Author Topic: Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?  (Read 18442 times)

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Offline GotRocks

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« on: February 28, 2010, 02:15:33 PM »
What is it exactly that makes everyone so impressed with Grande Cheese? And why is there so many pizza shop operators that dislike Grande so much? some will go into a tirade when the Grande name is even Mentioned, Why??

Is it something to do with their business practices? is it because their prices may be higher than other cheese brands? Or is it that suppliers outside of the Midwest end up delivering cheese that has passed it's optimum "Use By" date, and it shows lower or inconsistent quality because of it?  maybe that is causing some pizza shop owners to dislike the product?? I do not know, but I want to know.

Maybe I am just spoiled from growing up in, and still living in Wisconsin?
 When I was a kid, I had friends who lived on dairy farms, and I clearly remember seeing signs at the end of their driveway stating they were an exclusive milk producer for Grande Cheese. I even dated a girl in school who's last name was Grande and she was related to the cheese producers. (I was also known to occasionally hangout with a girl who's dad owned the Provimi Veal company, but that's a different story altogether)
Products from Grande have always been readily available here, so maybe I am taking their quality for granted because of this??
I didn't realize Wisconsin dairy products had such a great reputation until I lived in other states. People made a huge deal on their menu stating "Wisconsin Cheese products".

I talked my local Grande rep a week ago, she seemed wonderful, (as were my Escalon and Stanislaus reps) and she worked very hard to find a commercial Grande supplier for me in my area. She wanted to bring in a full selection of their products for us to try, and also to make fresh Mozz with me from their commercial curd product. They are definitely going to be my provider when we get running, and I'll price appropriately for it. I am also trying to use as many locally produced products that we can, and note those facts on our menu.

I may be able to understand why some pizza shop owners get upset that they need to pay more for a superior Grande product, but if the quality is there, Why not use it? Maybe their competition is too stiff where they would lose too much money by using Grande when they got the big-3 places selling pies for $10.00 or less and they are afraid people will go for cheap over quality?

If someone could spell it out to me why I have seen so many Grande bashing threads on other websites, I would appreciate it.
Thanx

« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 08:40:09 AM by Pete-zza »
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Offline dms

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 07:22:53 PM »
What is it exactly that makes everyone so impressed with Grande Cheese? And why is there so many pizza shop operators that dislike Grande so much? some will go into a tirade when the Grande name is even Mentioned, Why??


Without expressing an opinion one way or another: people don't like grande because they think they charge a substantial premium for a commodity grade product. 


« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 08:40:38 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline johnnytuinals

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 09:28:04 PM »
The folks that make pizza for a living hate
Grande.They hate having to pay a few pennys more and eat at their profits........JT
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 08:41:33 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline scott r

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 12:37:10 AM »
Whenever I am helping a pizzeria pick their favorite cheese I recommend grande along with a few other brands of cheese to try.   Other brands almost always end up getting picked because of their superior flavor.  I think that knowing this, and knowing that the price is SO much higher makes people angry!  The general line of thinking seems to be, "how dare this company charge so much more for their cheese when it doesn't even taste as good as the low cost house brand my distributer sells".

Having said that, there are always going to be pizzerias that prefer grande for how it melts, especially if reheated slices are a large part of the business.  Its also is by far the easiest cheese to use because it is the only pre shredded or pre diced cheese that I have found that doesn't over brown or have unusual flavors.   The gas filled bags which allow Grande to get away without using anti-caking agent is a great idea, and I still don't understand why more cheese companies don't adopt this type of packaging.  Being able to open a bag at a time as you need it is much easier than dealing with having to always have a constant supply of cheese around that you have to grate yourself.   
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 08:42:15 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline norma427

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 08:17:35 AM »
When I first starting making pizza, I used a blend of part-skim and whole milk mozzarella from a local distributor because the distributor told me this is what most local pizza shops were using..  After talking to local pizza owners and finding out some of them used Grande part-skimmed mozzarella, I decided to then use that exclusively for about for about 4 months. I also tried the whole milk Grande and found that to be too greasy on the pizza.  I found the part-skim mozzarella to have superior melting, but didnít find the flavor better that the part-skim and whole mozzarella.  I grate my own cheese from a loaf with a Pelican Head cheese grater on my Hobart mixer. If I have leftover grated cheese, I put it in a Cambro container and keep it in the deli case until the next week and used that first.  Another thing I found about Grande part-skim was if I had leftover Grande that was grated, it wanted to clump together until the next week. 
After experimenting for a little, I now use a blend of Brand 1950/127 part- skim mozzarella Foremost Brand, Bella Francesca whole milk mozzarella, and State Brand Associated Milk Producers, Inc. mild white cheddar.  I now used them in a blend of 40% part-skimmed, 50% whole mozzarella, and 10% white cheddar.  I never have problems with clumping now, if I have leftover mozzarella from one week to the next.  I also find the blend has a better flavor profile. The Grande part-skimmed is more expensive than the current blend I am using. I mostly sell by the slice and donít see any difference in reheating in the oven, if customers want slices heated to have a crisper crust.
I also bring some of this cheese blend home and use it on all my pizzas made at home.  I do freeze this cheese blend, and don't have any problems with taste after freezing.
These are just my opinions.

Norma
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 08:42:41 AM by Pete-zza »
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Offline ERASMO

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010, 09:07:32 AM »
Norma

Who do you buy your supplies from?

Online Pete-zza

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 09:47:05 AM »
GotRocks,

As you know, one of the most popular (or unpopular, as the case may be) topics on the PMQ Think Tank is Grande cheese. This morning, I did a search on that forum using the search word "Grande" and got 730 matches. I have read many of those posts over the years and I would say that the comments of the other posters pretty much reflect the reactions of the posters over at the PMQTT. If I were to attempt to distill those posts, I would say that cost is perhaps the number one objection. Sometimes, that is an absolute thing but just as often it is stated in the form of a value proposition--that is, pizza operators can get greater value (a combination of price, flavor, texture, meltability, ease of use, etc.) using someone else's products. On the other side of the ledger, scott r's comments pretty much reflect the views of the PMQTT posters who favor the Grande products over competing products. There are also pizza operators who like the service, attention and hand holding that they get from Grande. Their "love" for Grande is like their "love" for Stanislaus on the sauce side, and, according to fans of the products of those companies, nothing will ever change that. They wouldn't think for a moment about leaving them. In Grande's case, there are also some operators who also like the assistance they can get from Grande to help them in their businesses. The nature of some of this assistance is referenced at the Grande website at http://www.grandecheese.com/businessbuilding/Pages/BusinessBuilding.aspx.

One of the points that I have noted on numerous occasions on the PMQ Think Tank forum is the matter of how much cheese is needed to get good coverage on pizzas. Whether it is Grande that has made this an issue or pizza operators, the notion has been advanced that a pizza operator can get away with using less Grande cheese than with competing brands. And, since cheese is usually the most expensive ingredient used on pizzas, the end result from using the Grande cheese, even if more costly than competing brands, is an ultimate cost saving. Not every pizza operator believes this. But there are many who have accepted the idea as pure gospel. Usually a discussion on this topic degrades to discussions of grated versus shredded versus sliced forms of cheeses, portioning/weighing versus free-throwing, and their respective virtues in terms of providing the best coverage at the lowest cost. There are also the do-it-yourselfers who prefer to buy their cheeses in block form and do their own grating/shredding/slicing to keep costs down. To this day, after all of the reading I have done on the subject at the PMQTT, I don't think that I can tell you whether the Grande cheeses provide better coverage on pizzas at an overall lower cost.

Peter

Offline norma427

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 10:08:23 AM »
Norma

Who do you buy your supplies from?


ERASMO,

I get all my cheeses, pepperoni, sausage, and Stanislaus products from Hometown Provisions in Willow Street, Pa.  They deliver right to market or if I need an extra item, I can just go pick it up.

http://www.hometownprovisions.net/

I know this subject of Grande and cheeses is something not all people agree with. 
I weigh my cheese that goes on each pie.  I haven't found any difference in how much cheese you need for a pie from Grande to my blend now.

Again this is my opinion,

Norma
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Offline ERASMO

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 10:13:37 AM »
Norma
Thanks

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 10:15:08 AM »
What does it mean when people say cheese "reheats well"? The blend I use is softer after being refrigerated and reheated. I don't know whether that's good or bad. I haven't tried reheating it after it sits at room temperature.

I don't get many opportunities to learn this information, because I almost always make just enough pizza to eat at one sitting.


Offline norma427

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 10:28:35 AM »
Puzzolento,

To me reheating cheese means after the pizza is baked, how well the cheese will look when reheated.  I usually keep my finished pizzas in a heated, humidified, merchandiser. I have a certain hold time to keep the pizzas in the merchandiser.  In using this merchandiser the bottom of the crust will get softer.  If a customer wants a slice reheated you just put the slice in the oven and reheat the slice.  I also make some pizzas that I keep in the deli case.  Take them out and reheat in the oven.  The cheese on the pizza usually tell me if it is reheated well.
At home, I either reheat the pizza in a toaster oven or my home oven.
Hope this explains my experiences.

Norma
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Offline Puzzolento

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 10:44:51 AM »
Thanks. Maybe I should ask what it looks like when cheese DOESN'T reheat well. Then I'd know what people are trying to avoid.

Offline GotRocks

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 11:07:07 AM »
Thanks for the info, it is appreciated.

Yeah, PMQ & Grande;

I did a search a few days back to try and find the reason Grande is so controversial, I had 49 pages of info that I made it halfway through and still had no definitive answers.
I saw the "You can use less" argument, and the bashing comments that came with it.

Well, I can tell you that I do not plan on using either diced or shredded, I plan on using sliced.
that choice has to do with scaling and consistency, and the other part is I feel it has a whole different texture on a pizza than the same exact cheese that got shredded or diced. it just seems to be creamier on a pie when sliced. I believe it may be from more contact area with the sauce, and less overall surface area to give up moisture?

I am willing to pay more for a superior, or more consistent product since I am not competing with tons of other pizza shops in my town, although I have got 2 of the big three in my town of just over 16K, plus 2 other independent shops. But I will be the only person using a WFO, so I do not exactly see them as direct competition since our product is a total different style altogether. And Pizza is only part of our menu, sort of a sideline item to our main product.

I apprecaite everyones comments, Thank you all!
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Offline Puzzolento

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2010, 12:10:47 PM »
I like sliced cheese, too. Much faster to use, and the coverage is even.

Offline pcampbell

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2010, 12:24:30 PM »
are you considering fresh mozzarella?
Patrick

Offline scott r

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2010, 01:45:23 PM »
Thanks. Maybe I should ask what it looks like when cheese DOESN'T reheat well. Then I'd know what people are trying to avoid.

If you were to make a pizza with 1/2 grande on one side, and 1/2 a less expensive brand on the other side you would see a difference in how they melt.   It gets a bit confusing because there are so many different ovens, and they all bake slightly differently.   What I have found is that if you are going for a lightly baked pizza without much or any char, you are not going to see a huge difference between grande and a less expensive brand. If you are baking in an oven with lots of top heat, or an oven that is just plain hot like a wood fired or coal oven, you are going to find that grande whole milk, part skim, or the east coast blend will stay almost pure white while the cheaper brand of cheese will get spots of brown or even black.   In addition to the more coloration you get with the cheaper cheese you will also see more oil released.   Any cheese when pushed towards its limit of bake time/temp will oil off more and more, and brown more. This "problem" can get even worse if you are going to re heat a slice. 

To sum this all up: A typical cheese will start to dry out, oil off, and brown more than a grande mozzarella would as your bake temps/top heat get higher, or if you try to reheat a slice.   

Things to note:  Some people actually prefer a browned cheese, so this "problem" is actually not a problem for them!   I know this sounds crazy, but I honestly think that all cheeses have a different temperature at which they have their peak flavor after baking.   I have found that its really best to taste test a number of brands in YOUR oven, with your recipe.   What tastes best in your oven might not taste as good in an oven with a longer or shorter bake time.   The amount of moisture in your oven also tends to effect the best brand, and if your oven is very dry inside grande can help to keep a nice light colored moist cheese.

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2010, 02:05:20 PM »
So if my cheese is staying soft when reheating, most people would consider that a good result. Interesting. I was afraid it was considered a flaw.

Offline scott r

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2010, 02:25:51 PM »
I think most people do not want a dried out oily cheese on top.   It really depends on where you are from, though.   If you go to New Haven where really well done pizzas are the norm, a well browned cheese is expected.  I think part of the reason slice reheating is not popular there is that the pizzas are already taken to their full browning potential on the first bake.  A re heat would leave them as dry as a cracker.   As you move north from there in to New England white cheddar cheese is a big part of the regional style and again browned or oily pizzza is more acceptable.   In the New York area a less browned cheese is more the norm, and places with hot ovens often switch over to fresh mozzarella which is very hard to brown off. 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 02:27:42 PM by scott r »

Offline GotRocks

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2010, 05:39:20 PM »
are you considering fresh mozzarella?

ME??
 I plan on using both a fresh, and loaf cheese, but each will have it's own purpose on different pies? I am going with a wood-fired oven, but I am not claiming to have a true Neapolitan pie. i ti shard to explain, but I'll try.
It will be a Nea'ish, artisan'ish pie, but due to my customer base, I will be required to make a typical American'ish topped pies too.
I got a tough job ahead of me by being able to satisfy a wide assortment of preferences. Where I live, very few people are native to the area, this is a huge vacation spot, and a huge retirement spot for people from all over the country with a heavy percentage being from Illinois, more specifically Chicago. I want a product that they can all enjoy by use of different sauces and toppings, but the same crust throughout the line.
 I do not like a Chicago-style pizza at all, I am still upset about the 3 hours I wasted standing outside of Pizzeria Uno 15 years ago to get what they served. it was a an absolute waste of time and money IMO, after my first bite I ordered a salad and had the rest of that thing they called pizza wrapped to go. Yuk! And I had quite a few beers in me after that wait, so everything should have tasted great! ;D
Gino's east? I have had better frozen pizza's, but I got to carve my name in the wall there, Pizzeria Due; I also thought was a very unremarkable pie..
yes I tried Giordanos & Lou Malnatis, and found myself just as happy by getting a Jacks frozen pie and doing some doctoring to get it better for 1/10th the cost.
I love pizza, but the best i have found to date is the places in and around Milwaukee WI, there are only a few real notable places down there, because the majority of the hundreds of pizza shops just sell a great pie. You can get almost any style you like (except for Chicago) and as different as they are from place to place, they are all good.
One of the favorites is a little dump that does a pastry crust, but I like that pie without any cheese whatsoever. Just sauce, onions, anchovies, diced maters, & maybe some shrooms with a light sprinkle of parm on top when it hits my table.


I personally cannot stand cheese that is browned during it's bake, or too much cheese, I like a balanced pizza, all components need to work together.
Now I did have a great place here, but they went belly up because they did not serve the typical American topped pizza, they did artisan only on a thin crust, My fave was a Genoa salami with Gorgonzola and loaf mozz. The didn't even have sausage or pepperoni on their menu so they did not last. I will not make that same mistake.
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Offline pcampbell

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Re: What's the Story with Grande Cheese?
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2010, 06:10:53 PM »
Yes, sorry  I did mean you :)

I understand about wanting to be able to offer the "regular" mozzarella that some customers will prefer.

I think that places like John's of Bleeker use Grande or at least dry mozzarella on a coal oven and it is not browned if I recall correctly... but I don't know how hot that oven is compared to wood.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 06:26:29 PM by pcampbell »
Patrick


 

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