Sauce going solid

Over the past two weeks we are finding our bulk base sauce is going into a solid mass.
We decanter our canned sauce into 20lt plastic tubs with sealed lids. Our mix contains 1 can of pizza sauce and 1 can of pulped tomatoes (same size, same brand). We add mixed italian herbs, pulped garlic, sugar, a touch of salt and a little water that is used to flush the left over sauce from the cans. Same proceedure every time without any problem until just over a week ago.
We make 3 x 20lt tubs at a time, 3 times a week and store them in the coolroom. The coolroom temperature is between 0 - 3 degrees celsius, depending on how often the doors are opened.
Currently when we get the sauce out of the coolroom it is a solid mass that requires water added to give it a useable consistency. No other product in the coolroom is affected or has changed in this time so being too cold is not the problem.
In the 5 years of owning the shop we have never encountered this problem before.
Any ideas from anyone why this would be happening now? It’s driving me crazy :?


I had this problem at one point in time. It turned out to be the garlic. If you blanch the garlic before you put it in the mix it kills the enzyme that causes this to happen.

My fat, bald money is also on the garlic. Tom Lehmann has given the bio-cheomistry reasons a couple times overthe years, but basically the garlic enzymes set the pectin in the tomato. Garlic supplier probably got a new variety in with higher enzyme levels, or changed packager . . . or you got a new supplier. Garlic in the microwave for about 30 to 60 secinds I believe was the answer.

Nick and Richard

Thanks for the replies.
We use the same amount and the same brand garlic - the pre-mulched stuff that comes in 5kg tubs.
It can’t be washes so I will try the quick microwaving. The supplier may be using some different type in this batch to what they normally use.
Thanks for the input. Glad you stayed around Richard. Your contributions would have been sorely missed.


another hellya 4 the garlic…we used 2 use granulated garlic yrs ago & had that same problem but switched to pulverizing our own the past year or so…

But every no & then out sauce thickens up a bit like it did b4, but usually as it tempers it returns to usable state…

We tried heating the garlic in the microwave tonight so we will see how it goes.
Ours is that minced garlic you get in 5kg tubes (10lb for your guys), It looks and smells the same but you never know from one batch to the other what type they use.


Yeah, Dave. NEver know what species/variety they are packaging. Higher enzyme or slightly different chemical mix could cause a change in performance for us pizza gods. :lol:

[size=2](anyone else laughing like I am?)[/size]

How did you make out with this?

Tried everything you guys recommended but still going thick. Think it might be the actual sauce. WE use 1 can pizza sauce mix and 1 can pulped tomatos and add our blend. Might be something with the pizza sauce. It’s no big deal we just add a little water and stir well then it OK, but it’s just a pain when you get it out of the coolroom, take the lid off and there is this solid mass of tasty sauce.
We will just ride the storm out.
It must just be our time to get things go wrong. Last week we had a mouldy batch of pizza ham and this week 3 cartons of it. To top it off we bought a particular brand of caterers cup cake mix to use on our dessert pizzas and sure enough when we opened it up … mouldy !!!
Luckily all were caught before we started using them and the supplier is getting new stock for us and contacting the manufacturers to say not good enough.


This is exactly what prompted my to start having a local butcher supply all of my meat.

Exactly. I tried some deiced ham direct fom a smallgoods manufacturer and fod it to be very good, albeit a little more expensive. Will probabl;y shift to their product now they said they can deliver to us. At least going direct we cut out two lots of additional handling and storeage before it gets to us.


Make sure your clients know you are sourcing from local vendors…It is a selling point for you…

I have it as part of my marketing.
We buy all our meats locally to assure quality and freshness.

We highlight that in our website and also do it from time to time on Facebook
A great selling point, especially against the chains


I have had the same thing happen to my sauce. After making and it sits 24 hrs it is jelled up. All though I use a pre mix of all dried seasoning. I mix 3 cans of pizza sauce to 3 cans of water to 14oz seasoning. After I remix its fine, but have to remix every day. Think its the starches in the seasoning making it jell up. Any thought???

what seasonings are in the packet? is there garlic?

Debbie, as ddariel suggests, it is very likely the garlic enzymes that are setting the pectin in the tomato. If you will put your spices in water to moisten, and microwave for something like 30 to 60 seconds, you will find the enzyme is deactivated, and no/less jelling problems.

Also, remember that onion will activate the pectins in the tomato, causing them to swell and thicken your sauce. My recommendation is to put your garlic and onion into a plastic container and “nuke” it until it just comes to a boil. Actually, you only need to heat it to about 180F, but there is no good visual indicator for 180F, so it is easier to go to roughly 212F (depending upon your altitude) where the boiling water will indicate that you have exceeded 180F. If you have a “goodie” bag of spices/herbs, you might try boiling the entire goodie bag mix.
A quick test for you to determine where the problem is would be to make your sauce without the seasoning mix, remove a pound, or so of the sauce and place it into a small plastic container, such as a butter tub (I didn’t really say that), then blend the seasoning mix into the large portion of the sauce. Check both in the morning. If the one without the seasoning mix is significantly more fliud, and the other one has gelled, you will know where the culprit is.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hey, Tom. Could I just boil some water and pour over the herb mix? Or do I need the continual heat increase for the enzyme deactivation? Just thinking I could use a digital thermometer with an alarm to read the water temp . . . since I already have one of those.

I will try heating my seasoning packet first. This will not change the integrity of my sauce though will it?