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Author Topic: Homemade Provel Cheese  (Read 2836 times)

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Offline HouseofProvel

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2023, 11:58:20 AM »
Looks good.  Were you able to taste the chilies in the resultant cheese?

You're able to find brick cheese in Missouri?  Do you mind if I ask where?  My family is still in St. Louis, so I could maybe pick some up next time I visit.

I could taste the chilies in the cheese when eaten on its own or on a sandwich but the flavor was lost on a pizza. It wasn't spicy but it did have a nice mild Jalapeno flavor to it.

You can get Brick cheese in a big commercial loaf at Restaurant Depot on Manchester Ave, its now open to the public. For smaller 1 pound blocks I've found it at the Whole Foods Town and Country store. Both also have Polly-o smoked Mozzarella.


Would using a double-boiler made up with pans you already have solve this problem?

It might but I've never tried doing it. I don't see why it wouldn't work. Making Provel is really just making a cheese sauce and then pouring it into a mold after all.

I might give that a try to see if I can get a bigger yield in one go.

Offline tracy

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2023, 10:41:07 AM »
It might but I've never tried doing it. I don't see why it wouldn't work. Making Provel is really just making a cheese sauce and then pouring it into a mold after all.

I might give that a try to see if I can get a bigger yield in one go.

I tried making a 1.5 lb batch using a double boiler on Sunday compared to the tri-ply sauce pan or saucier I used previously for the same batch size.  The double boiler was dramatically less efficient than the pan/saucier.  It took approximately an hour to melt all of the cheese into a cohesive mass, versus the 20 to 30 minutes it might taken over direct heat.  I used a 4 qt sauce pan and a medium-sized vintage heavy-duty Corningware/Pyrex bowl that fit snuggly into the pan, so the transfer of heat was about as efficient as I could have achieved, short of using a metal bowl instead. 

The 1.5 lbs of cheese was already about the limit of what I would have been comfortable melting in the bowl/pan combo I used.  Short of a stock pot and a large metal mixing bowl I have, I don't really have a set up to try using the double boiler with a larger amount of cheese.  All that said, a thin layer of melted cheese still adhered itself to the bowl anyway.  I was never at risk of burning the cheese, but as long as you use a good quality pan, low heat, and stir constantly, that's not really a concern over direct heat either.

My takeaway:  it works, but isn't worth it, unless you have a lot of time on your hands, have some large equipment, and want to make large (3 lbs or more) batches. 

Offline HouseofProvel

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2023, 01:45:40 AM »
I went and invested in a Cuisinart double boiler pan for this experiment and future uses. I normally make all my cheeses as a single batch to avoid burning and liked the idea of having a "buffer zone" so to speak. I also decided to make the most smokey form of Provel I could by splurging a little on the ingredients because why not?

This was the recipe I used:
150 grams heavy whipping cream
10 grams salt
26 grams sodium citrate
185 grams Polly-O smoked Mozzarella
230 grams Cabot Monterey Jack
229 grams Red Apple smoked Gruyere
211 grams Ashley Chase Estate smoked seaside cheddar

It took about 30-40 minutes to melt everything and nothing burned. As long as you're willing to put in the effort, good results will follow for sure. I know my wife still prefers the direct heat method for the speed, but it makes a good cheese either way.

Offline tracy

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2023, 09:12:51 AM »
I've been unable to find blocks of Swiss cheese at my local grocery store for the past month, so I've been substituting whole milk high moisture mozzarella.  I've not tried any of the resultant cheese yet, but the cheddar, provolone, and mozzarella combo is much easier to work with than the cheddar, provolone, and Swiss.  Due to the higher moisture content, it comes together more easily during the process, pours more easily into the loaf pan, and still has some bounce to it once it firms up.  The cheddar, provolone, and Swiss version firmed up like a brick.

The recipe, for approximately 3.5 lbs of cheddar, provolone, and mozzarella Provel:
204 grams heavy whipping cream
40 grams sodium citrate
18 grams fine sea salt
16 ounces Cabot white cheddar
16 ounces Galbani whole milk high moisture mozzarella
~16 ounces (some times a little more, some times a little less, depends on the exact package weights they have available) sliced provolone from the deli counter (not sure the brand, probably either Boar's Head or Deitz and Watson)
10 grams liquid smoke

I don't weigh the cheese, I just go by the weights on the packages, assuming truth in labeling.  I weigh everything else though.  I find it easier to melt the mozzarella first, then move to the cheddar and the provolone. 

I'll use some of this batch for the first time this weekend, so I'll some pictures showing how it turned out.  There's something about the cheddar, provolone, and Swiss combo that I've made previously that doesn't replicate the cheese found on St. Louis style pizza.  It doesn't have that creamy/soupy quality once baked that is a hallmark of St. Louis style (in my opinion).  I'm hoping this mozzarella version will be closer.

Online foreplease

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2023, 05:35:05 PM »
Iíve never had Provel (maybe on a pizza in St. Louis once around 1980). It sounds like you have a nice work around. Whole milk mozzarella is a wonderful melter in my book. If you find you miss the Swiss, you could try substituting Gruyere, which is another fabulous cheese, at about half the Mount of Swiss your recite calls for and WMM for the rest. I think Gruyere is a little stronger, but in a good way; nutty with a lot of depth. Itís pretty easy to find in packages of about 7 oz in large grocery stores.


It all comes down to what you like. Iíd be tempted to try it as I described but it may not interest you. I am kind of fascinated by the Provel subject, tbh,
-Tony

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Offline tracy

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2023, 08:46:32 AM »
One of the pizzas from this past weekend made using the provolone, cheddar, and mozzarella blend (6 ounces sauce, 8 ounces cheese, 5 ounces pepperoni). I thought it turned out well. I prefer the melt of the mozzarella blend versus the traditional Swiss. Itís closer to what I grew up with at local Italian restaurants, but still not quite the same. As unappetizing as it sounds, thereís still a soupy quality to the cooked cheese that Iím not replicating. I can purchase prepackaged IMOís branded shredded or roped Provel, but this is also missing that soupy quality (itís hard to describe what Iím talking about if you havenít ever experienced it). Iíve got 7.5 lbs of the mozzarella blend in my fridge and freezer that I need to work through, but I think I may try upping the amount of cream in the blend the next time I make it.

Offline HouseofProvel

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2023, 08:19:23 PM »
Here is a pan pizza I made with the homemade Provel. It can still get that soupy texture to it. I think to get that it may come down to partially the cheese: how much fat and or liquid is used to make it, partially the sauce: how much is used and how loose it is, partially the fat content of the meat toppings, and the time and temp of the cook.

I do have a pan pizza in my fridge I can make tomorrow to try to get that soupy cheese on top. I'll take some notes and see how it goes.

Edit: Also wanted to mention I hate Swiss cheese. I almost never use the stuff in my own Provel. Gruyere, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Brick Cheese, and Mozzarella are all great subs for Swiss.

Next thing on my list to try is Saganaki Cheese in Provel. I think that one might be a winner.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2023, 08:33:08 PM by HouseofProvel »

Offline tracy

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2023, 03:09:37 PM »
I used up the last of the cream I had on hand last night making a new batch, this time with store-brand provolone, the whole milk high moisture Galbani mozzarella (in place of the Swiss), and Cabot Monterey Jack (in place of the while cheddar).  I liked the look of the melt as it was coming together, so I have high hopes for this formulation.  We'll see how it performs this weekend.

Offline tracy

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2023, 07:57:54 AM »
I liked how the provolone, mozzarella, Monterey Jack blend turned out.  In texture, it is much closer to the Provel ropes you can get in the St. Louis area from local grocery stores.  If I was making this for a salad, I think it would be spot on.

The melt was better, but still not exactly what I was going for.  Thinking it was possibly a lack of cheese issue, I upped the cheese by 50% for a 16-inch pizza, from 8 ounces to 12 ounces, which turned out to be a mistake.  It ended up just melting off of the edge of the pizza. 

I next tried ~10 ounces, but instead of evenly distributing the cheese across the pizza, I did this instead:  applied the sauce in a thin, even layer with an offset spatula, then applied the layer of pepperoni to act as a barrier between the sauce and the cheese, then I finally added the cheese, aiming to keep it a little pooled towards the center of the pizza, with approximately an inch boarder between the edge of the pizza and the cheese.  Some combination of these changes (the pepperoni and the cheese) seemed to have done the trick.  The cheese stayed liquidous even after sitting on the counter for 5-10 minutes.  I didn't take any pictures of this one, but I'm planning to refine this method next weekend, so I'll take some then.

Offline tracy

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Re: Homemade Provel Cheese
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2023, 02:17:25 PM »
Picture of a STL style with the mozzarella, provolone, and Monterey Jack blend and concentrating the cheese ~1 inch from the edge during topping.

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