Why does my cheese has brown spots on it sometimes??

Hello everyone. I need some guidance, losing my mind! My families pizzeria has been in business for over 50 years now. For the past 25 years we ONLY have been using F&A whole milk, low moist mozzarella. About 5 months ago we have been getting brown spots on the cheese even when the pizza is cooked regular, We always cooked at 500 degree’s stone slab gas oven. We also have a rotary and the same thing happens. I called the cheese company about this and they state top heat in ovens is to high. So I closed the vents on the top and it did nothing. I need some advice here! I am going to try a different pizza cheese on Monday, do you guys have this issue as well?? Some of my customers are complaining that their pizza is burnt when it actually isnt!!


Same pizza ovens , same settings, same temperature
Same pizza dough recipe and rise, never ever frozen or purchased. We hand roll it. NO sugar
Same cheese company for 25 years, did their quality change>?
I do NOT add any oil or sugar to the sauce, dough or cheese.

Higher butterfat content in cheese?..

Thanks for the reply. I dont know? Is it possible we are getting inconsistant cheese quality from the manufacturer>? I just want to make sure we arent doing something wrong.

Brown Cows! :stuck_out_tongue: Since it is happening in both ovens I would have too think it is the cheese. Try the different suppliers and if the spots go away…I would call your current supplier of 25 years and get them more involved as to their quality control process and obvious issues. If the spots still form, then I would start breaking down your own process and make sure nothing has changed on your side of things. I still believe the cheese will come out as the issue here. Best of luck.

Possibly cheese being frozen. Check the dates on the boxes when they come in…
I find when it is frozen, it doesn’t melt evenly either.

I agree that freezing the cheese is a possibility. I sure hope it’s inadvertent on their part.

Agreed. Are you using Grande?


Hey guys, thanks for the reply. we have been using F&A for about 25 years now. The cheese is roughly 12 days old when we receive it so I doubt they are freezing it. I am going to try Grande cheese in a day or 2. Problem is family is not happy with the higher cost of about 40 cents a lb. :shock: It is possible F&A quality has changed.

Hm. Have you told your rep about it? That’s not good. Grande is at least that much more, and IMO not at all worth it. Plenty of other cheeses out there that are priced better, but have the quality you’ve been used to.

Hey, I have told my rep and he says other pizzeria’s have the same issue. But then again he doesnt know anything about pizza. I called F&A direct last month about this issue and they blamed it on my ovens having to much top heat. Even with the top vents closed I still get burn spots. I would love to have some recommendations on a whole milk mozzarella, from Wisconsin. No part skim milk! Our expenses are already through the roof but quality is obv paramount!


dunno about WI specifically, but Sorrento always did well by me in past places, and is what I’m angling to get when I open in a few months.

Can you post a pic of the brown spots your talking about. Having a visual could help in getting some better advice.

I will bring the camera to the pizzeria. I am working all day tomorrow, if it happens on a pie I will take a pic. Amazingly not one pie had brown cows on it today. This is why it is driving me nuts!

thanks guys!

Is there a particular cook that is getting the spots? I discovered one of my staff would spread the cheese by dumping it in a pile in the middle of the pizza and then would pick it up and spread it around. By doing this the sauce would get on the top of the cheese and burn as it cooked.

Daddio, thanks for the reply. My uncle, mother and I are the only ones that make the pizza. Very interesting what you said about the sauce but thats not the case here. I understand a few little spots are normal but sometimes we will get pies coming out of the oven with spots about 3 inchs in diameter! Then when someone wanted a well done pie it looked horrible! My mother has been making pizza since 1961, she has never seen this.

My absolute favorite pizza place is in Dubuque, Iowa. It is called Marios. It is a small Italian Restaurant that has been around since the 1970’s if I remember right. A family that came to NY in the 60’s and then found their way too Iowa and run one of the best Italian joints around. The pizza is flat out awesome. Years ago I asked Mario… a happy-go-lucky type that was always around and always sharing a story… how he made his pizza dough? He said… come on… I show you. Literally took me by the hand and gave me a mini hands-on lesson that I will never forget. Little did he know that one of my best friends dated his daugher back in the day…and I am not sure I would have gotten the same hands-on treatment…or another type of Italian “HANDS-ON” reception. :shock: Sorry I am story telling… the point I wanted to make was hearing GnF talk about how mama has made pizza since 1961! I am sure she knows what she is doing and I would welcome the privilage of having one of her pizzas someday. It is the old-school restaurant and pizzeria owners and cooks…not chefs!.. that make food great. We need to keep this tradition and way of life alive. It is a struggle and takes a toll on all involved but ask yourself what is the other option? Everything from a drive-thru? Everything in a Cryovac sealed bag? Everything from a microwave oven? Keep up the good and hard work everyone! Although the great financial payoff is not always there…you do it because deep down enjoy it. You know you make a difference in a lot of people’s lives! :!: :!: :!:

12 days is generally a little on the early side for mozzarella. Could the “sometimes” that these spots appear be when the cheese is aged so little? I’m under the impression that mozzarella performs best when 20-45 days old.

Here you go guys. I took the pics with my cell , hopefully you can see them well. Paul, we got it delivered when it was 12 days old but used it one week later. so it was a total of roughly 21 days old, give or take. The 2 pies you see in the pic was cooked regular now if the customer would have ordered it welldone it would have looked like garbage.

Mike, thanks for the great post, I appreciate it. We all know its an incredible sacrifice and only our fellow pizzaria owners can say it. We never had the whole family take a trip together. Never celebrated 4th of July, Memorial day, Fathers Day or Mothers Day together. its rough. I work 84 hours a week and my parents work about 75.

Are you using deck ovens? I’ve been told by our founder that its an overabundance of oxygen going across the top of the pizza that makes the cheese brown. We only get brown spots on our pizzas in this scenario when we are overly busy and in/out of the ovens a lot.

Also, has your dough gotten colder? If I have to pull some cold dough out of the cooler it then takes longer to cook, which can also cause the cheese to brown. Maybe with the season change your kitchen is colder than normal?