Pizza Cheese Blends

There are nearly 70,000 pizzerias in the United States, so it can be an ongoing task to set yours apart from the one down the street. Amidst the flurry of social media, email marketing, signage and promotions, did you ever consider what your cheese can do to help your business stand out?

While mozzarella will always be the cheese of choice for pizza, many pizzeria operators have discovered that using a custom blend of cheeses gives their pizzas a unique taste that customers notice—and crave.

Cheese blending offers both functionality and flavor, says Mark “The Cheese Dude” Todd, culinary consultant for the California Milk Advisory Board in Modesto, California. “Different cheeses will give you the stretch, coverage and browning you need as well as build a unique flavor profile,” he says. “The good thing is, there’s virtually no cheese you can’t make work on pizza.”

Ingredients

3 oz. pesto sauce
1 10” extra-thin pizza crust (tart dough or cracker crust preferred)
1 oz. minced garlic
2 oz. shredded Pesto Jack
3 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 oz. grated Dry Jack
6-8 large basil leaves, fried until crisp and slightly darkened

Directions

Spread pesto sauce thinly over crust; sprinkle evenly with garlic. Sprinkle with Pesto Jack, then with mozzarella. Bake at 475°F until the crust has a golden edge and crisp bottom and cheese is slightly browned. Garnish with Dry Jack and basil leaves.

Blendables

So are you ready to do a little experimenting? “Every cheese blend usually starts with part-skim mozzarella, or ‘pizza cheese,’ as its primary component,” Todd says. “Part-skim mozzarella melts, flows and browns well, so it’s a good bulk cheese.” The standard blending ratios are 80/10/10 or 80/20, with the typical additions being cheddar, provolone, whole-milk mozzarella and Monterey Jack. “If you want to set yourself apart, use 80% part-skim mozzarella, 10% cheddar, and 10% of something with a lot of flavor, such as blue cheese, smoked mozzarella or pepper Jack,” he advises. “Even if you get a base blend from your distributor, you can still add in your own special cheese to maximize the flavor.”