese on their pizzas, or any other dish for that matter.

Peter


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Best Choice ("Mongrel") Brand of Mozzarella Cheese
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2007, 11:07:51 AM »
I recently sent an email to AWG Brands, the source of the Best Choice mozzarella cheese, in which I expressed my satisfaction with that cheese. While I was at it, I inquired as to the producer of the cheese, on the chance it might be a name we would recognize. This morning, I received a note from the Sr. National Accounts Manager for Schreiber Foods, the supplier to AWG and many others of the Best Choice brand of mozzarella cheese. Apparently Schreiber Foods, which is based out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the largest privately-held cheese company in the world, with over $3B in annual revenues and production facilities in several states in the U.S. The Schreiber name is not likely to ring many bells since the company specializes in private branded (house brand) products with a strong presence in warehouse stores and clubs, military commissaries, drug stores and dollar stores. I found the cheese in a local grocery store that caters primarily to low income people, where low price is an attraction. I saw the mozzarella cheese on sale recently, for just under $3 a pound.

We become so attached to the best brand names in cheeses that it is easy to forget that there are lower-priced alternatives that are just as good, or close enough to warrant purchase. I personally like the Best Choice mozzarella cheese and deem it to be better than most of the competing brands, national and otherwise, that I have been able to locate in the stores near where I live.

Peter

Offline dan f.

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Re: Best Choice ("Mongrel") Brand of Mozzarella Cheese
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008, 10:30:50 AM »
Peter: Is the orange color from too long in the oven, inferior cheese, or something else? I had the experience of pizza coming out of the oven not only with orangey oil pools, but cheese (mixture of mozz & shaved pecorino) also orange colored. I had thought it was because I drizzled too much olive oil before putting it in the oven (and then exacerbated it by putting pizza under the broiler). Pizza tasted fine but orange color was a bit of a visual turn-off.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Best Choice ("Mongrel") Brand of Mozzarella Cheese
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2008, 10:56:02 AM »
dan f.,

I believe that the orange colored oil is due to a long bake, possibly combined with a high oven temperature that causes the cheese to break down and release the oil. In my experience, it can happen with high quality cheeses, although it tends to be more common with lesser quality or cheaper cheeses. There can even be variations within the same brand. If you use pepperoni slices, they can also release oil onto the pizza. For some pizzas that require a long bake, even at moderate oven temperatures, such as cracker-style pizzas, I will usually put the cheeses down first, preferably in slices, before adding the sauce. I will also sometimes keep the cheeses in the refrigerator just until I am ready to dress the pizza. That seems to slow down the melting, and any potential breakdown, of the cheeses. This protocol has worked quite well for me. The Best Choice brand of mozzarella cheese I found locally seems to work as well as some of the best known brands I have tried, and at a significantly lower cost.

The oiliness of the pizza seems to be mainly an aesthetics issue. I will sometimes take a paper towel and soak up a good part of the oil before slicing the pizza.

Peter




Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Best Choice ("Mongrel") Brand of Mozzarella Cheese
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2008, 09:49:12 AM »
I noticed mention in an earlier post in this thread about Best Choice cheeses.  I, too, affirm their quality, especially for their price.  You find them at pretty much any grocery store in 100-mile radius of where I live, which is in the general area of the Associated Wholesale Grocers HQ in Kansas City.  I have found that some of their products are every bit as good as name brands, and a couple of times even better.  Their cheeses do stand out in terms of taste.
Let them eat pizza.


 

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