How do you know when to use which type of cheese for the menu item at hand, for maximum efficiency and cost savings — and all while still exceeding customer expectations?
The right cheese for the job — the benefits of each
Block (such as 2.3 kg Black Diamond Mild Cheddar Blocks or Racolli 17% Pizza Mozzarella Blocks)
- Flexibility to slice, shred and cut in-house for best portion control
- Versatility of being able to transform into a multitude of different formats, cuts and shapes to best suit maximum number of menu items from one block
- Made without anti-caking agents such as cellulose, which could impact cheese application performance
Pre-sliced (such as 500 g pre-sliced 14 g Mild Cheddar Slices)
- Lower labour costs and potentially higher yield in comparison to slicing in-house
- Faster speed of service
- Best used in high volume settings and especially for burgers and sandwiches
Shreds/Diced (such as Racolli 17% Pizza Mozzarella 2.27 kg Shreds)
- Consistency of shreds or dice size for best coverage on pizza, nachos, etc.
- Convenient and easy to use straight from the bag
- Reduces food handling and potential cross-contamination risks
Comparing milk fat in cheese for pizza
We spoke with Casey Zheng, Associate Brand Manager Lactalis Foodservice Canada (formerly Parmalat Foodservice), about her company’s cheeses in a variety of shred cuts suitable for pizza preparation. All provide the best performance possible in stretch, browning, melting and overall coverage. Higher milk fat (M.F.) cheese generally has a higher melt with lower stretch. When used on pizza, this deliver a greater sheen and “fattier” appearance with less browning. Typical ranges of M.F. for Pizza Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese are between 17% M.F., as in Racolli Pizza Mozzarella 17% Shred, and 31% M.F., as found in Black Diamond Cheddar Coloured Mild Shred.
Going “gourmet” with premium cheese
The benefits to including premium in your menu items:
- Lends a unique or unexpected flavour profile that will add a twist to traditional pizza and pasta applications
- Robust, bold and sharp flavours mean a little goes a long way
- Some full-flavoured premium cheese options with a focus on the flavours of Italy include Racolli Parmesan and Black Diamond Romano, while other “Old World” cheese selections such as Black Diamond Swiss and Président Double Crème Brie add authenticity and value to soups, sandwiches and more.
- Canadian versions of full-flavoured cheese made with 100% Canadian dairy offers a cost-effective alternative to give a gourmet boost to menu items
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Lactantia Butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) short-grain rice
- 1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped button mushrooms
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt & hot red pepper flakes
- 10 oz (300 mL) can undiluted chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) water
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Lactantia Spreadable Cream Cheese
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly grated Black Diamond Parmesan (optional)
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped parsley (optional)
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in rice until evenly coated. While constantly stirring, add mushrooms, white wine, salt and pepper flakes. Keep stirring frequently until wine is absorbed.
- Gradually stir in chicken broth, about a 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time. Stir frequently until most of the broth is absorbed before adding the next half-cup. Once absorbed, add water, half a cup at a time, stirring until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more. Stop adding once rice is tender and creamy, in 25 to 30 minutes.
- Stir in small spoonfuls of Lactantia Spreadable Cream Cheese, mixing well until all the cheese is used. Sprinkle with Black Diamond Parmesan and chopped parsley, if using.
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- 2 tsp (10 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 4 oz (120 g) Balderson Heritage 3-year aged Cheddar, shredded
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise (regular or light)
- salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
- Whisk milk and flour together in a medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add mustard.
- For a smooth dressing, add all of the cheese and stir until melted. Or, for a chunkier dressing, reserve ¼ cup (50 mL) of the cheese to add to cooled dressing. Let cool to room temperature.
- Whisk in mayonnaise; season to taste. For optimum flavour, serve at room temperature, but store in refrigerator.
- When shredding cheese, to prevent sticking, moisten shredder with water, or lightly spray with cooking spray.
- If desired, add crumbled crisp-cooked bacon, or finely chopped chives to dressing.
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) Lactantia Salted Butter
- 3 cups (750 mL) thinly sliced mushrooms
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) quartered, thinly sliced onions
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
- 2 cans (each 10 oz/300 mL) condensed beef broth
- 2 cups (500 mL) water
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) Worcestershire sauce
- 12 slices baguette bread, toasted
- 1/2 pkg Black Diamond Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Melt butter in large non-stick saucepan; add, cook and stir mushrooms and onions over medium heat until tender and any liquid has evaporated.
- Blend in flour; gradually stir in broth, water and Worcestershire sauce. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
- Ladle soup into 4 oven-proof soup bowls. Place 3 slices toasted bread in each bowl; top with cheese. Broil until cheese is melted.
- 1, 16-inch (40 cm) ball raw pizza dough
- 1 cup (250 mL) prepared rosé sauce
- 2 cups (500 mL) Racolli Pizza Mozzarella shredded cheese
- 1 cup (250 mL) bite-size pineapple pieces
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped sweet green bell peppers
- 1 cup (250 mL) dried tomato pieces
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped white onions
- 1 cup (250 mL) sliced black olives
- ½ cup (125 mL) sliced mushrooms
- On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough, stretching to fit on a lightly-greased, 16-inch (40 cm) pizza pan, allowing for 2-inch (5 cm) crust.
- Spread evenly with rosé sauce; sprinkle with half of the Racolli Pizza Mozzarella shredded cheese. Scatter green peppers evenly over surface, followed by tomatoes, then onion, then, olives, and finished with mushrooms. Sprinkle evenly with remaining Racolli Pizza Mozzarella shredded cheese.
- Bake in a pre-heated 450°F (230°C) oven until golden brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit for 3 minutes before slicing.
About the Author
A Stratford Chefs School graduate and Red Seal-certified chef, Alison cooked her way through many Toronto-based restaurants over the years, including as restaurant chef with MLSE at Air Canada Club in the Air Canada Centre. She went on to work in corporate test kitchens including Kraft Canada as foodservice chef and Loblaw Companies Limited as PC® test kitchen chef, and was also food editor at Canadian Living magazine and Best Health magazine.