Author Topic: Trying this one last time - Where can I find that delicious cheese used in NY?  (Read 20794 times)

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Offline chasenpse

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I was just at RD today and picked up a 5# bag of "NY BLEND" for $11.81. Has anyone tried the NY blend from RD?

Haven't tried it, what's in the blend? It's RD brand I assume?
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Offline Chaze215

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It's whole milk & part skim mozzarella. I was tempted to grab the 3 cheese...mozzarella/provolone/cheddar. Next time :-)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 09:47:09 PM by Chaze215 »
Chaz

Offline dmcavanagh

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I'm not blown away by any mozzarella, but one I do buy a lot lately is Dragone, which is sold in a local Walmart. It is made by cheese giant Saputo, also the maker of Frigo cheeses. At about $3.50 a pound it's fairly economical, my current choice for aged, whole milk mozzarella.
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Offline Chaze215

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I'm not blown away by any mozzarella, but one I do buy a lot lately is Dragone, which is sold in a local Walmart. It is made by cheese giant Saputo, also the maker of Frigo cheeses. At about $3.50 a pound it's fairly economical, my current choice for aged, whole milk mozzarella.

RD sells Saputo block whole milk mozzarella. I like it as well, but I figured I would give this NY Blend a shot.
Chaz

scott123

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Dave and Chaz, what, in your opinion, sets the Saputo/Dagone apart?

I tried Frigo a few months back, and it acted very strangely.  It may have been because it was about a month past the expiration date, but, at the same time, it wasn't showing any signs of aging- no softness, no discoloration, no bubbles.

Offline dmcavanagh

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the Dragone I buy is always in date, the shelf at Walmart is usually cleaned out of it by the end of the week, and if you don't get it you have to wait for them to restore. Like I said, I'm not blown away by it, but it has a decent taste, melts well, and is a solid cheese so it grates well. I hate soft, mushy mozzarella which is a PIA to grate. Another thing I like, it's not overly salty as many mozzarellas are. If the only taste from mozz is salt, that's not for me.
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Offline chasenpse

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It's whole milk & part skim mozzarella. I was tempted to grab the 3 cheese...mozzarella/provolone/cheddar. Next time :-)

I used to be hesitant to put cheddar on pizza, for the longest time I thought only mozzarella was used. However recently I found a little bit of smoked gouda/sharp cheddar underneath the mozzarella gives it that something extra, just a little more flavor without overpowering my pies. What do you guys think, is adding that blend heresy in the pizza community? :)
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Offline dmcavanagh

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I often blend cheeses, cheddar not so much, but provolone, fontina/fontinella type cheeses,and kasseri are often included. Cheddar tends to oil off quite a bit and makes the pizza greasy, same can be said for any of the harder Italian cheeses. I don't care for overly sharp cheeses, asiago and sharp provolone tend to be overpowering.
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Offline Chaze215

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Dave and Chaz, what, in your opinion, sets the Saputo/Dagone apart?
Scott, I have only had the Saputo block from RD which I shredded....it was very good. The Frigo from Shoprite was also good, but was very soft and difficult to shred...almost too soft. I'm going to be using the RD NY blend for my 1st party at the end of the month.
Chaz


Offline norcoscia

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Which brand of Calabro Mozzarella is best
« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2013, 06:45:36 AM »
Hi all, I have been reading this post with interest, thanks for starting - Calabro cheese is not available in San Diego (at least I can't find it) - I'll be going up to LA this week and I wanted to try some. I was wondering if someone that has used it can tell me what they think works best. Which one from the list below should I try, or is it best to do a mix.

Old Fashioned Mozzarella
Old Fashioned Braid
Whole Milk Mozzarella
Part Skim Milk Mozzarella
Pollice
FDL

Also, Chaze215, when you try the NY blend from RD please let me know how it is, I did not even know that I had an RD a few miles from my house - I'm hoping that store will be a source of great pizza cheese, Hard to find anything I love here in San Diego.

Thanks in advance...
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 06:48:06 AM by norcoscia »

Offline norcoscia

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Hi, just trying again asking for some help picking the best Calabro cheese. I emailed the company and they directed me to several shop locations in LA that carry their cheese. I don't get up to LA often so I would appreciate some help.

Which one from the list below should I try, or is it best to do a mix.

Old Fashioned Mozzarella
Old Fashioned Braid
Whole Milk Mozzarella
Part Skim Milk Mozzarella
Pollice
FDL

scott123

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Old Fashioned Mozzarella - fresh
Old Fashioned Braid - fresh
Whole Milk Mozzarella - aged
Part Skim Milk Mozzarella - aged
Pollice - fresh
FDL - fresh

Norcoscia, you will find different opinions on this, but I feel pretty strongly that fresh mozzarella has no place on NY style pizza.  On also should avoid part skim, imo. The cheese you want is 'Whole Milk Mozzarella.'  Below is a photo of it in a 1 lb. block, but, if you're getting it from a distributor, it will most likely be a 6-7 lb. loaf. The labeling on the loaf looks similar, though.

Definitely call ahead.  I've called a few places who supposedly carried Calabro mozzarella only to find that they didn't have the aged version, only the fresh.

Offline norcoscia

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Thanks Scott123

All of the stores are pretty much in the same general area so I will definitely call ahead - driving around in LA does not make for a fun day.

I'm excited to try a new cheese - I think cheese can make all the difference on a pie. I have used some whole milk that was just too oily and had to be mixed with a low fat version to get the best finished product (IMHO) so that is why I was asking about the mix.

Thanks again for taking the time to help - now if I could just find a stick of that pepperoni I used to get in the 70's  :-D





Offline mbrulato

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It's whole milk & part skim mozzarella. I was tempted to grab the 3 cheese...mozzarella/provolone/cheddar. Next time :-)

Chaz,

I have tried both the NY blend and the three cheese blend from RD and like them both very much.  Although putting cheddar on a NY pizza might be considered a no-no by NY style purists  ;D. My next purchase, however will be a loaf - I've read from quite a few members that if you want great tasting cheese on your pizza, you've got to grate it yourself.  Hope this helps you  :)

Mary Ann
Mary Ann

Offline Chaze215

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Chaz,

I have tried both the NY blend and the three cheese blend from RD and like them both very much.  Although putting cheddar on a NY pizza might be considered a no-no by NY style purists  ;D. My next purchase, however will be a loaf - I've read from quite a few members that if you want great tasting cheese on your pizza, you've got to grate it yourself.  Hope this helps you  :)

Mary Ann

Like I've said recently, I had the Saputo loaf and shredded it myself and was very good. I'm going to give the NY blend a go and see how it compares. I agree with not putting cheddar on a ny style pie, but as a big fan of cheese, I'm gonna have to try it :) Shhhhhhhh don't tell Scott. Stay tuned...
Chaz

Offline mbrulato

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LOL!
Mary Ann

scott123

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I have used some whole milk that was just too oily and had to be mixed with a low fat version to get the best finished product (IMHO) so that is why I was asking about the mix.

I, personally, live for oily cheese and feel pretty strongly that part skim cheese lacks flavor.  If the oil doesn't drip off the tip as you cradle the slice in your hand, the cheese is a failure, imo.  If you have issues with oiliness, then whole milk calabro might not be the best choice.  I know that Grande gives off less oil (and less flavor), so perhaps Grande might be the better selection for you.


Offline chasenpse

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After a couple days of searching I still cannot find Calabro whole milk mozzarella, only one place I checked had the fior di latte. I called the near by whole foods and they told me they carried Burnett, has anyone tried this yet and if so how did it compare?

Edit - scratch that. Just saw in the photo that it's part-skim. My hunt for Calabro continues.
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Offline nh pie

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After a couple days of searching I still cannot find Calabro whole milk mozzarella, only one place I checked had the fior di latte. I called the near by whole foods and they told me they carried Burnett, has anyone tried this yet and if so how did it compare?

Edit - scratch that. Just saw in the photo that it's part-skim. My hunt for Calabro continues.

Depending on where you are in NY you can contact Calabro directly and pick up a order at their plant in CT. The last time I contacted them about this they requested a 1 week lead time between placing the order and picking it up.

Offline Chaze215

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The whole milk / part skim mozzarella I used for my 1st party this weekend was very good! I think I like the Saputo whole milk mozzarella that I shred a little more, but this was still close.
Pic is a sausage pie from the party.
Chaz

Offline tourmaline

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When you walk into a NY pizzeria, one of the smells that should hit you as you open the door is buttered popcorn.  It should really be in your face.  This comes from the cheese, and, in a good cheese, will be detectable when you're grating it.  Whenever you grate cheese (and you should ALWAYS grate cheese by hand), grate a mound and then stick your face in it.  You should get a good whiff of buttery goodness. If you don't, the cheese is bunk.

Romano, provolone and cheddar are workarounds for flavor deprived mozzarella.  I don't mind a little romano on my pies, but a truly good mozzarella shouldn't require augmentation, and, while a few of the places I grew up with used hard cheese (most likely romano and parm), provolone has always been pretty rare and cheddar has been nonexistent.

This is really fascinating to me. I read this thread last week and your "butter popcorn" comments have stayed with me. So far, I have used 4 brands of "whole milk/low moisture" mozz, and I have not gotten a "butter popcorn" smell. Most of them are quite bland and flavorless, but when I really stick my nose in the grated mozz and take a whiff, the only flavor I might smell is a very mild cheddar-y flavor, if any.  Now last week, I made my best pizza to date using a pre-grated cheese blend from Sargento.  I stuck my nose in it  before making the pizza and it did indeed smell just like buttered popcorn! The Sargento blend was Whole Milk Mozzarella & Provolone.  Total buttery popcorn goodness in that blend!

At this point, I can't help but be a bit skeptical that this butter popcorn flavor that you reference and that I experienced in the Sargento blend can be present in just plain old whole milk mozzarella. I have not experienced with any of the mozzarellas that I've used, just a mild cheddary flavor, as I mentioned. 
Isn't it possible or likely that the butter popcorn from the NY pizzarias that you mention come from a blend of mozz & provolone? Is anyone able to recommend a very high quality mozzarella that has this buttery flavor, without other cheeses involved?

The pizza that I made with the buttery Sargento blend was close to perfection. Would love to find a quality, stand-alone mozz that can impart that type of flavor...
Thanks!

Offline norma427

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This is a post by NepaBill about pizzerias using cheddar for their pizzas and getting more flavor than mozzarellas. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,26852.0.html   

I know I use mild white cheddar on my pizzas and there is that buttery popcorn smell at my pizza stand.  My distributor of mild white cheddar told me many NY style pizzerias near me do use some of the mild white cheddar added to their mozzarellas.  There are many different brands of cheddar at the foodservice level though.  My other distributor told me the same thing about adding cheddar to mozzarella.  Mild white cheddar was also used on Maruca's old time tomato pies from the start years ago in Trenton, NJ and at the shore.  I had someone tell me that his step-father worked at the old Maruca's on South Olden in Trenton and at the shore that mild cheddar was the only cheese they used years ago.   

The smell coming from Mack's pizza in Wildwood, NJ is what took me on the journey to find a cheese for pizza that had that great smell.  It took me about 3 years or more to find the right cheddar that melts well, has that buttery smell and tastes good and also strings well.

It is hard for a home pizza maker to purchase the same cheddar that pizzerias have access to. 

Norma
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Offline mbrulato

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I haven't given up hope on finding the perfect block cheese, however, RD's house brand Supremo Italiano makes a great three cheese blend that I believe is 80% mozzarella, 10% white cheddar and 10% provolone.  It was my favorite when I first started going to RD.
Mary Ann

scott123

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I did a little research on the 'buttered popcorn' smell/taste I've been looking for in mozzarella.  Simply put, I'm looking for diacetyl.  Diacetyl is a major flavor compound in butter and is basically artificial buttered popcorn flavoring. My best descriptor would be 'butter extract.'

Cheese Starter Cultures

Quote
For cultured milk products: The bacteria marked with the * breaks the lactose down to diacetyl and acetaldehyde which produces the fresh taste known from buttermilk. The acetaldehyde taste would be best known from yogurt, while the diacetyl taste is dominant in cultured butter such as the Lurpak brand ( Danish export product ).

From the research I've done, the 'natural flavoring' in almost every major brand of American butter is diacetyl-producing (and other butter flavor compounds) culture, added to boost the somewhat bland flavor of unsalted butter.

I bring all this up because I'm certain that there are ways to boost diacetyl when manufacturing mozzarella. I'd also wager to say that diacetyl, like other fermentation byproducts, takes time- time that you won't find in either short aged (or almost non aged) supermarket low moisture mozzarella or any of the commercial manufacturers who might be cutting corners on aging (*cough* grande *cough*).

Zoe, I haven't tried every provolone available, but I've tried a few, and I sincerely believe that provolone isn't the answer to my diacetyl quest. There's a quality to provolone that I've spent quite a few hours trying to find a descriptor for, but, so far, I have yet to nail down.

As an aside, while looking for descriptors, I found this:

http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/2225/Flavor_Descri_Class_natural_cheese.pdf?sequence=1

The description of Havarti caught my eye.

Quote
Danish Cream Havarti branched by itself at the same time that Provolone, Asiago, and Manchego branched. It was significantly higher than any other cheeses for buttery flavor. Also, the other dairy notes generally were higher than in most cheeses, giving Danish Cream Havarti some similarities to the Cheddar types. However, it had lower sharpness and astringency than the cheddars and was slightly nuttier than was typical of many cheeses in this study.

Buttery, but not sharp.  While I'm not necessarily recommending Havarti for pizza use (I think Reinhart might have mentioned it in his Craftsy video), I find it interesting that the butteriest cheese sampled happened to be typically yellow, which seems to match up with my quest for yellow mozzarella.

But, anyway, back to provolone.  Butyric acid is found in milk, especially goat, sheep and buffalo's milk, butter, Parmesan cheese, and as a product of anaerobic fermentation (including in the colon and as body odor). I bring up butyric because, even though it's associated more with Parm, provolone, to me, seems to have a pretty heavy locker room note, while parm can be, for lack of a better word, a bit vomit-y. The flavor study above references provolone as being butyric, (although it tends to throw around butyric quite a lot), which seems to support my B.O assessment, but I don't get B.O. from parm.

One of the bigger differences between mozz and provolone- and one of the methods for knowing when restaurants are using them, is that provolone tends to stay with you pretty aggressively after you've eaten it.  You can smell it on your fingers, even after washing your hands. Because of the strong character of the provolone, I've been able to track it's use during my many years of consuming NY pizza, and, I have to tell you, it's not that prominent.  I would really be shocked if more than 1 in 100 pizzerias were using it.  And, honestly, it's not that good.  I guess if you take a short aged, relatively tasteless mozzarella and combine it with provolone, the provolone gives you more flavor, but, compared to an old school buttery motz, there's no comparison. Provolone gives you more flavor, but it's the wrong flavor for the style, imo.

As I've been testing cheeses, I've noticed that, beyond the mozz/provolone blends, there are mozzarellas that can get a bit provolone-y. I have issues with these brands as well.

I can understand cheddar's role in Trenton and Boardwalk style pizza, but, as everyone is aware, I have strong feelings about it's use in NY pies.  NY style pizza cheese shouldn't be sharp- and even the mildest cheddar is still going to be sharp compared to mozzarella.  Pizza cheese, imo, should be highly buttery, a little milky (not fior di latte milky, but a little milky) and a bit nutty, not sharp. Also, cheddar is notoriously unstable at high heats.  I think this can be worked around with the sauce on top, like they do in Trenton, but, for NY, it produces a high propensity for curdling, which, for pizza, is the kiss of death.

It feels like, as mozzarella has dropped in flavor/quality over the years (most likely by manufacturers cutting corners with aging), people/businesses have found a multitude of workarounds to try to get some kind of flavor back- cheddar blending, provolone blending,  a sprinkle of parm, etc.  I get it. One has to work with the product that's available to them.  But old school mozzarella doesn't require any doctoring- and is far superior to any possible blend. It's just a matter of finding it.

Calabro is, as I've said before, close. For NY, I think Calabro can go head to head with any provolone, cheddar or blend and emerge victorious.  I'm still looking for better, though.

I made a few calls the other day and got a lead on another potential candidate. F&A. I'm still sourcing it, but I'll let you know when I get a chance to try it. If anyone else has access to it, let us know what you think. Pennmac has it, but I'm not a fan of shipping cheese.

Offline tourmaline

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Itís tough  being in a small city out west: all these good mozzarellas people talk about like Calabro, Grande, Polly-O, and Supremo Italiano are not readily available for me to test.  Oh well. Iím certainly not going to pay up the wazoo to have them shipped...

Norma, I have tried *sharp* white cheddar before in a blend, but I think Iíve always put too much or too little, so that the pizza either tastes really unnaturally rich and sharp - or else no difference whatsoever. If Iím not able to perfect my pizza cheese by finding the perfect flavorful mozz, or by finding the perfect provolone to boost my mozz, then Iíll perhaps experiment with some mild cheddar. But I have to be honest, the Italian in me is "uncomfortable" at the idea of using cheddar on pizza.   :-\

Scott, Thank you for the thoughtful and informative post. I wonder if any pizzerias use diacetyl or butyric acid to add to their grated mozz to boost the flavor. Maybe I should order some and experiment with it.
Iím stuck with a 7 pound block of whole milk mozz by First Street Gold.  It was about $2.60/lb at the food service supply store. It has a good amount of fat - 7g per serving - but it just didnít have the buttery smell and didn't provide  the flavor kick that my recent pizza had when I used the Sargento Mozz/Provolone blend. I bought 2 different provolones today to add to my mozz and try to recreate the flavor or the Sargento blend, so weíll see.

Thank you kindly for the cheese link. Thatís very interesting. I find Cream Havarti to be similar to a mild cheddar. Maybe Iíll experiment with it if my provolone experiments donít pan out, but really I prefer to use Italian cheeses on pizza, so  Iíd thoroughly experiment with provolone and asiago before ďleaving ItalyĒ for Havarti, mild cheddar, etc.
Provolone was described in that PDF as the most ďbutyricĒ-smelling which, if butyric means buttery, seems to confirm my thought that my Sargento Mozz/Provolone blend was very buttery smelling - much, much more than the regular whole milk mozz Iíve used.
And they describe whole milk mozzarella as very low in ďbutyricĒ smell, which I agree with anecdotally (if butyric = buttery). But I am still open to finding a mozz that smells buttery and flavorful!

UghÖI really want to try an ďold school buttery mozz,Ē like you describe. I wish I still lived in Minneapolis, I would take a trip over to Wisconsin and Iím sure I could find some amazing mozzarellas there, just by word of mouth if I described to people what I was looking for. Oh wellÖIím going to start experimenting with mozz/provolone blending, but I hope someday to find a very flavorful stand-alone mozzarella!