Author Topic: Trying this one last time - Where can I find that delicious cheese used in NY?  (Read 13890 times)

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Offline norma427

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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!!

tourmaline,

I am glad my post made you laugh.   

Will be watching to see what you can find out. 

Reverse engineering a pizzerias pizza is harder than you might if there are no nutrition facts or ingredients lists.

Norma
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Offline Zing

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I've got a few comments to add to this subject, based upon my many years of walking past NY slice joints at the same time the drivers of wholesale food distributors unloaded a order and transported it via hand trucks over the sidewalk and into the front door of these pizzerias.

Most of the discussion on this cheese board involves branded cheese. Grande, Saputo and all the brands they snapped up, Lactalis and all the brands they snapped up, house brands of GFS, SYSCO, Performance Foods Group/Roma, US Foods, Belissimo Foods, Restaurant Depot, etc.

Yet, there is a lot of cheese bought by pizza operators in CT/NY/NJ/PA that is either unbranded or has the house brand (sometimes trademarked, sometimes not) of a small Italian Foods distributor with only one or a small number of warehouses.

I'm struggling to find a way to categorize all of the different cheeses that wind up being delivered to locations in CT/NY/NJ/PA. It could be that "that delicious cheese" is an unbranded commodity cheese or a joker brand sold by a mom-and-pop distributor.

I have not found one distributor in the area yet who makes his own cheese (not to say there aren't any, however). But I have found some surprising discoveries.

Land O' Lakes has a foodservice line of business:
http://www.landolakesfoodservice.com/

They have an ingredients line of business:
http://www.landolakes-ingredients.com/

Finally, they have an industrial line of business, products of which wound up in a mom-and-pop pizzeria:
http://www.landolakesindustrialcheese.com/

Of course, some of these products go into processed products like Land O' Lakes retail cheese products sold in supermarkets. But, this does show that big cheese companies make products you never hear about. How many of these "goodies" only get sold in the industrial marketplace in 640 pound blocks? And how can a pizza operator and the cloners on this site get hold of these "goodies"?

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service provides more data that you can digest:
http://www.nass.usda.gov/
For 2008, the last year I can find stats for, they list the following number of cheese plants in the big cheese producing states:
Wisconsin, 126
New York, 58
California, 57
Pennsylvania, 37
Vermont, 20.

Only some of these plants produce cheese used by pizza operators. If you go over these lists, you find names like Saputo. You will also find names of cheese factories that you never heard of (like K&K Cheese, LLC) because they sell to other companies, like Masters Gallery Foods, Incorporated:
http://www.mastersgalleryfoods.com
Firms like Masters Gallery do not make cheese from fluid milk, but process cheese made from other cheese makers. You probably have never heard of these firms before.

Like the old saying goes, this information and $2.50 will get you a ride on the New York Subway.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 11:07:28 PM by Zing »

Offline norma427

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I've got a few comments to add to this subject, based upon my many years of walking past NY slice joints at the same time the drivers of wholesale food distributors unloaded a order and transported it via hand trucks over the sidewalk and into the front door of these pizzerias.

Most of the discussion on this cheese board involves branded cheese. Grande, Saputo and all the brands they snapped up, Lactalis and all the brands they snapped up, house brands of GFS, SYSCO, Performance Foods Group/Roma, US Foods, Belissimo Foods, Restaurant Depot, etc.

Yet, there is a lot of cheese bought by pizza operators in CT/NY/NJ/PA that is either unbranded or has the house brand (sometimes trademarked, sometimes not) of a small Italian Foods distributor with only one or a small number of warehouses.

I'm struggling to find a way to categorize all of the different cheeses that would up being delivered to locations in CT/NY/NJ/PA. It could be that "that delicious cheese" is an unbranded commodity cheese or a joker brand sold by a mom-and-pop distributor.

I have not found one distributor in the area yet who makes his own cheese (not to say there aren't any, however). But I have found some surprising discoveries.

Land O' Lakes has a foodservice line of business:
http://www.landolakesfoodservice.com/

They have an ingredients line of business:
http://www.landolakes-ingredients.com/

Finally, they have an industrial line of business, products of which wound up in a mom-and-pop pizzeria:
http://www.landolakesindustrialcheese.com/

Of course, some of these products go into processed products like Land O' Lakes retail cheese products sold in supermarkets. But, this does show that big cheese companies make products you never hear about. How many of these "goodies" only get sold in the industrial marketplace in 640 pound blocks? And how can a pizza operator and the cloners on this site get hold of these "goodies"?

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service provides more data that you can digest:
http://www.nass.usda.gov/
For 2008, the last year I can find stats for, they list the following number of cheese plants in the big cheese producing states:
Wisconsin, 126
New York, 58
California, 57
Pennsylvania, 37
Vermont, 20.

Only some of these plants produce cheese used by pizza operators. If you go over these lists, you find names like Saputo. You will also find names of cheese factories that you never heard of (like K&K Cheese, LLC) because they sell to other companies, like Masters Gallery Foods, Incorporated:
http://www.mastersgalleryfoods.com
Firms like Masters Gallery do not make cheese from fluid milk, but process cheese made from other cheese makers. You probably have never heard of these firms before.

Like the old saying goes, this information and $2.50 will get you a ride on the New York Subway.

Zing,

I think your post is very good.  I don't think I understand all there is to know about the many brands or no name brands of cheeses that pizza businesses have access to. 

Do you have other links to explain more? 

Norma
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Offline Zing

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I've have a file begun three years ago with links to lots of pizza ingredient sources. I will post more relevant links as time permits.

Offline norcoscia

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Finally found some Calabro Cheese
« Reply #64 on: November 13, 2013, 07:06:06 AM »
A while back I went to LA, unfortunately all six of the stores that carried Calabro Cheese where out. As luck would have it I went back last week and one of the stores had some. Can someone tell me if this is the right one. It is not marked aged but it also does not say fresh. 

I made my dough on Monday so I plan to make some pies this afternoon. I also ordered some Vermont smoked pepperoni so hoping this is going to be a great pizza day (assuming I can get the UUNI to play nice)

PS. I also found some interesting flour that I used - ConAgra ISIS Unbleached First Clear Flour - Approximate analysis (14% moisture): Protein 13.9%, Ash 0.85% - should be fun.....


Offline mbrulato

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Norcosia,

Fior di Latte refers to fresh mozzarella. The cheese in your picture appears to be very white, which means it's fresh versus the aged mozzarella which has a bit of a yellowish tint to it.  The Whole Foods near me sells Calabro and the label is either marked whole milk mozzarella or part skim mozzarella.  Either way, I'm sure this cheese will be good on your pizza.  Let us know how it goes.

Mary Ann
Mary Ann

Offline norcoscia

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Thanks Mary Ann,

Boy, it sure is hard to find the aged Calabro here in San Diego - I hope the fresh one tastes OK because I purchased 3 lbs (since I usually don't get up to LA).

Does anyone know if it is possible to mail order the aged Calabro - I did a quick google search but did not find anything?

Offline mbrulato

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Norcosia,

I believe that Calabro is located in Connecticut.  I'm not sure if you can mail order from them.  www.calabrocheese.com.

Or you might try this http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/store-locations?store=6568.  Maybe they'll have it  ;). My local store carries both WM and PS mozzarella as well as ricotta cheese in 8 oz. and 16 oz. sizes.

Mary Ann
Mary Ann

Offline norcoscia

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Thanks again, I sent Calabro an email to see if they mail order (or if they know anyone that does). I shop alot at my local whole foods, unfortunately they don't carry Calabro out here in San Diego (that was the first place I tried).

I went back and looked at my old post -- Scott123 even warned me to be carful about finding the aged - my fault for not printing the picture he posted.

My quest for the perfect pie continues!!!!


Offline Zing

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Like a lot of companies today, companies post product information on Facebook rather than update their websites. Calabro has a product guide on their Facebook photos section:
https://www.facebook.com/CalabroCheese/photos_albums


Offline norcoscia

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2 pies, one with Calabro "Fior di Latte"
« Reply #70 on: November 14, 2013, 07:53:52 AM »
I decided to move my steel plate from the UUNI and into my home oven.  I placed it about 3 inches from the broiler top element and preheated the oven to 550 for about 30 min. Just before sliding the pies in I turned on the broiler.

Both pies cooked in under 2 min but I had to take the second one out and finish the top on a pan since the bottom was getting too done. I think next time I may try something different, just not sure what.

The pies tasted good and I got great oven spring, first pie is cheese-less since my better half does not eat dairy, second one has the Calabro Fior di Latte cheese and Vermont smoked pepperoni.

Offline mbrulato

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Looks great!  How was the Calabro and Vermont pepperoni?
Mary Ann

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Re: 2 pies, one with Calabro "Fior di Latte"
« Reply #72 on: November 14, 2013, 08:54:42 AM »
I decided to move my steel plate from the UUNI and into my home oven.  I placed it about 3 inches from the broiler top element and preheated the oven to 550 for about 30 min. Just before sliding the pies in I turned on the broiler.

Both pies cooked in under 2 min but I had to take the second one out and finish the top on a pan since the bottom was getting too done. I think next time I may try something different, just not sure what.


You got 2 minutes using a 1/4" steel plate? That's a bit surprising.

I use 1/2" and get about 2-2.5 minutes at 550, which is too fast for me. I drop my temp to 475-500 and will cook for 5-6 minutes (broiler for 4 minutes). Since you are using 1/4", I'd try 500-525 and 4 minutes broiler the entire bake. Your pizza looks good either way!
Josh

Offline norcoscia

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Hi Mary Ann, the cheese was good but not worth the money it cost me - I don't think it was noticeably better than Polly-O and that is soooo... much easer to get in San Diego, I would still like to try the "non-fresh" Calabro cheese but not sure I'm going to have much luck finding any. Pep was good, I liked it a little better than the Margarita I have been using.

Hi JD, yes ~2 min - could have been 10 sec either way, it was a bit hectic since this was my first bake with steel in the oven. I just measured where the plate ended up,looks like it was 2.5 inches from the top heating element.

I wish I had measured the steel temp before I cooked. I suspect my oven might have super heated the steel, I think the top element comes on while it is preheating and it was very close. I just scraped the steel and moved it down one notch so it will be at ~4.5 inches from the broiler and I'm going to lower the oven to 500 - agree, 2 min is just too fast - I'm going to try for about 3 min on the next go-round



Offline chasenpse

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I've done it - I've finally captured my white whale. By chance I happened to stop by a Whole Foods that just opened up less than a month ago literally right down the road and ran into an old friend from a previous job working at the specialty counter, when I asked about Calabro she lead me right to it, no biggie. I was so happy I hugged her, and then proceeded to explain my venture trying to find this one particular cheese. Anyways, here it is - a 1lb block of Calabro whole milk mozzarella at $6.39 each. I hope to make a pie using it tomorrow.
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Offline norcoscia

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Nice score - I'm very jealous.....

Offline mbrulato

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I've done it - I've finally captured my white whale. By chance I happened to stop by a Whole Foods that just opened up less than a month ago literally right down the road and ran into an old friend from a previous job working at the specialty counter, when I asked about Calabro she lead me right to it, no biggie. I was so happy I hugged her, and then proceeded to explain my venture trying to find this one particular cheese. Anyways, here it is - a 1lb block of Calabro whole milk mozzarella at $6.39 each. I hope to make a pie using it tomorrow.

Let us know how you like it.  I need cheese for this weeks pies and am torn between buying Frigo loaf from Costco, Calabro at Whole Foods or Restaurant Depot for something different than the Supremo Italiano...
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 07:11:47 PM by mbrulato »
Mary Ann

Offline chasenpse

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I love this cheese already, and I haven't even tried a slice of my pie. "Buttery popcorn" could not have been a better description for this, after opening the package you can smell it and it filled the air during my bake. On top of that I've never seen my starter work so well on a batch of dough, they must have known they were going to be apart of something special :P Here's pics of my dough and a before and after bake. Baked at 500F on a stone for 6 1/2 minutes. Can't wait to try a slice!!
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Offline pythonic

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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!

The first few pies I made were with the sargento blend your mentioned.  I also dusted with some reggiano.  I must admit it was damn good.  Now I just use a blend of boars head and sargento mozzarella with grande prov.
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Offline pythonic

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I love this cheese already, and I haven't even tried a slice of my pie. "Buttery popcorn" could not have been a better description for this, after opening the package you can smell it and it filled the air during my bake. On top of that I've never seen my starter work so well on a batch of dough, they must have known they were going to be apart of something special :P Here's pics of my dough and a before and after bake. Baked at 500F on a stone for 6 1/2 minutes. Can't wait to try a slice!!

Well either you have been too busy stuffing your face to post or the Calabro was a let down.
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.


 

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