Author Topic: matching your cheese to your oven  (Read 3182 times)

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Offline scott r

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matching your cheese to your oven
« on: May 15, 2008, 11:58:04 AM »
I have been getting a lot of questions from friends and even some pizzerias I have been working for lately about this subject, and I think it is an important thing to consider when shopping for ingredients.

What cheese best suits your pizza style and oven really has everything to do with how high you are going with your heat.  In taste tests with friends and family we have found that most people actually prefer the flavor of a standard dry mozzarella at lower temps, and a fresh mozzarella at higher temps. There is something about how they melt that actually effects flavor, and to use an expensive fresh mozzarella on a lower temperature pizza can almost be counterproductive. The same cheese I love on a 600 degree pizza usually tastes bland and boring on an ultra high temperature pizza even if I play games trying to hide the cheese under the sauce, or add it halfway through the bake.  Somewhere in between a fresh mozzarella and a dry aged (standard) mozzarella are the "cryo pack" style cheeses that are often labeled "fresh" but do not come in water.  In my experience This is your best bet for a medium speed pizza.  Buffalo mozzarella tends to be the best at coping with extreme high heat, and it is no surprise that this type is usually preferred for authentic neapolitan where the pizzas can be baked at speeds approaching 40 seconds!

I will give you a list of cheese types based on optimum flavor and performance relative to baking speeds.  Realize that there are some other variables that happen from brand to brand, such as the fact that grande dry mozzarella tends to do much better at higher temps than other manufacturers dry cheese, and also take into account that a cheese that is older will not perform as well as a younger cheese does unless you are using dry mozzarella which should take a few weeks after manufacturing to age properly before use to avoid what is called "green" cheese in the pizza industry.  Anything but dry aged (normal) mozzarella is at it's peak as soon as it cools from manufacture.

dry mozzarella 4-10 minutes or longer
cryo pack "fresh mozzarella" not in water 3-5 minutes
fresh mozzarella in water 1-4 minutes
buffalo mozzarella 45 sec - 3 minutes

When looking at other types of cheese such as fontina, provlolone, etc. I have found that in general the dryer the cheese the lower the temperature you can go with it.  Most provolones and cheddars are better for the long slow bakes involved with a standard 500 degree oven, while wet cheeses such as brie, goat, muenster, and gouda, tend to stand up better to higher temps.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 12:08:10 PM by scott r »


Offline Essen1

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Re: matching your cheese to your oven
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 11:01:33 PM »
Scotty,

I could imagine the reason why fresh mozzarella does better under higher temps is, because it has a higher water content.

And it could be that the water has to evaporate down to a certain level first, before the melting kicks in, hence holding up better under high heat?

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

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Offline scott r

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Re: matching your cheese to your oven
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 01:57:09 AM »
Great insight, that does seem to be the case.

Offline roksngr

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Re: matching your cheese to your oven
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2008, 02:18:30 AM »
Ya know, I never really thought about that, great info! Thanks!