Author Topic: Curdling Brainstorming  (Read 1123 times)

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Online scott123

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Curdling Brainstorming
« on: February 04, 2010, 12:40:53 AM »
I'm having major curdling issues with my mozz. I enjoy a well cooked/non stringy lightly brown specked cheese on my pie, but it seems that lately, right after my cheese starts to bubble, it starts to separate.  I know Grande would probably solve my issues, but, besides requiring a 40 minute drive, it's about double what I normally pay for cheese.  Maybe on special occasions, sure, but for the rest of the time, I need to find a way to work with my typical supermarket WM brick mozz.

It seems like if I use the mozz the very day I buy it, it usually melts nicely, but if I let it sit in my fridge for anything more than a few days, it goes slightly gooey and it's curdle city. I've tried every inexpensive brand in a 20 mile radius and, although some give me a little more shelf life than others, none of them are giving me longer than about 2 weeks.

Lately, I've been buying cheese that curdles on the day I buy it (extended storage at the store?).

Seeking out the firmest packages possible sometimes helps, but I have some brands that are both firm and curdle (and that are very white)

I've been brainstorming methods of giving my inferior cheese a fighting chance.  Here's what I have so far:

1. Grate, sprinkle with a little starch (corn? arrowroot)- like the bagged shredded mozz manufacturers do with it. The starch, besides preventing clumping, should also act as a stabilizer and prevent curdling.

2. Based upon the premise that moisture is the enemy (is it?) grate, spread out on a sheet pan and dry in the fridge or

3. Grate, spread out on a sheet pan and gently dry in the oven (150?)

4. Removing Moisture From Fresh Mozz (the thought of losing fat doesn't appeal to me, though).

5. Sodium citrate- the ingredient that use to make completely uncurdle-able American cheese

6. Baking Soda? If acid curdles cheese... should bases stabilize it? I'm not thinking sprinkling with baking soda- more along the lines of maybe spraying grated cheese with a weak baking soda solution and letting it dry.


I'm certain no one here has tried 5 or 6, and, most likely no one has tried any of these workarounds, but, just in case someone has, I wanted to run them by you. If anyone has any other ideas for preventing cheese curdling, feel free to chime in.


Offline adletson

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Re: Curdling Brainstorming
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 04:57:05 PM »
Bumping this thread because I am having major curdling issues as well.  Hoping for some help!

Online scott123

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Re: Curdling Brainstorming
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2013, 05:26:30 PM »
Adam, 3 years ago, as you can see, I had a few questions/theories, but now I have answers  ;D

To avoid curdling:

1. Use cheese when it's fresh.  Don't buy a block of cheese and keep it in your fridge for a month. Check the date and try, if possible, to get a cheese that hasn't been in the store for very long either.

2. Choose your cheese based on bake time.  Fresh mozzarella (fior di latte) tends to curdle with longer NY bake times.

3. Foodservice mozzarella (grande/grande clones) is practically curdle proof.  I've never really pushed the clock on extended storage, but, as long as you open the package within 3 weeks and stay away from extremely watery ingredients, it's extremely difficult to curdle.

4. Precook veggies or use a very thin, sparse layer (especially mushrooms).

5. Don't use too thin of a sauce. While some tomatoes might require a little water for thinning, water content varies greatly from tomato to tomato, and processing changes the free water availability (finer the grind, the more water is available). If in doubt, err on the side of adding less/no water than more.

6. If using fior di latte for a fast baked pie, stretch the cheese yourself from curd. Home stretched cheese tends to be a bit more stable. If you're buying fior di latte already stretched, look for something on the firm side and drain the water from it before baking.

7. If using supermarket mozz, go with a block (not pre-shredded) that's firm.  Certain brands of supermarket cheese can be a bit more stable (sorrento, polly-o), but there's no guarantees as cheese varies from batch to batch.

Offline adletson

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Re: Curdling Brainstorming
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 04:55:09 PM »
Thanks so much for the tips!

Some thoughts:
I've been going back and forth between Sorrento and Polly-O.  I like the flavor of the Polly-O better but the Sorrento is easier to work with.  However, I haven't been able to tell a difference in the "curdle factor".  I would love to have the thick, stringy mass of cheese you get from commercial places, but I end up with a more firm layer of cheese with liquid of top of it.  I'm assuming that's curdling?

My bake time is 6 minutes @ 550 with broiler on the first 3 minutes.  The last pie I cooked I forgot and left the broiler on the entire time and almost burned the top.  The cheese separated/curdled terribly, with a lot of liquid pooled on top of the pie.

I've forgotten the brand of tomatoes, but they are san marzano.  I drain all the liquid and it doesn't seem too thin.  I don't cook it prior.

Is the thin layer of veggies due to them shedding liquid?

I am so thankful for any help!

Online scott123

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Re: Curdling Brainstorming
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 01:43:51 AM »
Adam, I'm not a big fan of the taste of either grocery Polly-O or Sorrento, but, for grocery cheese, they do tend to be some of the most stable/least prone to curdling.

I'm not really sure about your 'firm layer of cheese with liquid on top' description.  The liquid could be fat (aka 'oiling off').  Curdling is when the cheese gets very watery and breaks up into many small little bits.

San Marzanos tend to be a bit on the watery side.  Are you blending them?   I'm still working on a good visual indicator, but I think, when you pull your spoon out of the sauce, it should leave a small peak.

Yes, raw veggies are notorious for shedding liquid.

A big part of the 'thick stringy mass of cheese' effect is using enough cheese- what size pies and how much cheese (weight) are using per pie?  It also comes from bubbling the heat from below. Do you know the thickness factor you're using? How much do your dough balls weigh?