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Author Topic: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me  (Read 629 times)

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Offline jumpsuit23

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Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« on: April 02, 2021, 12:17:45 PM »
Hey all. I'm very new to pizza and I'm running into an issue with my cheese. The cheese seems to separate during the bake and I'm not sure if this is a temp problem or a quality of cheese problem. I used Polly O brand cheese for my pizza and I'm not sure if there are better alternatives available to me.

I live in Columbus Ohio so if anyone has any better suggestions of cheese, I'm very open to alternatives in my area.

Attached are my most recent attempts, thanks everyone!

Offline Peter B

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2021, 01:27:36 PM »
Hello and welcome!
I am in the area as well.  Did you get the Polly-O at Carfagna's?
A couple things on your cheese issue:
- can you detail how you cooked the pie?  The splitting seems to happen when the cheese is melted too fast or spends too much time under intense heat (like from a broiler), in my experience.
- one thing that will help at least a bit is to really cool down the cheese before using - as in, stick it in the freezer for 15 min or so before dressing the pie

You have a couple other options to try in the area:
- I regularly use Trader Joe's WMLM with very solid results.  I would suggest trying it.
- Depending on the amount of pizzas you make, you can get some Grande pre-shredded at a GFS.  I have made pizzas using Grande WMLM that I shredded from a block and it was excellent.  I have heard good things about the Primo Gusto brand there as well.  The issue is that you have to buy 5 pounds at a time.  You can portion it and freeze it if you have the space.
- If you can get access to the Restaurant Depot, they have commercial brands as well.  Other folks on this site would be able to recommend certain brands.
- I believe Cardinal Pizza uses Grande.  If you are bold enough to ask, they might just sell you some.
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline HansB

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2021, 02:03:39 PM »
Many here have had poor results with consumer Polly-O. Foodservice Polly-O is said to be good.
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Offline jumpsuit23

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2021, 02:05:53 PM »
So I used the baking technique outlined in Ken Forkish's book The Elements of Pizza. Preheated oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes. Turned broiler on for five minutes. Turned broiler off when launching and set oven back on 550 for the baking. Baked on stone about 6 inches from broiler for about 6-7 minutes.

Offline jumpsuit23

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2021, 02:25:53 PM »
The Polly O I found was actually at a local Walmart by Tuttle Mall. Which definitely fits the bill of lower quality consumer Polly O...

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Offline Peter B

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2021, 08:25:30 PM »
Carfagna's often has the deli sliced polly-o, but I still think that TJ's is better.
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline Peter B

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2021, 08:29:29 PM »
So I used the baking technique outlined in Ken Forkish's book The Elements of Pizza. Preheated oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes. Turned broiler on for five minutes. Turned broiler off when launching and set oven back on 550 for the baking. Baked on stone about 6 inches from broiler for about 6-7 minutes.
That does not sound too out of line, so I don't know what to tell you there.  The only thing I can think to offer is trying to get your cheese as cold as possible before baking. (the 15 min in the freezer trick).
Having said that - I shoot for 10 min bakes on my NY at 525-535. 
I would suggest trying both a different bake method and a different cheese (but change only one variable at a time, if possible).
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline jumpsuit23

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 11:18:57 AM »
I'll have to give TJs a try. I know half of my gripe is a preference thing. I'm not a fan of overly greasy pizza. Do you think this has more to do with the mozzarella being whole milk mozzarella or the heat being too high and causing it to release it's grease?

Offline Peter B

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2021, 11:36:57 AM »
Judging by the pics, my guess is that it is a heat issue that squeezed the fat out.  When I was trying to figure out a baking technique, I overbroiled one time.  Not only did I notice a lot of grease, but the actual cheese layer seemed quite a bit thinner.  It seems like the cheese is a sponge where the fat is one of the things that gives structure.  When you wring out that sponge, there's not much left.
But - there are plenty of people who prefer PS over WMLM, often due to not liking the grease.  So you could try that as well.  I don't really care for PS as it seems very soul-less to me.  I suspect an overwhelming amount of the pizza places around here use PS, which leads into one of my pizza theories.  I think pepperoni became an overly popular topping because people didn't think the cheese was good - so it was a way to cover it up.
Anyway - if you do go to GFS for cheese, most of what they have is PS.  Not saying that as a bad thing - just be sure to read the label and get whichever you seek.  Trader Joe's does have blocks of PS, in addition to the WMLM as well.  Now that I think of it - they have PS in slices.  Again - I am not a fan of PS, but it would be a really simple way to dress a pie.
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline jumpsuit23

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2021, 11:57:35 AM »
That's a good point. I really want to use the WMLM because using the best ingredients I can get my hands on is really the whole point of baking pies at home. But it's disheartening watching my better half blot her slice with a napkin. I guess I still have a lot to learn though!

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Offline Peter B

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2021, 03:59:35 PM »
I forgot to mention one thing.  Forkish doesn't really use sugar, oil, etc. in his doughs - and I think he generally calls for 00 flour, if I am not mistaken.  So those crusts are going to have a hard time browning at oven temps.  Hence, he calls for the most intense bake that you can do in a home oven.  One thing that you might consider is branching out into some other recipes, and trying ones that use malted flour, sugar, oil - things that will help with browning at a more gentle baking temp.  These are some of my favorite:
http://doughgenerator.allsimbaseball9.com/index.php
https://www.richardeaglespoon.com/articles/how-to-pizza (assuming you are going for a NY style)
The Pizza Bible is really helpful as well.
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline sal951

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2021, 01:08:41 PM »
(I promise this isn't a commercial and I don't work for any of these companies) I like grande cheese, which I know comes with some controversy around here, but I find that the melt for it gives me the flexibility I need in my home oven and the texture/flavor is better than what I can find at a grocery store. I too had the problem of lower quality grocery store cheeses oiling off too easily. Basically to get the crust where I wanted it, I'd end up with a greasy puddle on top of my pizza. The only problem for acquiring my cheese? Where do I get this or other restaurant grade cheeses like it locally? I don't operate a business and have a license to access a local restaurant depot, and in spite of being in a major metropolitan area, the only other smaller cash and carries I found also had the same barrier to entry for home cooks. Seems like the "big cheese" cartel really has it in for me. Many people here say to go to local pizzarias and ask for some of their cheese, but there are only a couple near me who I suspect have something good I'd like to use and they're not very close by and I'd feel a little awkward about it. That last bit probably isn't a good enough reason to avoid it, but I feel weird essentially asking a pizzaria I used to frequent to sell me cheese so I can replicate their products at home and not have to eat there anymore. Anyway, illogical personal reservations aside, I found that though they were far and few between there are indeed some places out there which will sell and ship these sorts of cheeses to you online.

I'm not sure what the rules are against essentially advertising or linking to some of these places but I found I can get the grande east coast blend I like for my regular NY style pizzas from Vern's Cheeses online, and that I can find the grande 50/50 mozz/provolone blend I personally like from a place called the pennsylvania macaroni co. out of Pittsburgh. I've gotten excellent service and quick shipping from both - with nice cold products arriving in coolers. The only problem is that its pretty pricey to ship pizza cheese. I buy a good amount at a time so I don't have to re-order all that often, but still - if I want to avoid the stores it's sort of what I'm stuck doing until I either just suck it up and ask a pizzaria for a bag of their cheese or find some backwards way to registering a restaurant business license in my state.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 01:10:15 PM by sal951 »

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2021, 01:21:18 PM »
Anything but pollyo (or pre-shredded). Pollyo is very wet.

Galbani from the grocery store is pretty good. Boars head from behind the deli counter is excellent, but pricey.


Edit: To Sal, I've bought cheese from pizzerias before. They usually don't mind. Show them a pic of your pizza and they'll likely start a conversation.

As to sourcing Grande otherwise,  it's tough. I'm lucky that there's a place near me that sells it. Restaurant Depot doesn't have grande, but do have other options. Maybe there's one near you?

« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 01:24:46 PM by hammettjr »
Matt

Offline sal951

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2021, 01:41:14 PM »
As to sourcing Grande otherwise,  it's tough. I'm lucky that there's a place near me that sells it. Restaurant Depot doesn't have grande, but do have other options. Maybe there's one near you?

There is one very close to me, and I think they carry a Saputo product I've tried before that is very high quality and would be a reasonable substitute for the Grande mozzarella I like, but to get a membership and enter I'd need a business license which I don't have.  :(

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2021, 02:35:48 PM »
There is one very close to me, and I think they carry a Saputo product I've tried before that is very high quality and would be a reasonable substitute for the Grande mozzarella I like, but to get a membership and enter I'd need a business license which I don't have.  :(

During covid they opened to the public. You just had to get a day pass when you walk in. Not sure if that's still the case. But it seems you can also get a membership through Kansas City BBQ Society for $40/year.

Matt

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Offline Peter B

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Re: Best Pizza Cheese Around Me
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2021, 08:21:47 PM »
During covid they opened to the public. You just had to get a day pass when you walk in. Not sure if that's still the case. But it seems you can also get a membership through Kansas City BBQ Society for $40/year.
Double check for threads on this. I think I saw one that said this is no longer the case.
Another thing to try is to see if you know anyone who has a license and can get you in. For example, I suspect churches do events sometimes and may shop there. It couldn’t hurt to ask around. There’s a guy with a radio show on career building, and he says something to the effect of “you already know everyone that you need to know”.
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

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