Author Topic: Trying this one last time - Where can I find that delicious cheese used in NY?  (Read 12145 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mbrulato

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 868
  • Location: NJ
  • I Love Pizza!
LOL!
Mary Ann


Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6914
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

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 354
  • Location: New York
    • Battle Hill Media
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.
If Tetris has taught me anything, itís that errors pile up and accomplishments disappear.

Offline nh pie

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
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

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 707
  • Location: Jersey Shore
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

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!


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

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21522
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza

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
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline mbrulato

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 868
  • Location: NJ
  • I Love Pizza!
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

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6914
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

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!
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!








Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21522
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza


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.   :-\



Tourmaline,

If you aren't comfortable adding cheddar to a mozzarella that is fine.  I experimented with many cheddars (and probably never could name them all) to find which one I liked and which one my customers liked best. 

I really also liked the Bell Fran whole milk mozzarella but that was a foodservice mozzarella.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline tourmaline

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!
Tourmaline,

If you aren't comfortable adding cheddar to a mozzarella that is fine.  I experimented with many cheddars (and probably never could name them all) to find which one I liked and which one my customers liked best. 

I really also liked the Bell Fran whole milk mozzarella but that was a foodservice mozzarella.

Norma

Thanks very much, Norma. Out of curiosity, what is the reason that you decided to make your pizza solely with cheddar? It seems like you would be sacrificing the melted stringiness of mozzarella, which I know a lot of people love.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21522
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Thanks very much, Norma. Out of curiosity, what is the reason that you decided to make your pizza solely with cheddar? It seems like you would be sacrificing the melted stringiness of mozzarella, which I know a lot of people love.


tourmaline,

To answer your question about the reasons I changed to a foodservice mild cheddar was I had recalled the different smell (wonderful cheese smell) coming from Mack's Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for many years (since I was a child).  If you were to look at the NJ Boardwalk Pizza thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9068.0.html you can see how many years it took me to find the cheddar I am using now.  There is also another thread about the cheese at  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13499.0.html  I also was looking for the a kind of cheese that would go well on my Detroit style pizzas for market.  That thread is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21559.0.html and the main Detroit style thread is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.0.html I even investigated a pizza business near me that also had that great smell as soon as I walked into the door.  That thread is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20093.0.html

I know you probably won't read all those threads because they are too long but I did not take the cheese subject lightly when searching for that special cheese with the smell I recalled from so long ago.   :-D

The Wisconsin mild white cheddar I did finally find does string well as you might be able to see on some of the photos.

I did try foodservice mozzarellas like Foremost Farms, Grande, Bella Fran, State Farm, and sometimes in combinations.  I also tried many other mozzarellas in 5-6 lb. blocks and in bags.  Although some of the blends were good and some of the standalone mozzarellas were really good in my opinion they did not have that magic smell for me.  I wanted to be able to have that magic smell along with a cheese that tasted different than most pizza places.     

I know mild white cheddar is not for everyone on a pizza though. 

If anyone is interested this is the first time I posted a photo of what the mild white cheddar cheese box says.  I wish any forum member that wanted to try the mild white cheddar could to see if they would like it on pizzas but I know that is not possible.   

Norma 
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline tourmaline

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!
Norma, Thanks for the info. It sounds like your switch to that mild cheddar was a very informed decision. My provolone/mozz blend is working very well in replicating the pizzeria Iím going for, so Iíll just keep experimenting with that for now. I feel like Iím Ďcracking the codeí and am almost there with my cheese blend. Someday Iíll likely try a mild cheddar blend though. It seems like so many of us on this forum are trying to capture the qualities of that one special pizza joint we grew up with that made the perfect distinctive pizza. Inevitably, itís different for every person.
I loved seeing all the pics + video you took at Papa Dinos!  You are very tenacious when it comes to acquiring info about pizza, which is great.  Next time I go to my Ďspecial pizzeriaí that Iím trying to replicate Iím going to be asking lots of technical questions and try to get some pictures of their kitchen and chefs in action. They can sometimes be very secretive though, depending on whoís there.

So you have a pizza cart? Thatís really amazing, that idea is very appealing to me too, actually - although Iím still fairly new to making pizzas. Can I ask how much the cart cost? Do you have any pictures of your cart that you can share? Iíd love to see it.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21522
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Norma, Thanks for the info. It sounds like your switch to that mild cheddar was a very informed decision. My provolone/mozz blend is working very well in replicating the pizzeria Iím going for, so Iíll just keep experimenting with that for now. I feel like Iím Ďcracking the codeí and am almost there with my cheese blend. Someday Iíll likely try a mild cheddar blend though. It seems like so many of us on this forum are trying to capture the qualities of that one special pizza joint we grew up with that made the perfect distinctive pizza. Inevitably, itís different for every person.
I loved seeing all the pics + video you took at Papa Dinos!  You are very tenacious when it comes to acquiring info about pizza, which is great.  Next time I go to my Ďspecial pizzeriaí that Iím trying to replicate Iím going to be asking lots of technical questions and try to get some pictures of their kitchen and chefs in action. They can sometimes be very secretive though, depending on whoís there.

So you have a pizza cart? Thatís really amazing, that idea is very appealing to me too, actually - although Iím still fairly new to making pizzas. Can I ask how much the cart cost? Do you have any pictures of your cart that you can share? Iíd love to see it.


tourmaline,

I did search for that cheddar for a long while but really don't think what I found now it is the exact brand Mack's uses. 

I am glad your provolone/mozz blend it working out very well in replicating the the pizzeria you are going for.  Also glad to hear your are almost there with your cheese blend. 

I also believe most members that are trying to clone or make a pizza as close as they can to any NY style pizza do have memories which stick to them forever about their favorite pizzas. 

I also took photos and a video that I posted here on the forum about another kind of tomato pie I was trying to replicate which was a De Lorenzo's tomato pie.  I took videos of the pie makers at Mack's Pizza too. 

If you go to your special pizzeria think of things ahead of time you might ask them.  You might just ask to take photos and go from there.  Just tell your favorite pizzeria that you have a brother or someone in another state that also really likes their pizza and you want to show photos to them.  That has worked well for me sometimes.  Of course you can also go dumpster diving, but in some states that is illegal.  Just be careful if you decide to do that.  I have done that dumpster diving before and it sure made me nervous.  Try to keep your eyes looking around to see if you can see any ingredients sitting out in plain view.

I have a very small pizza stand at a farmer's market near where I live.  I have posted about that here on the forum many times.  If you are interested this is the link to my pizza stand at Root's Market.  http://www.rootsmarket.com/standholders.asp  If you scroll down in the standholders you can see my pizza stand.  If you click on that photo it should enlarge.   

When I was doing some searching about De Lorenzo's tomato pie I came across this article about cheese and the pizzerias and what happened.  Pizza cheese can get messy sometimes.  https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/70579NCJRS.pdf   The one place mentioned in that report is right near me.  I was told by a local pizzeria to go and try their cheeses.  I have not made it there yet but might sometime.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline tourmaline

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!

If you go to your special pizzeria think of things ahead of time you might ask them.  You might just ask to take photos and go from there.  Just tell your favorite pizzeria that you have a brother or someone in another state that also really likes their pizza and you want to show photos to them.  That has worked well for me sometimes.  Of course you can also go dumpster diving, but in some states that is illegal.  Just be careful if you decide to do that.  I have done that dumpster diving before and it sure made me nervous.  Try to keep your eyes looking around to see if you can see any ingredients sitting out in plain view.

I have a very small pizza stand at a farmer's market near where I live.  I have posted about that here on the forum many times.  If you are interested this is the link to my pizza stand at Root's Market.  http://www.rootsmarket.com/standholders.asp  If you scroll down in the standholders you can see my pizza stand.  If you click on that photo it should enlarge.   

When I was doing some searching about De Lorenzo's tomato pie I came across this article about cheese and the pizzerias and what happened.  Pizza cheese can get messy sometimes.  https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/70579NCJRS.pdf   The one place mentioned in that report is right near me.  I was told by a local pizzeria to go and try their cheeses.  I have not made it there yet but might sometime.

Norma


Oh my, that is too funny that you went dumpster diving!  :-D  Iím contemplating  doing that too next time I go there. Iíll probably quickly grab a few of the full trash bags out of the dumpster and toss them in the back of my vehicle. Then drive home and pore through the contents. LOL.
I appreciate your input on gathering information. I probably wonít be going out that way for a few weeks but next time I go there Iím determined to come back with pics, info, and possibly bags of trash. Iíll probably post pics of my ďadventureĒ here on the forum.  :D

Your pizza business is VERY impressive!  Who needs a big old kitchen when youíve got everything you need right in that cozy little space!

And thanks for that interesting link. My goodness, owning a pizza place sure can be treacherous when you live back eastÖor at least it was back in 1980. Hopefully things have gotten better since then. My grandfather came from Sicily, but luckily there is nothing remotely mafia related in my family. Just a great love of Italian food.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21522
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Oh my, that is too funny that you went dumpster diving!  :-D  Iím contemplating  doing that too next time I go there. Iíll probably quickly grab a few of the full trash bags out of the dumpster and toss them in the back of my vehicle. Then drive home and pore through the contents. LOL.
I appreciate your input on gathering information. I probably wonít be going out that way for a few weeks but next time I go there Iím determined to come back with pics, info, and possibly bags of trash. Iíll probably post pics of my ďadventureĒ here on the forum.  :D


tourmaline,

Even if you decide to go dumpster diving to find out what cheese, or cheese blend your favorite pizzeria uses sometimes that can be fairly complicated unless you exactly find empty cheese bags.  Some cheeses (even some mozzarellas can come in big blocks like my cheddar does).  If a cheese comes in a plain brown cardboard box with just a simple label on the outside it is hard to decide what what cheese plant it might come from.  There is usually a plant code on the box but then it is hard to find the plant.  I have access to a plant code for Wisconsin cheese makers but still have a hard time using it. 

Not all pizza businesses purchase their cheese, or cheese blend from regular distributors that supply the rest of their ingredients.   There are also boxes of cheeses that just have a USDA plant number on them.

You might find this kind of gross but when I went dumpster diving a couple of times don't forgot there might be full trash bags full of just trash like what customers had leftover from their drinks or other foods they ate at a pizzeria.  The trash bags can be black or other colors.  When I ripped some trash bags open that is all I saw was trash.  That stopped me in my tracks because that was kind of gross.  :-X

As far a posting dumpster diving photos that is up to you, but I usually don't post them.  Good luck to you in finding what you want.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline tourmaline

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!
tourmaline,

Even if you decide to go dumpster diving to find out what cheese, or cheese blend your favorite pizzeria uses sometimes that can be fairly complicated unless you exactly find empty cheese bags.  Some cheeses (even some mozzarellas can come in big blocks like my cheddar does).  If a cheese comes in a plain brown cardboard box with just a simple label on the outside it is hard to decide what what cheese plant it might come from.  There is usually a plant code on the box but then it is hard to find the plant.  I have access to a plant code for Wisconsin cheese makers but still have a hard time using it. 

Not all pizza businesses purchase their cheese, or cheese blend from regular distributors that supply the rest of their ingredients.   There are also boxes of cheeses that just have a USDA plant number on them.

You might find this kind of gross but when I went dumpster diving a couple of times don't forgot there might be full trash bags full of just trash like what customers had leftover from their drinks or other foods they ate at a pizzeria.  The trash bags can be black or other colors.  When I ripped some trash bags open that is all I saw was trash.  That stopped me in my tracks because that was kind of gross.  :-X

As far a posting dumpster diving photos that is up to you, but I usually don't post them.  Good luck to you in finding what you want.

Norma

Thank you for the helpful info. I'm not sure I'm going to do it, it really depends on how informative they are with the questions I ask, and if I feel comfortable dumpster diving at that location and at that time. It would need to be at night and I'll need to have a little flashlight in my mouth so I can see what I'm doing. LOL

Did you do it at night, after the place had closed or when they were still open? Did you crawl inside the dumpster or did you just grab what you could from the pile? I'm very curious about how you went about it.   :D

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21522
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Thank you for the helpful info. I'm not sure I'm going to do it, it really depends on how informative they are with the questions I ask, and if I feel comfortable dumpster diving at that location and at that time. It would need to be at night and I'll need to have a little flashlight in my mouth so I can see what I'm doing. LOL

Did you do it at night, after the place had closed or when they were still open? Did you crawl inside the dumpster or did you just grab what you could from the pile? I'm very curious about how you went about it.   :D


tourmaline,

I understand if you decide not to go dumpster diving because for me it was not comfortable at all.  :-[ I hope you find your answers from asking.  Another way to try their cheese, or cheese blend is to maybe ask if you can purchase some.  Most cheeses or blends will not taste the same plain as when baked on a pizza with sauce or other dressings.  One time at a local pizzeria near me I wanted to purchase some of their Grande cheese to try on an experimental pizza I was making and I did not have access or any Grande cheese at that time.  That time I just told the man that owned the pizzeria that I really liked the cheese they used on their pizzas and wanted to purchase some to use on some lasagna I was making.  That did work.  If you can get some of their cheese, or cheese blend so then you will know how it tastes with the sauce you use on a baked pizza.

To answer your question about how I went about dumpster diving there were different ways I went about it sometimes in plain daylight and one time in the middle of the night.  I usually have some kind of trash bag or something to throw into the dumpster if someone comes out of the pizzeria.  I would just say then I wanted to throw out some trash.  The first time there were about 10 regular higher trash cans and I just flipped up the lids and looked inside.  There I saw all black trash bags that were tied so I did not learn anything.  The second time I went in the middle of the night to two different locations that made the same pizza.  Both places had apartments or places where people live under or on top of the pizzerias and both places had lights on.  I was nervous as heck and my knees were knocking.  At the one place I did find a flour bag so I then knew what kind of flour they were using.  The other location I did see the cans of tomato sauce but then another member had already reported that.  I did not know at that location to look for just cardboard boxes that the cheddar might have come in.  I only found that out later.  As I ripped some trash bags apart as I said before there is a lot of them that just had leftover food or what might have been drinking cups and paper plates, or stuff like that.  At the one place when I was leaning over the trash can that was somewhat high I dropped my camera in that trash bag.  I was a nervous wreck that I would not get my camera but luckily I did get it.  I had planned to just take photos of what I might be able to see.  I did have some close calls in getting caught but luckily that did not happen. 

At another pizzeria I did ask questions but did not find out much.  I went to throw some trash into that dumpster when I left.  That dumpster was a big metal one and I would not have climbed in it.  I did not find out too much from that dumpster.

At still two more pizzerias I went in broad daylight even before I went into the pizzerias.  I found out some things in those dumpsters but still not everything.

One time in New York my friend did look in the dumpster in broad daylight to find out what flour they were using when I was along.  Another time in Philly my friend also looked to see what kind of flour they were using.  Those two times produced good results in what flour they were using. 

At another pizzeria in Philly I did ask what cheese the pie maker was using.  He did tell me and show me what cheese he was using.   

There is a couple of other things I want to mention that you might want to know.  It might depend on when someone picks up the dumpster trash as how much you will find out too.  Another way of finding out what they might use is to station yourself where you might see delivery drivers bringing ingredients into the pizzeria.  That method could take a long while though and I never went that route.  Other members here on the forum have gone dumpster diving.

To also let you know even if you know everything a pizzeria is using sometimes their ovens bake differently than what you use or you might never be able to figure out what dough formulation they are using. 

I will be interested in what you find out.   

The person I would like to hear explain about how he went about dumpster diving, or how he looked through Evelyne's garbage is Tom Lehmann the dough doctor.  At Reply 606 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg41054.html#msg41054  you can read what he did.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline tourmaline

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Location: Western U.S.
  • Hold the pepperoni - I'm vegetarian!
You are so funny, Norma. I was laughing the whole time I was reading your post! You really have a lot of experience in dumpster diving, I admire your dedication a lot. lol
I especially love the part about having a "dummy bag" with you to use as an excuse if you get caught skulking around the trash bin. haha, brilliant idea.  ;D

I will update this thread and let you know how it goes. I should be heading back to that pizzeria for dinner in the next three weeks or so, and I'll be on a quest for information - by whatever means necessary.  :chef: :pizza:
Thanks again!!