Sauce problems over the past month... thoughts?

We use a Tomato Puree with 1.06 gravity for our sauce and over the past month we’ve been having issues with it going “bad”, meaning it becoming extremely tart and has a beer smell to it after 3-4 days once we mix it.

We’ve never changed the recipe, all the brands of spices and the tomato puree is the same… absolutely nothing has changed. We even checked the batches that are printed on the puree cans to verify it’s not all coming from the same batch… and it isn’t.

It’s became so bad, that we can’t even prep our 2oz cups filled with Marinara because within 12 hours of cupping and putting it in the fridge, the lids blow up or pop off the cup! We have to cup the marinara per order now… man is that time consuming.

Our process is, and always has been: open Puree cans and dump into mixer, add spices, add water… mix for 12 minutes on Hobart 2 speed. Our into Home Depot bucket (yes its still the same buckets too) then let sit overnight before using. We process through it within a week so it’s far from going spoiled.

Thoughts? Could the Puree be packaged differently and be causing this issue? It’s the only thing I can think of!

Thanks all!

You say you are using it within a week. How long is that? Are you dating it? Could it be used out of order? I have read & always followed 6 days for our pizza sauce.

Day 1 is the mix… then used on day 2-7 But just 2-3 days have mixing is when it’s “turning”.

What is the temperature of your walk in ? Temp while stored in cans ?

fridge is from 38-42F and the cans are stored at room temp of 71F

What about a systematic search for the culprit by elimination? Take a fresh can of tomato product and a sanitized spoon and ladle the tomato product into each of say 10 to 20 two ounce cups. Keep 5 or so with just sauce in them for a control. Then place each of your spices, individually, into a cup. One spice per cup. Stir with an individual sanitized spoon. Follow your usual walk in procedure and see if they pop their lids.

If they all test OK, then it starts to imply something with the bucket or the bulk mixing tools.

We have had this problem from time to time following our pizza seminars at AIB and in every case we found that our sauce had been contaminated with yeast. Where does the yeast come from? it’s in the air in your shop, and unless you are sanitizing the mixing bowl as well as the mixing attachments just prior to use in making your sauce that could very well be the source of the contamination. Once we started sanitizing the bowl, mixing agitator, and storage containers with “quat” the problem ceased and we were able to once again get at least 5-days shelf life from our sauce. Just a thought.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

It does smell like yeast but never thought of this… Can we just use regular sanitizer or is Quat necessary?

Is this the Quat that your referring?

What is your “regular” sanitizer? Quat was our regular sanitizer at AIB.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Bleach water usually… Per health department ppm

I don’t know how effective it is on yeasts and molds but give it a try to see if it helps.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

The first thing that popped out at me was the “Home Depot Bucket” and not knowing if that is a food-safe plastic or not, then things not being cleaned and sanitized properly.

Quat Sanitizers; I’ve never been a fan of those, I prefer bleach/water at 200 PPM, quat always seems to leave a funky smell and flavor on utensils

Yeast. We don’t use our mixer though. We just mix in the bucket with power drill so there is zero chance of yeast contamination from the mixer.

My bet is that a new bucket will fix the problem.

My first though also was possibly dirty equipment/containers as well who is washing your stuff and are they doing a thorough job.

Some of our clients had this issue, most were using the 5 gallon buckets, too. The mixer would eventually chew up the bucket (lots of little scratches) and give the microorganisms a place to hide from the sanitizers. New bucket = problem solved for a few months… until the new one got a little too scuffed up.

All who went to a big, industrial-sized mixer never had the issue again.

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