The Grate Cheese Tasting

cb-1While always looking for new and tasty ways to make better pizza I came across a pizza cheese blending article in of all things “Pizza Today” magazine that referenced 11 possible cheese blends:

  • Mozzarella and provolone
  • Mozzarella and fontina
  • Fresh mozzarella and Parmesan
  • Mozzarella, fontina, Asiago, Parmesan (basic four-cheese blend, but Romano can be used in place of Parmesan)
  • Smoked mozzarella and brick
  • Smoked mozzarella and mozzarella
  • Cheddar and Monterey Jack (excellent for Mexican or Southwest-style pizzas)
  • Cheddar, mozzarella and provolone (also works well for Mexican pizza)
  • Gorgonzola and brick (60 percent brick to 40 percent Gorgonzola)
  • Muenster and Romano (70 percent Muenster to 30 percent Romano)
  • Mozzarella and feta (70 percent mozzarella to 30 percent feta)

Using a box grater that belonged to one of my grandmothers that I’ve had for over 40 years I prepped each blend. I found these quite nice seven inch pizza crusts made by Golden Home Baking hanging on a rack in the tomato sauce section, sort of a flat bread but perfect for what I was doing.

I use Pastorelli pizza sauce that’s actually still made in Chicago on west Lake Street in the Fulton Market district, it’s just the best and is truly a sauce not just tomatoes. You can find it in stores in the Chicago area but even better also in pre-measured packets at places like Cost Plus World Market stores where they also have vacuum packed pizza crusts, I can’t believe how perfect they are. Pastorelli has a search engine to help you find the products in your market.

cb-4So for the first batch I did just sauce and cheeses and the results of the tasting panel were not so much of a surprise but not terribly exciting and with some disagreement:

  • Cheddar and Monterey Jack were O.K. but the cheddar carried the flavor profile
  • Mozzarella and Provolone actually were neutral, not much going on
  • Mozzarella and Fontina had a nice depth that the Fontina brought in
  • Mozzarella, Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan blend was the stand alone best combination but not in a “wow was that something” way, pretty good thought.

Well then we had to go to the next step and add mushrooms and sausage to see if that changed the way the cheese tasted over all with a yes and no result.

  • Mozzarella and Provolone the addition of sausage and mushrooms had no real impact flavor profile impact, still average taste.cb-7
  • Cheddar and Monterey Jack – Cheddar was tasty with the sausage
  • Mozzarella and Fontina – The mushrooms worked well with Fontina and I liked the richer flavor profile
  • Mozzarella, Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan blend took on an upscale, almost premium flavor with the additional ingredients and that was the best of the batch.

So overall not the revelation I was hoping for but fun none the less.

cb-10One more thought from the article they tried mozzarella/Muenster/provolone mix that “…really works well, as the Muenster provides an extra creaminess to the pizza that is missing with the typical mozzarella/provolone mix.” Have ti try that next time.

Hope you got a bite out of my “grate” story.