I was just reading another post where joker mentioned using an Alpha machine for shredding cheese. I would like to learn more about which model he recommends and price ranges, but I thought I would post this out there for other preferred methods of shredding cheese. I think it would be valuable to have operators post the equipment they use, the amount of cheese they shred and the time it takes to do it. Any other info is always welcome of course.
In our pizzeria, we use the Palazzolo cheese shredder. We shred and mix 25-30 blocks of mozzarella and 5-6 sticks of provolone in less than an hour each day. The machine does require a strong arm/shoulder and a large bin to catch the cheese.
Cleaning is simple. You have six pieces that you soak in soapy water. It takes less than a minute to assemble/remove the 6 pieces.
We use a VCM/HCM to “dice” our cheese. We do anywhere from 160Lbs to 480Lbs each day. It takes us 30-40 minutes to do 160Lbs including cleaning the machine. It takes just as long to take the plastic wrapper off the cheese as it does to “dice” it. It comes out less uniform than a diced cheese but it spreads easily and consistently.
we use a hobart hcm to dice as well it will cut half a case of cheese at a time takes like 1 minute and cleaning is easy. we used to use the pelican head that goes on our hobart but it took forever was a pain to clean and every now and then the screws from the back of the shredder would come loose and end up in the cheese we got rid of it fast once that started happening.
I love the Palazzolo for the single purpose of shredding cheese, but I am thinking the VCM\HCM would be handy in so many other ways.
Thanks for the input here…a couple follow on questions about the VCM\HCM. I have only used planetary so forgive my ignorance.
Are there any safety concerns with the VCM\HCM - any more so than a planetary mixer?
Any recommendations on what size to look for?
Are resale values\lifespan similar to planetary mixers?
Would I need to cut my 8# blocks up before sticking in the VCM\HCM?
Typically 3 Phase or 1 Phase?
Other uses for the VCM\HCM besides I presume dough and cheese?
Sounds like Paul and SCP prefer diced over shred? Others want to chime in on that?
We are also using the good 'ole Pelican head and shrededing, but volume is starting to increase and yes what a pain to clean. I have a superstar prep person and she could be so much more productive if cheese wasn’t taking so long.
All my guys were super happy not to have to clean the shredder anymore. The diced spread a lot easier than the shredded as long as you don’t dice too small as the cheese will clump up if you do. We only use ours for cheese we have a 80q Hobart planetary we use for dough but you can use the hcm for dough cutting vegetables and a few other things as well. It’s is safer than the planetary it seals shut and has a grate on top that you can open to watch the mixing. Ours is a 40q and it is recommended to put 20 pounds of cheese at once we cut the blocks in 4 pieces. I have noticed that if we put any less than that it won’t dice evenly as well. I was actually going to sell my hcm until I read a few posts on here and saw how valuable they are. Just for cheese shredding the thing is worth it’s weight in gold.
We use the Palazzolo shredder to shred the cheese, then run it through the HCM40 to dice the cheese. It takes a little longer but my cheese is always awesome. If you have 3 phase available to you, these machines work better using 3 phase.
The HCM’s have about half a dozen different safety switches on them that keep them safe. The lid has to be closed, the latch latched and it also has to be in an upright position to operate. These safety switches also give it more reasons to break down too. We also do sauces and ranch dressing in them.
The best cheese I ever used was run through the Palazzolo twice. We ran the sticks through then attached a “custom” piece to feed the shredded cheese through the blade again(just a bucket with the bottom cut out just meant to direct the cheese to the blade and keep it from getting thrown off). We took the shredded cheese by the handful and run it through the blade a second time and ended up with very small fluffy shreds that were perfect for covering a pizza evenly.
Look for a VCM40 or HCM450. The 25 and 30 quart models work for smaller amounts of cheese but don’t work well for any decent amount of dough if you ever need to use it for that. They are all 3 phase and you need to be careful if buying a VCM to not buy a 440 volt one. The HCM’s can run on 220 or 440 with a change of a wire. Be careful about buying one without a blade assembly or stirring assembly as these can get awfully expensive. VCM’s are generally older than the HCM’s. The newest generation of HCM’s have round start stop buttons. These are rare to find used and usually pretty expensive. The previous generation have square “rocker” buttons, one red and one black. The oldest of the HCM’s have two black “rocker” buttons. None of these seem to last as long as planetary Hobarts but the VCM’s seem to be much more suited to doing dough and cheese than the HCM’s. The problem is any VCM you find today is at least 20 years old and many of them were used to make dough at Little Caesars for years. Hope this helps.
We love our VCM. Yes, it was formerly a LC machine… but has been running great for 15 years for us! We use for dough and cheese.