Pizza Today - May 2017 - 36

in the kitchen / INGREDIENTS

STORY JOHN GUTEKANST

PHOTO JOSH KEOWN

C

heese is life. Anyone
who owns and operates
a pizzeria knows this
intuitively. For most of
us in this great pizza
country, cheese is on
almost every pizza and
is the most expensive of
the holy trinity with its pals of crust and
sauce. The moment cost, quality and
usage is ignored, we are doomed to pay
more, either in customer loss, inconsistent topping and just downright higher
prices.
Years ago, I thought that aged mozzarella and provolone were at the low
end of the cheese price spectrum, but
they are not (especially when you factor
in flavor intensity and pairing). That's
when I started to experiment with other
cheese blends, using less of each but
more diverse kinds on each pizza to
achieve more flavor. I also learned how
to manipulate other factors like textures,
toppings and sauces with my cheeses in
my menu mix.
I realized that by trying different
cheeses and methods, I could not only
mimic flavor profiles from around the
world, but also turn my customers on to
tastes they've never had. It also set me
apart from those corporate nugs down
the street. I now have a marketing goldmine with local feta, Gruyère, Asiago,
local goat Romano, manchego (see page
40 for some out-of-this-world manchego recipes), fontina and even some
wildly intense Oud Brugge (the aged
gouda from Belgium) in my repertoire.
As I began to push the limits on my
cheese use, I found that some genius
combos are initiated out of curiosity
and price ... while sometimes a cheese
combination is based on necessity. This
is exactly what happened to me last
month.

3 6 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / M AY 2 0 1 6

I was invited by my friend and
champion Bruno DiFabio to help
him open a pizzeria in Amman,
Jordan. Because it was destined to be

the premier New York-style pizza place
in the Middle East, we had to have
ricotta on the menu. Unfortunately,
ricotta was not only hard to find, but it
was also tremendously expensive. After
going to the store, we were surprised
at the quality and diversity of the local
sheep's milk cheeses. They were delicious and cheap, so we bought a mild
Palestinian sheep's milk cheese called
Nabulsi and ground it up with some
heavy cream. The fresh taste was a perfect match for ricotta!
Here are some modern cheeses
that are very popular with modern consumers. Important factors

for cheeses are placement on the pizza,
which ovens with and the temperature
at which you are baking. For example,
Brie cannot be run through the oven or
it turns to butter and loses its... 'Brieness.' High-fat cheddar will burn in a
conveyor oven, but not in a deck oven.
Here are some cheeses I like to use:
* Brie: Just the use of this name
brings forth joy and happiness to many
people. I use this as a finish after the
bake. You may wait several minutes
and then thinly slice (chilled) slivers
and place in a spoked-wheel fashion
around the pizza for a French "wow."
Brie is good with caramelized onion,
fennel, mushrooms, pear, apple, fig jam,
cherry compote, arugula, nuts and even
finished with pickled strawberries. Brie
is about 31 cents per ounce, but it's
famous name sells itself on pizzas and
sandwiches.
* Gruyere: Known by some of my
staff as "the stinky stuff," this big cheese
has made fondue famous and can enhance any pizza combining with a small

amount of aged mozzarella. Flavor
combinations are perfect for onions and
mushroom, leek, fruit such as apple and
pear, asparagus, spicy peppers, potatoes, spinach, thyme and eggs. Oh, and
don't forget...wait for it...bacon! This
is a whopping 61 cents per ounce, but
ground up like Parmesan only an ounce
or two packs a flavor punch.
* Feta: We use a tremendous
amount of local feta with a few Greek
pizza combinations that include aged
provolone. Pairing with spinach and
tomato with olives is genius. Other
profiles include: eggplant, artichoke,
dill, figs, potatoes, onion, lemon, garlic,
ricotta, Alfredo sauce, scallion, sundried tomato, balsamic vinegar, sausage,
chorizo and salami. Feta is only 16 cents
per ounce and marries perfectly with
cream sauces or as a bright white finish
to darker pies. Cheaper feta tends to
burn in conveyor ovens, so be sure to
test first.
* Fontina: This has a mild, nutty
flavor and is famous for its use in
"Fonduta," the famous Italian egg and
cream dish to die for. Fontina is aged
for four months and pairs well with
Parmesan and ricotta. The toppings that
really make this sing are onions, zucchini, basil, artichokes, pears, walnuts,
tomato and winter squashes, as well as
plums, potato, sage, white truffle oil and
mushrooms. The younger domestically
produced "Fontinella" is cheaper, aged
for only two months, has a similar but
muted Fontina taste but has more of
a white-American melt. True Fontina
from Italy can cost from 80 cents to
$1.10 an ounce, where Fontinella can be
24 cents per ounce.
* Jarlsberg: This Swiss cheese is
from Norway (go figure) and adds
a nutty, sweet Swiss flavor to pizzas.
Melted and left for a long amount of
time, it tends to present a chalky ap-


http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Pizza Today - May 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - May 2017

Pizza Today - May 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Knead to Know
Flooring Options
Specialty Cheese Pairings
Manchego
Eliminating Spoilage
Cheese Pricing
Grand Openings
Pizza Today on the Road: Riverboat Pizza Co., Savannah, GA
Pizza Today on the Road: Stoner’s Pizza Joint, Savannah, GA
International Pizza Expo Wrap Up
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - May 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - May 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Pizza Today - May 2017
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - May 2017 - On Tap
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Flooring Options
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Specialty Cheese Pairings
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 36
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 38
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Manchego
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 42
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Eliminating Spoilage
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 46
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Cheese Pricing
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 50
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Grand Openings
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 54
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Riverboat Pizza Co., Savannah, GA
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 58
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Stoner’s Pizza Joint, Savannah, GA
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 61
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 62
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - May 2017 - International Pizza Expo Wrap Up
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 66
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 72
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - May 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 81
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 82
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 83
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 84
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 85
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 86
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 87
Pizza Today - May 2017 - 88
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - May 2017 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202112
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202111
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202110
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202109
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202108
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/pizzatoday/202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/expo_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pizzatoday/201507
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com