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It’s The Cheese That Makes Our Mouths Water!

Posted by Lock On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

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Let’s face it, one of the favorite ingredients of any pizza is the cheese.  It’s that hot and stringy cheese that separates pizza from all other foods. The moment you pull that slice from the pie and the hot stringy cheese stretches unto your plate, we all get excited about “what’s next”.

Let’s take a moment to look a little closer at this wonderful an essential ingredient of our beloved pie.
Most pizzas are made with mozzarella cheese. Though this may vary from time to time, mozzarella cheese is by far the favorite when constructing a delicious pizza.

What is mozzarella cheese? Where exactly does it come from? How is it made? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

Mozzarella cheese is a sliceable curd cheese originating in Italy. That’s probably not a surprise to you. Traditional mozzarella is made from water buffalo (Ok, before your eyes get big, not the North American buffalo or bison as many people mistakenly think) milk, and its flavor is highly prized. Water buffalo milk is three times more expensive than cow’s milk and is costly to ship, so expect a corresponding high price tag on imported buffalo mozzarella.

These animals are typically only herded in a few select countries, primarily Italy and Bulgaria.  Due to this, most mozzarella as we know it, is now made from cow’s milk. Water buffalo milk is very high in fat and in many cases is not easily digestible in its raw form. As such, it is used exclusively for making mozzarella and not as a beverage.

Mozzarella contains 40 to 45 percent fat, although there are now lower fat, skim versions available as we’ve seen them make their way into the “low fat” pizza market space.

This type of mozzarella cheese is not aged like most cheeses and is actually best when eaten within hours of its making. The process of making mozzarella is called pasta filata, which means the curds are heated in water or whey until they form strings (hence the term “string cheese”) and become elastic in texture. The curds are stretched, kneaded until smooth, and then formed into round balls to make fresh mozzarella cheese.

Different Mozzarella Cheese Types – Fresh Mozzarella Varieties

Mozzarella is not aged and is best when eaten within hours of its making.

Most people are quite familiar with mozzarella cheese. It is the cheese traditionally used on pizzas and to make fried cheese sticks. It’s important to note, there is quite a difference in flavor and texture between fresh mozzarella and processed sliced or shredded mozzarella, and it’s well worth your time to understand the differences.

It is easy to make homemade mozzarella cheese, and it can be used in a variety of recipes, including salads, meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables.

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh mozzarella cheese balls are sold in a brine, whey or water solution which helps them retain hydration and shape. It is smooth, mild, and slightly sweet/sour with a distinct milk flavor. The texture is creamy and much softer than mass-processed mozzarella cheese forms that are familiar to most. True buffalo mozzarella is much superior to any made with cow’s milk and is highly sought throughout the world.

Small balls (typically about one inch in diameter) of fresh mozzarella marinated in plain or herbed olive oil are called boconccini. Smoked mozzarella is known as mozzarella affumicata. Manteca is fresh mozzarella molded around a piece of butter.

Mozzarella rolls can be found with fillings of olives, prosciutto, Parma ham, sun-dried tomatoes, and any variety of herbs. The simplest and most enjoyable way to eat fresh mozzarella is with sliced fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. You’ll see this dish in a variety of forms served in many authentic Italian restaurants.

Fresh mozzarella is in high demand across America. It can typically be found in most common commercial grocery stores and in some Italian markets. It’s a good idea to keep fresh mozzarella in its liquid bath until ready to eat, and eat. This will usually last 2 to 3 days. If you choose to purchase fresh mozzarella you should always check the product dating and buy the freshest cheese that you can find. It’s preferable to purchase cheese made the same day. It’s also important to note, fresh mozzarella becomes bitter and sour with age. Freezing this type of cheese is also not recommended.

Processed Mozzarella Cheese

Contrary to fresh mozzarella, mass-produced mozzarella cheese is dryer, less flavorful, and has a rubbery texture. This bears little resemblance to its fresh counterpart. It’s quite a firm cheese that melts easily, which makes it best used as a binder for sauces, for melted toppings, and in baked dishes like our beloved pizza pies. Processed mozzarella cheese is easily attainable in part skim, low-fat, and non-fat versions. It’s typically packaged in pre-sliced or shredded assortments. It’s a good idea to keep processed mozzarella cheese tightly wrapped. It can usually be used within 2 to 4 weeks, if you want it to retain its full flavor.

The next time you sink your teeth into your favorite pizza pie, remember it’s the cheese that makes our eyes widen and lips smack. “Oh my”, pizza, what a wonderful and delightful treat.

History of Chicago Style Pizza

Posted by Lock On October - 18 - 2015 3 COMMENTS

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The Chicago-style “deep-dish” pizza that many people love was invented at Pizzeria Uno, in Chicago, in 1943, reportedly by Uno’s founder Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football star. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno’s original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the famous recipe.

The pizza’s foundation is simple. It uses a thick layer of dough (made with olive oil and cornmeal) that is formed to a deep round pan and pulled up the sides. The pizza crust is then parbaked before the toppings are added to give it greater spring.

Parbaking is a cooking technique in which a bread or dough product is partially baked and then rapidly frozen or cooled. The raw dough is baked as if normal, but halted at about 80% of the normal cooking time, when it is rapidly cooled and frozen. The partial cooking kills the yeast in the bread mixture, and sets the internal structure of the proteins and starches (the spongy texture of the bread), so that it is now essentially cooked inside, but not so far as to have generated “crust” or other externally desirable qualities that are difficult to preserve once fully cooked.

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Pizza, Hot Off The Grill…

Posted by Lock On September - 30 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

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Pizza, Hot Off the Grill

 

 


Reported by: Paul Kita

Real pizza will change your life.

No, not those faux-‘talian discs served up with a cardboard tang, courtesy of your local pizza chain.

We’re talking about pies with flamelicked crusts puffed to perfection. Pies with pools of earthy olive oil and a slather of savory tomato sauce. Start here, and you may never wait for the delivery man again. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

“Authentic pizza is simple, yet it does amazing things with tastes and textures and aromas,” says Mathieu Palombino, chef and owner of Motorino, a Naples-style pizzeria in Brooklyn. “The best pizza satisfies the soul,” he says.

After moving to New York in 2000, Palombino worked for Laurent Tourondel, a prestigious French chef. But Palombino couldn’t shake his taste for the homemade pizza he ate as a child in an Italian family. So last year he opened Motorino, where the pizza ovens run on wood and his burning passion.

He pulls a pizza margherita out of the 900°F oven. Molten mozzarella bubbles, fresh basil melds with red sauce, and steam rises from the puffed, crackling crust.

“This doesn’t look like Pizza Hut, does it?” he says.

But you don’t have go to Naples or even New York City for a taste of old-world pizza. Try your backyard.

“Besides an authentic brick oven, your grill is the best way to cook a pizza,” says Palombino. “It’s much faster than your home oven, there’s less mess, and you have more control over the quality of your pizza.”

With Palombino as your sous chef, you’ll be flinging dough and melding delicious toppers like a true pizzaiolo. Why tip the delivery guy when you can do it better yourself?

Step 1: Develop Your Dough
“You can make good dough in a few very easy steps,” Palombino says. The key is exact measurements and a brief workout for your forearms.

What you’ll need:
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups warm water (77° to 81°F)
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt

How to make it:
1. Let the yeast dissolve in the warm water for about 5 minutes.

2. Combine the flour and salt and dump the mixture onto a flat surface. Make a depression in the middle, pour the yeast and water into it, and combine the dry and wet ingredients by hand until the dough starts to come together. Keep working the dough with the palms of your hands for 7 to 8 minutes, and then let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. Now punch it down, squeezing out all the air bubbles. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and shape them into balls. Place them in the fridge for another 2 hours.

3. For each pizza, dust your table and the top of a dough ball with flour. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Use the tips of your fingers to stretch it outward to a 10-inch circle, with the edges thicker than the center. Leftover dough (kept in ball form) will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Tip: Nervous about making your own dough? Your local pizza shop may sell premade dough balls. Read the rest of this entry »

Pizza – It’s Simply An American Favorite

Posted by Lock On September - 16 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

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Few American foods are loved more that the infamous “pizza pie”. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old or somewhere in between, almost everyone has a favorite when it comes to pizza. It would be rare to find someone that has never tried a slice of pizza.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you look like or how much money you make. If you’ve got a few extra bucks and a hearty appetite, sooner or later the perfect combination of cheese, sauce, crust and toppings are going to find their way into your mouth.

Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza a day. (Yes…that’s ACRES) That’s a whopping 350 slices per second! This gives real meaning to the term “pizza lover”. Did you know that there are approximately 69,000 pizzerias in the United States? Approximately 3 BILLION pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year. (Source: Blumenfeld and Associates)

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The Evolution Of Pizza – By Kirsten Hawkins

Posted by Lock On September - 14 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

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Trying to trace the history of the first pizza is a surprisingly controversial subject. Some claim that this popular food is based on early unleavened breads served in the early centuries in Rome. Others trace a connection from modern pizza back to the pita breads of Greece.
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The infamous pizza pie continues to be one of the most beloved foods in the world, especially in the United States. As the baby boomer generation continues to dictate a wide variety of trends inside and outside of the food and beverage sectors, new and alternative ideas are beginning to emerge to move pizza closer to healthier and more exciting recipes that this sector of society craves.

The way pizza is served, cooked and eaten is also evolving. Many people are experimenting with new ways of enjoying their favorite pizza pies without the gluten content found in traditional pizza crusts. Some examples of these types of gluten free products include tapioca flour, corn flour, white rice flour and corn meal.
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California Pizza – Let The Flavor Flow

Posted by Lock On August - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

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California pizza, a totally different “style” of pizza has thoroughly integrated itself into the mainstream. So much so that many people do not recognize it as a separate pizza style.

In much the same way as pizza restaurants throughout the United States may carry a Chicago-style deep dish option, they may also have California-style items on the menu.

Once-innovative ingredients like barbecue, curry, eggs, or goat cheese, are now sold at more traditional pizza restaurants and chains, as simply another topping choice. California-style pizza is also quite common as frozen pre-prepared pizza.

In fact, a number of smaller and newer chains either specialize in, or carry, the California pizza style. In the fine dining end, many expensive restaurants continue to offer single-serving pizzas with expensive or exotic ingredients, baked in wood ovens, or even devote a portion of their menu to California-style pizza.
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 diet

In today’s world of never ending diets and numerous angles for reducing calories and fat content there is one thing that seems to stand out in spite of all of our “good diet” intentions. We want to lose weight but we do NOT want to give up one of our most  beloved and favorite foods… “The Pizza Pie”.

Yes, that’s right…we want a great diet plan but the thought of giving up our unquenchable desire for the infamous pizza pie is simply out of the question. We’ll try “whole wheat pizza”, “sun dried tomato pizza”, “grilled chicken pizza” you name it, just don’t leave out that last descriptive word “pizza.”

A “watered down” form of pizza is better than no pizza at all! Any form of pizza that suggests we’re cutting corners with calories and making headway on reducing fat but still enjoying the taste of one of our favorite foods and past times, well that’s an idea worth addressing.

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Favorite World-Wide Pizza Toppings

Posted by Lock On November - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

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Around the world, pizza toppings vary greatly; reflecting regional tastes, indigenous foods and cultural preferences. Pizza remains a favorite dish regardless of geographical location.
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