As if we needed an excuse to celebrate the delicious pizza topping we all know and love — cheese — today is National Cheese Day. We’re taking a look at the oh so gooey topping and how each variety of cheese (there’s about 3,500 types in the U.S. alone!) adds something special to our favorite slices.
First we head to the Midwest, specifically St. Louis, MO, where provel cheese on pizza rules. Provolone, you ask? Not quite. Provel is a different type: a combination of cheddar, provolone and Swiss cheese. Provel is a love-it-or-hate-it cheese. It’s white, processed, and has a low melting point that places like Imo’s Pizza have perfected.
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board told PMQ Pizza Magazine that unique Wisconsin-made cheese varieties and blends are on pizzeria menus across the country more than ever before. These include Swiss, burrata and Gouda, “three of the fastest-growing cheeses currently being used on pizza.” Combinations leaving customers wanting more include blend varieties like Roth buttermilk blue cheese, Sartori Montamore or Marieke smoked Gouda with Clock Shadow Creamery ricotta.
West Coast pizzerias are fans of blended cheeses on their pies, as evidenced by the California Milk Advisory Board. Mark “The Cheese Dude” Todd is the culinary consultant for the Board, and he told PMQ Pizza Magazine all about Americans’ favorite cheese pizza blend: mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar. “Hitting upon the right combination of cheeses is one of the best ways you can make your pizzeria stand out,” he said. Todd explained that standard pizza cheese blends are 80/10/10, equaling some ratio of cheddar, provolone, whole-milk mozzarella, Monterey jack or cheddar. Adding cheeses with a burst of flavor like blue cheese, smoked mozzarella or pepper jack can make your pizza even more unique.
Cheese has even gone vegan, with the plant-based craze sweeping the nation. Places like 2017 Veggie Awards Company of the Year Virtuous Pie uses an artisanal nut cheese on its in-house Portland-based pizza. New York-based Screamer’s Pizzeria also makes a Violife mozzarella cheese mac ‘n’ cheese vegan pizza.
Owner of Pizzeria Paradiso in East Coast-based cities Washington D.C. and Alexandria, VA, and author of Kitchen Workshop — Pizza, Ruth Gresser, told PMQ Pizza Magazine that she is a “Gorgonzola girl,” using this cheese to her Quattro Formaggi, a five-cheese pizza that also includes mozzarella, pecorino toscano, fontina and parmesan. She said that cheese is a variable topping, not a given, and should never be an afterthought. “When creating pizza combinations, it’s important to consider cheese — or cheeses — that enhance the other toppings; focus on flavor, texture and the pizza as a whole.”
Ready to be the big cheese on your block? Stock up on LloydPans’ pizza pans and tools that make it easy to get cheesy.