Saturday, December 20, 2014

What Is The Best Way To Store Cheese?

Despite your best efforts, chances are that you will have some cheese leftover from your initial purchase. Whether you are looking to store the leftover cheese or store the entire thing before you ever take a bite, it is important to know the right methods. When you store cheese correctly, you will preserve the texture and flavor so despite eating it a few days later, it still tastes fresh.
Wrapping Material
The first thing to consider is what you will be wrapping the cheese in. Plastic is the most common option, but should almost never be used. Cheese, particularly softer cheese, needs to breathe in order to maintain its texture. Therefore you should opt for cheese paper, parchment paper, or even wax paper. No matter the type of cheese, wrap it in one of these materials.
How To Wrap
The process of wrapping up the cheese is actually fairly simple. Simply place the cheese, parchment, or wax paper flat on top of your counter, putting the cheese wedge on top of it. Fold up the edges, one at a time, ensuring that you make neat creases. Secure the wrapping with a bit of tape and be sure to label the cheese with the type and date so you can keep track of its age.
Changing Brine
If you have a fresh cheese, chances are that it is stored in some brine. The good news is that you don’t need to change this brine daily, like some people suggest. Instead, simply change it if it starts to smell or look off, or is contaminated. Simply dump the brine and throw in a few cups water with a tablespoon salt dissolved in it. Keep in mind that the cheese will absorb some of the salt, so you may want to reduce the amount.
Temperature
Hard cheeses can be out of the refrigerator for a few days, but with that exception, you should always store your cheese in a nice, cold environment. You want them to be in an environment that is 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and that means that the ideal location in your fridge is the vegetable drawer, or if you don’t have one, opt for the bottom shelf.
Based On Cheese Type
Although all cheeses should be wrapped up in cheese paper before placing them in the fridge, there are some differences in terms of the best storage method for various types. After wrapping up hard cheese, for example, you can put it inside a sealed plastic container or bag, as losing moisture isn’t as crucial. You may want to do the same with blue cheese, but don’t seal the bag, to prevent the odor from spreading around your fridge. If a fresh cheese was originally packaged in brine, leave it in the original container and simply change the brine as needed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Is The Best Way To Make Cheese Sauce?

Cheese sauce is one of the many different types of dishes you can make using cheese. The great thing about a cheese sauce is that it is incredibly versatile as you can make it using nearly any type of cheese that you want, meaning that the end result can complement whichever dish you choose. This allows you to make the perfect cheese sauce for meat one day, for fish the next, and for pasta the next day.
Select The Right Cheese
The very first step in making the best cheese sauce is to select the correct cheese. Although you may be tempted to go with your favorite cheese, no matter the type, the truth is that some types of cheese will do better than others when it comes to cheese sauce. The simple route is to opt for a processed cheese, as these tend to melt uniformly, but they usually lack a great deal in terms of flavor. Teh good news is that there are also many natural cheeses that do well in cheese sauce. Some of the best options include Muenster, Monterey Jack, Havarti, Gruyere, Gouda, fontina, colby, cheddar, and Asiago. You can also use soft cheeses or blue cheeses, but be sure to remove the rind first.
Order Of Ingredients
Once you have your ingredients ready, you want to think about the order. Despite cheese being the main ingredient in cheese sauce, it is actually added last. That is because cheese can easily overcook and when this happens, it affects the texture negatively. As such, you want to add the cheese as your final ingredient. Be sure that you add the cheese when the sauce is cooking at a low temperature. If necessary, take extremely hot sauce off the heat so it cools slightly before adding the cheese. Also, be sure to grate the cheese before adding it as this will allow it to melt more smoothly.
Cooking Steps
The exact way to make cheese sauce will depend on the recipe that you select, but the general steps will be the same. Begin by cooking the same amount of butter and flour in a pan (first melting the butter, then whisking in the flour). Lower the heat and constantly stir. After the flour has cooked a bit, turn off the heat and warm up milk, then slowly add it into the mixture. Now you can simmer the sauce, constantly whisking it until it thickens. Finally, you can throw in the shredded cheese and whatever seasonings you want. Be sure to cook on very low heat due to the cheese.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tips For Using Cheese In Casseroles

Casseroles are a popular meal choice as there are limitless options and varieties available. You can combine almost any type of meat and vegetables, letting you use up leftovers before they go bad. Almost all casseroles will involve cheese as that is part of what adds to their flavor and texture. The cheese also serves as the binding agent, letting all of the ingredients easily connect together. The following tips can help you with selecting the right cheese for your casserole or actually cooking it.
Consider Melt
When it comes time to think about which cheese to use in the casserole, you want to think about its melt. Not all cheeses are capable of melting, and many fresh cheeses are not. Generally speaking, harder cheeses (which are low-moisture) need to melt at higher temperatures. Softer cheeses with high moisture (like mozzarella) tend to melt at lower temperatures. Also keep in mind whether you want a cheese that melts in strings or forms a cohesive melted mass. Hard cheeses, like parmesan, tend to melt in individual into individual pieces, while semi-hard cheeses, like cheddar, form a melted mass.
Improve Melt Efficiency
When it comes to preparing your casserole, you probably won’t want to cook the cheese for too long. In order to make it melt more efficiently, most recipes call for shredding or grating the cheese. This allows you to increase the surface area so the cheese melts quicker and in a more uniformed manner.
Cooking Temperature And Placement
If you are making a cheesy casserole, you want to keep the temperature at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit or less (definitely not over 375 Fahrenheit), otherwise the cheese sauce may begin to break up. Also keep in mind that the longer the casserole cooks, the dryer the cheese will become. Generally speaking, you want to keep the casserole three of four inches away from your oven’s heat source to prevent burning the cheese. Your main concern when cooking with cheese is to not overcook it, which is why the recommended temperature sits firmly at 350 degrees.
Adding Cheese Toppings
If you plan on adding some cheese to the very top of your casserole, either instead of or in addition to cheese throughout the dish, save this for almost the very end. You should try to add these final cheese toppings when there are about five to ten minutes left for cooking the casserole. This will give the cheese enough time to melt, but not enough to burn.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tips For An Upscale Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a classic dish as it is incredibly simple to make. Although the process varies, you basically pick some cheese and bread and cook the sandwich in a pan. While the standard grilled cheese is typically made using standard store-bought bread and American (or other processed) cheese, you can actually turn the classic sandwich into an upscale version with just a few simple tips.
Selecting The Cheese
The first step to making an upscale grilled cheese is to select your ideal cheese. Although there are almost limitless cheeses to select from, you want one that will melt correctly. Avoid cheeses that don’t melt, such as queso fresco, feta, fresh goat cheese, Indian paneer, and cottage cheese. Traditionally, grilled cheese is made with a flowing and smooth melter, such as cheddar, blue cheese, gouda, muenster, monterey jack, brie, fontina, or asiago. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, however, you can try a cheese that melts into stretchy strings, like mozzarella, provolone, or even fresh cheddar cheese curds.
Throw In Extra Ingredients
The best way to take your grilled cheese to the next level is by adding additional items to it. After selecting your favorite cheese and bread, think about what additional items you would like to throw in, such as vegetables or meats. The most popular option is probably tomatoes, but you can also add avocado, tart apples, hot peppers, pears, sweet grapes, berries, and dried fruits. For meats, bacon is a popular choice, although almost any deli meat works, and you can even get creative and add a pre-made sauce like pesto or your favorite jam. Some people even put pretzels or potato chips in their grilled cheese and while that may not be upscale, it certainly is creative and adds some unique flavors and textures.
Shred The Cheese
Some grilled cheese experts recommend using sliced cheese and that is the traditional method. Many, however, find that shredding the cheese truly helps you get an even consistency. It also makes it easier to add in some of the extra ingredients mentioned above as you can fit shredded cheese in any nook or cranny left open. A bonus of using shredded cheese is that you can easily use more than one type of cheese and mix them together evenly.
The Cooking Process
Making an upscale grilled cheese sandwich follows the same exact directions as any other type of grilled cheese. For the best flavor and texture, grill both slices of bread in some butter, then flip them over and grill the other side after adding the cheese on top. Simply close the sandwich and flip it over part way through to make it into a grilled cheese.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tasty Ways To Use Cheese In Dessert

Cheese is traditionally thought of as an appetizer, or possibly the main course, but few people ever associate cheese with dessert. In reality, however, cheese can make an excellent addition to your dessert, no matter the dish you served. This means that next time you are hosting a dinner party, consider one of the following tasty treats to give your guests some cheese with dessert.
By Itself
When done correctly, you can actually have cheese as it is for dessert. This is actually a fairly popular trend in Europe and it is beginning to spread to the United States. The thing to keep in mind about serving cheese for dessert is that it is easy to do; you simply want to make sure that you select the right cheese. You ideally want to go with fine cheese, but don’t feel limited by sweetness. You can make a stinky cheese work by combining it with sweeter sides like fruit. Try to select cheese that is lighter, such as fresh goat cheese, as not only is it less filling, but it also combines well with other items. If you are having cheese by itself for dessert, try not to serve more than two or three and add in some fresh fruit, flavorful dried fruit (like cherries, apricots, or figs), nuts, or honey. Perhaps the easiest dessert cheese to find is fresh ricotta.
Cheesecake
The classic, delicious way to incorporate cheese into your dessert is via cheesecake. This dessert is made using cream cheese, but you can also find creative varieties that incorporate other elements. The great thing about cheesecake is its versatility as you can make it plain or add in any flavor that you want from chocolate to fruit to nuts.
Pies
If you think you enjoy apple pie, try making it with a slice of cheddar cheese. One option is to simply serve the apple pie and add a fresh slice of cheddar on top of each piece. Alternatively, you can take advantage of cheddar’s excellent melting abilities and bake it right into the crust. To do so, either blend it into the dough using a food processor, or roll up little pieces into the crust as you are rolling out the base and putting it in the pan.
Ice Cream
When most people think of ice cream, they picture the creamy goodness that you get from a milk-based treat, possibly with chocolate or other sweet add-ins. There is a growing trend, however, of making ice cream with cheese. You can easily find plenty of recipes online that only require a few simple ingredients. These take advantage of all types of cheese including blue cheese, goat cheese, and even parmesan.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How To Tell Cheese Allergies

For cheese lovers, an allergy to cheese would be one of the worst things to happen. Most of the time, people don’t develop allergies to cheese in particular; instead it will be a milk allergy in general or perhaps even lactose intolerance. If you think you might be allergic to cheese, don’t start worrying until you are tested, but the following information can give you an idea of whether you are truly allergic. The good news is that if you are lactose intolerant, not simply allergic to cheese, you will still be able to eat some cheese; you just have to select them carefully.
Symptoms Of Cheese Allergy
As mentioned earlier, most people are allergic to milk, not just cheese. In the case of an allergic reaction, the symptoms will be similar to those of any other allergy. This means that right after eating cheese, you may experience vomiting, wheezing, or hives. Over time, you may also notice an itchy skin rash (particularly by your mouth), watery eyes, a runny nose, coughing, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea. In extreme cases, a cheese (milk) allergy can lead to anaphylaxis when the airways narrow. The symptoms of lactose intolerance, on the other hand, include nausea, painful gas, diarrhea, cramps, and bloating.
Diagnosis
The symptoms of lactose intolerance and a milk or cheese allergy seem similar at first, but they are actually very different things. Milk and cheese allergies work directly with the immune system, while lactose intolerance is simply the inability to digest lactose, a substance in dairy products, and will not involve the immune system at all.
Most of the time a doctor will diagnose a cheese allergy in several ways. They will ask about the symptoms and what foods you ate before hand. They will also do a physical exam and may ask you to exclude all cheese (or dairy products) and slowly add them back in to test for a reaction. There are also skin tests and blood tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Lactose Intolerance And Cheese
If you are allergic to milk or cheese, then you sadly won’t find many options, although some people with a cheese allergy can still eat cheese made from non-cow’s milk, such as goat cheese. Those with lactose intolerance, however, will still be able to tolerate small quantities of lactose, including processed cheese. That means that in addition to eating goat cheese, lactose intolerant people can also have cheese that is highly processed or very aged. Aged cheese tends to have less lactose as this slowly converts to lactic acid, making them ideal for those with lactose intolerance. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

How Should You Pack Cheese To Ship?

Cheese is an incredibly delicious food, but certain areas of the country, such as Wisconsin, tend to have much more variety than other locations. That means that if you want a special cheese from across the country, you may need to ask someone to purchase and ship the cheese to you. The same is also true if you have a delicious cheese that you want to share with a distant friend. When shipping cheese, always pick the fastest shipping method so it arrives within two or three days and follow these tips.
Time Of Year
There are actually certain times of the year that it is better or easier to send cheese. You should ideally send it during the colder months of the year as you may not need to add ice packs or similar items to the packaging. Most of the time packages are left out on loading docks or warehouses that are the same temperature as outdoors, making fall or winter the ideal time to send cheese without concerns for refrigeration.
Ideal Cheeses For Shipping
As long as you know what you are doing, you can send any type of cheese you want. If you are starting off, however, keep in mind that hard, aged cheeses tend to be much easier to ship. That is because these cheeses will not be damaged by spending a few days out of refrigeration, especially if it is not the height of summer.
Keep In Original Packaging
If you have ordered cheese online from a specialty retailer, then trust their packaging method. Simply copy it in the future, or if you plan on sending a portion of your order on to someone else, remove the cheese you plan on keeping and send the rest on in its original packaging.
Packing Method
The best way to pack cheese to ship is to place inside an insulated container (such as a disposable cooler) filled with ice packs in addition to cushioning, like packing peanuts. This will keep the cheese cushioned and cold for two days (possibly three). Opt for frozen gel packs when selecting the right packaging materials and don’t forget to label the package with the words “keep refrigerated” or “perishable” so the mail service is aware that the contents have special requirements.
Receiving Shipped Cheese
When you get cheese that has been shipped, always carefully examine it before eating it to ensure it still appears normal and safe. Your senses of sight, smell, and taste should be enough. Also be sure to take the cheese out of the packaging and put it into the refrigerator as soon as possible to ensure freshness and optimize shelf-life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Get To Know Different Types Of Cheese Sauces

If you are a cheese lover, then chances are that at some point or another you have decided to make or buy cheese sauce. While you can purchase it, most of the time it tastes better when made fresh. Instead of opting for a processed or pre-packaged cheese sauce that you just need to heat up, get to know the basic types of cheese sauces so you can make them at home and enjoy the flavors whenever you want.
Mornay Sauce
Mornay sauce is considered one of the classics and it is a type of bechamel sauce typically made using melted Parmesan and Gruyere. To make this sauce, you start off by creating a white sauce with some milk, butter, and flour. Then throw in seasoning such as pepper and nutmeg. Take a separate bowl and mix together cream and an egg yolk before beating them into the sauce mixture. After it cooks for about a minute, take it off the heat and stir in your cheese. This cheese sauce works great with vegetables, fish, and pasta.
Fondue
Most people are familiar with fondue, one of the most popular types of cheese sauce. It is traditionally made with Swiss cheese, but other common options include Raclette, Emmental, and Gruyere; you can also get creative and select your favorite. You typically melt this cheese and then dip various items, such as crusty bread, into it.
Rarebit
Rarebit is a type of melted cheese that is baked into a white sauce and made with beer, giving it a unique flavor.
Four Cheese
Just as it sounds, four cheese is a type of cheese sauce made from four different types of cheese. It is incredibly popular for pasta, particularly gnocchi, but keep in mind that it contains a lot of cheese and therefore high levels of salt and fat. Usually the cheeses in this particular sauce will be milk-based. An example combination of cheeses from packaged four cheese sauce is Italica, Grana (Parmesan), Fontal (Fontina), and Gorgonzola. Some experts suggest Parmigiano, Gruyere, Edam, and mozzarella, showing the true versatility of this sauce.
Making Your Own Cheese Sauce
As mentioned, you will generally get better flavor by opting to make the cheese sauce yourself as opposed to purchasing a store-bought one. When you are making the cheese sauce, shred up the cheese so it is in smaller pieces and will melt quicker and more consistently. Also be sure to add the cheese at the very end, when the sauce is at low heat (or off the flame entirely, but still warm) as this will prevent it from overcooking.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Four Tips For Storing Cheese After It’s Been Opened

Cheese is one of the most delicious and versatile foods on the planet. Because of all the different varieties available, you can find limitless uses for it, from eating it plain or with some crackers, to cooking with the cheese, topping a salad, or even baking it into a dessert. The tricky thing, however, is that unless you buy small quantities of cheese or host a large party, there will always be leftovers, leaving you to wonder how to store them.
Pick The Right Wrapping
The basic method for storing cheese after it’s been opened is to carefully wrap it up before labeling it with the date and cheese type and placing it in the refrigerator. The question then becomes what you should wrap it in. Experts say that the best option is cheese paper. Although plastic is a popular choice, it doesn’t let the cheese breathe, giving it a flavor like ammonia and encouraging harmful bacteria. You can find cheese paper at any specialty cheese retailer and even some of the better grocery stores, and it will let your cheese breathe, helping preserve its flavor.
Storing Hard Cheeses
One thing to keep in mind is that hard cheeses are hard by nature, and this is because it begins to dehydrate as soon as the curds and whey are separated. Unfortunately, putting the cheese in the fridge speeds up this process, so before putting your hard cheeses in the fridge, you must add an extra step. Wrap the cheese in cheese paper and then place them inside a plastic bag that is open.
Storing Blue Cheeses
Blue cheeses also require special storing so if you frequently buy them, remember this tip. If you store blue cheese right next to other types, its flavor will spread, invading the milder cheeses. To prevent this, simply wrap it up in cheese paper (feel free to double wrap it if you want), before placing it within a plastic container.
Opening The Wrapping
Physically storing the cheese isn’t the only aspect of saving cheese for later that requires advice; sometimes you need to know what to do after opening it as well. If you still haven’t finished your cheese in the second sitting, be sure to select a new piece of cheese paper instead of reusing the old one. Also, don’t worry if there is a small amount of fuzz. As long as it isn’t growing on a soft cheese, you can simply cut it off and safely enjoy the rest.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Does All Cheese Have To Be Refrigerated?

Cheese is one type of food that is often misunderstood in terms of recommended storage. Because it is a dairy product, most people simply assume that it must be refrigerated, regardless of the situation or type of cheese. In reality, however, while no cheese will suffer from being refrigerated, it doesn’t all need to be. The following information will help you understand whether you need to refrigerate your cheese, but when in doubt, remember that putting it in the fridge generally won’t cause any harm.
Soft Cheeses
The one type of cheese that must always be refrigerated is soft cheese. You should ideally put it in the fridge at a temperature somewhere between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit as this is ideal for preserving freshness. The reason that it is so essential to refrigerate soft cheese is that if you don’t do so, the cheese will begin to dry out. In addition, a thin oil layer will begin to form around the cheese, separating it. Refrigerating the soft cheese will also add a great deal of time to its shelf life, so you don’t have to rush to finish it.
Hard Cheeses
While soft cheeses must always be refrigerated, you have the option when it comes to hard cheeses. This is due to their lower quantities of moisture. The thing to remember, however, is that while a hard grating cheese (like Romano or Parmesan) can last a good amount of time without refrigeration, you will eventually want to put it in the fridge to preserve its lifespan.
Ideal Cheeses For Non-Refrigeration
If you truly love cheese, but are short on room in your refrigerator, it helps to know which cheeses will do best without refrigeration. These cheeses are also ideal to take with you on trips or to store for a longer period of time. Generally speaking, hard cheese is ideal for traveling or other situations where you won’t have a refrigerator handy. Some of the best options include aged gouda, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino, aged cheddar, appenzeller (a slightly softer option that still does well out of refrigeration), Sbrinz (the oldest Swiss cheese), and Piave vecchio.
Freezing Cheese
While refrigerating cheese will almost never harm it, even if it is unnecessary, the same cannot be said for freezing it. Generally speaking, frozen cheese will have a different texture than fresh or refrigerated cheese and it tends to lose some of its smoothness. If you have to freeze cheese, try to opt for something you plan to cook with, ideally something with a higher fat content or a softer cheese.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Different Ways Cheese Is Served Around The World

Unless you are a true cheese connoisseur, chances are that you are familiar with the various national cheese varieties, but not anything much more exotic than that. Many countries will eat similar cheese and serve them in a similar manner, but there are always exceptions. In reality, traveling to another country will show you at least slight differences in the way that cheese is served. Here is just a quick overview to give you an idea of some things you may notice.
Base Milk Used
Before looking at how cheese is actually served, it helps to know how it is made in the first place. While the process of making cheese is always fairly similar, the source of the milk can vary greatly. In the United States, most cheese is made from cow’s or goat’s milk, but this is different around the world. Italy, for example, is famous for their traditional mozzarella, made from buffalo milk. Other areas, including Bedouin communities, the Sudan, Mauritania, and Ethiopia commonly make cheese from camel’s milk. Tibetan communities frequently use yak cheese, while Central Asia is home to a good amount of Airag (or horse milk) cheese.
Cooked Cheese Varieties
For the biggest variation in terms of how cheese is served around the world, you only need to take a look at traditional dishes involving cooked cheese. In Greece, for example, saganaki is a specialty and this is essentially fried cheese made from sheep’s milk. After being fried until it becomes bubbly, this cheese is served with lemon juice. In Northern Mexico, queso fundido is a party dish that involves melted cheese with chiles, onion, spices, tomato, and chorizo cooked right into it. Italy is famous for their own version of fried cheese, a crisp known as frico. This cheese is made by frying or baking shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, or Montasio until it is crispy. In Israel, they typically top their fried cheese (halloumi) with pine nuts. India is another country that fries some of their cheeses, and deep fried paneer (a non-melting farmer’s cheese) is usually served with peas or spinach. Switzerland is famous for their classic method of serving cheese: in fondue.
Noteworthy Flavors And Types
In addition to the various methods of serving cooked cheese around the world, you will also find some unusual tastes and flavors. In fact, some of these would seem odd to serve to American palates, but are completely normal internationally. Italy, for example, is home to Casu Marzu, which only a few people enjoy due to it being served complete with the live maggots that are part of the aging process. Germany is home to Milbenkase, which is flavored by mite excrement. No matter where you travel, however, you will find both familiar and exotic cheeses and they are eaten plain or with bread or crackers, as in the states, in many countries across the world.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

6 Reasons Fruit & Cheese Go Well Together

When most people think of classic items to serve with cheese, they picture wine, beer, crackers, or bread. In reality, however, fruit is an excellent companion for cheese. To find the perfect pairing for your favorite cheese or fruit, you simply have to ask a cheesemonger or do a quick search online. Many times, cheese retailers will even tell you the ideal fruit pairing for a cheese. But many people wonder why these two items work so well together.
Add Variety Of Flavors
The very first thing to realize about putting fruit and cheese together is that it gives you a wider range of flavors. There are at least dozens of options for both fruits and cheeses, and as such, you can truly create any combination of flavors that you want. That means that you can select your favorite cheese or fruit and work from there. Apples, for example, do well with flavors ranging from Gouda to Asiago or Parmesan.
Neither Overpowers
The sign of a good pairing, such as cheese and fruit, is that neither flavor overpowers the other. They should ideally complement one another, increasing the features of each flavor and that is exactly what happens with cheese and fruit. Some fruits will balance out the sharpness of certain cheeses, while others work to cancel out the strength of blue cheese.
Various Textures
Another reason that cheese and fruit do so well together is the combination of textures that they create. When, for example, you choose to combine a soft cheese such as mascarpone with melons, mangos, pears, or apples, you will be taking the soft texture of the cheese and putting it together with the harder texture of the fruit for variety.
Limitless Pairings
A great thing about fruit and cheese is that there are almost limitless pairings. Although you will find some suggested pairings, such as those already mentioned or combining mozzarella with pineapple, peaches, or berries, the possibilities are truly limitless. That is because everyone has a personal preference. You can easily put together a tray with five cheeses and just as many fruits and have dozens of combinations available depending on the tastes of your guests.
Balance Out Acidity
In some cases, fruits work to balance out the acidity of cheese. When working with soft-ripened cheeses, like camembert or brie, for example, sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent pairing. This is because the acidity of the tomatoes will help balance the cheese’s richness, letting the two items work in harmony.
Add Color
A final reason that fruit and cheese go so well together is the simple ability to add color to your tray or plate. Cheeses typically range in color from white to yellow, with the occasional blue cheese. Adding fruit, however, lets you add any color you want to your serving platter, making it more aesthetically pleasing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Makes Cheese Have Different Varieties?

Why is one cheese different from another? While the conventions of flavor, texture, country of origin, and other factors may be the immediate answer, what makes these cheeses different at their core? Why are some cheeses white, while others are yellow or even blue? How can there be such vast texture differences when it is all just milk to start? Cheese is actually a very delicate food to make. Subtle changes can make an entirely different cheese, or ruin the cheese completely. Here are some of the distinctions in types of cheese and what makes them so different from one another.

Timing

While the window is still narrow, there is some margin of time difference between when a person separates the whey from the curds in different cheeses. This small difference in time can make a big difference in the composition of the cheese. A cheese that is left longer to separate will have more lactose, which changes the flavor distinctly. Obviously the time the cheese is left to age also plays a large part in the flavor and consistency, creating sub-types of cheeses as well as original typing. Timing is very delicate with cheese, and leaving it too long can totally ruin it instead of make a different cheese.

Bacteria

Bacteria is the basis for all cheese, and without controlled amounts of it, you would either have moldy milk, or moldy lumps of nothing. Different cheese types have both different types of bacteria, and different amounts of it. Even two companies making the same type of cheese may taste different because of a slight difference in the amount of bacteria used to create the cheese. The concentration of the starter bacteria, and how it is cultivated is the primary difference between cheeses, and even the slightest imbalance can change the composition, or in some cases, make an entirely different type of cheese.

pH Levels

The acid levels in the cheese are both byproducts of the acid in the original milk, and the bacterias work on the cheese. This is the difference that have the most tangible effect on cheese, and is what is often used to easily separate them. Some cheeses have a low margin for error in pH level, like Gouda and Swiss, while others, like cheddar, have a wide range of pH levels. Some cheeses, like mozzarella even have sub classifications based on the pH level of the cheese.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What Is The Best Way To Smoke Your Own Cheeses?

While you can purchase pre-smoked cheeses, you may wish to choose your own smoked flavors, or do it for the pure enjoyment. Smoking your own cheeses is fun, easy, and adds an amazing flavor. You can use a smoked cheese on anything you would use a normal cheese for, from sandwiches to mac & cheese. Of course, smoking a cheese requires that you own a barbecue smoker and at least a passing familiarity with it. This is the easiest and best way to smoke your own cheeses. Here are the steps to a fine smoke on your cheese for added flavor and fun.

Cold Smoking

Because cheese melts at a fairly low temperature, you will have to use a process known as cold smoking. The easiest way to do this is when it is already cold outside, as it may be difficult to maintain your smoker at about ninety degrees when it is already in the nineties. You can smoke any kind of cheese, but the most highly recommended are cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss. You should leave it out for about an hour, so it can settle at room temperature, making it less likely to melt. Cut it into squares or blocks of no more than four inches wide.

Smoke But Little Fire

If you are inexperienced with a smoker, it may be difficult to maintain a fire that is not hot, but puts off a lot of smoke. Using slightly wet wood on top of the smoking charcoal is a good bet, increasing amount of smoke put off, but also helping the smoker to remain cool. Once you have a good fire prepared, lay the cheeses on the smoker’s grate. Generally to prevent melting, you will want to put the harder cheeses in the middle, and the softer cheeses on the outside of the smoker grate.

Patience For Flavor

Let the cheese stay in the smoker for up to six hours, keeping as much smoke in the unit as is preferred. The more smoke, the richer the flavor the cheese will keep. Unlike traditional meat smoking, the internal temperature of the cheese is irrelevant. Once the cheese is done smoking, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate immediately. Leave the cheese to take on the full flavor of the smoke for one to two weeks in refrigeration. The longer you can leave it, the more delicious it will be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Is A Natural Smoke On Cheeses?

There are many things to look out for in the increasingly health conscious world. Some food flavorings that were once commonly used have been found to be bad for many parts of your body. One of these is ‘liquid smoke flavoring’. This flavor substitute is made from either smoke byproducts, or chemicals made to replicate the flavor of smoke. This product has been found to be very harmful and it has been advised to avoid it when possible. However, many people love this smoky, rich flavor on their cheese. So how do you achieve that without using a smoke flavor substitute? A natural smoke!

What Is A Natural Smoke?

Natural smoking processes include flavors added through the use of wood chips. Some flavors include beech, cedar, and other woods that give the cheese a very distinct flavor. A natural smoking is when these chips are directly burnt beneath the cheese, rather than a chemical counterpart being added to it. A natural smoke also takes much longer than the liquid substitute, as it much be smoke for several hours, then wrapped and refrigerated to seal in the flavor. It is well worth it however, as a natural smoke tastes much better than the chemical variety.

So Why Do Companies Use Liquid Smoke?

The time it takes to naturally smoke a cheese is the primary reason many companies prefer liquid smoke. Although it is dangerous to the consumer, it is much more commercially sound for them to use this product to quickly flavor the cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella cheese. The company may also get a reduced cost on bulk liquid smoke, where they may be paying a premium on good wood chips for a rich, natural smoke. It also takes skill to smoke a cheese, as it requires the smoker to be under ninety degrees during the process.

What Are The Other Benefits Of A Natural Smoke?

Aside from being much more flavorful, a natural smoked cheese have much less carcinogenic than liquid smoke additives. Cheese is also a common food for vegetarians, and liquid smoke often contains meat products. A natural smoke is just wood chips and a patient cook. There are some condensed smoke alternatives that are simply water and the smoke collected together. When you see natural smoke flavor on a label, this is usually what it means. While the carcinogens still have time to build in these, it is still better than most liquid smoke flavorings.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Buy our Cheese for a Great Cause

Since the beginning of our history we've supplied many organizations and offered fundraising opportunities with our cheeses. Our latest, The Dave Clark Foundation, is currently selling a couple of our sharpest Cheddar cheeses; Jurassic and Super Sharp locally.



About the Dave Clark Foundation: 

The Dave Clark Foundation organizes free mini-sports camps for kids with special needs, hosted by professional and elite college baseball and hockey teams. Participants and pro athletes come away from our Disability Dream and Do (D3) events enriched by the experience. Enrollment is open now for our Nov. 11th event with the Elmira Jackals and our January 13th event with Cornell Hockey. Participants get a day with the pros (or future pros) and tickets to a host team's home game (Jackals 11/15 - Cornell 1/24). Enrollment and more info at D3Day.com 

Founder, Dave Clark – a Corning native -- was stricken by polio as an infant. He 
never walked without the aid of braces and crutches, yet he persevered to chase his dream 
and become a professional baseball player – the only pro ever to pitch from crutches. 
Now it is his mission to give other disabled children an opportunity to play with the pros, 
while motivating and inspiring pro athletes to be the best they can be in their sports, their 
communities and their hearts. 

The Dave Clark Foundation will be selling our cheeses along with other great local products at the times listed below.

Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 - Sam's Club in Henrietta 10a to 5p


Nov 14, 15, and 16 - Sam's Club in Henrietta 10a to 5p

Starting November 16, Dave Clark Foundation will be at the Arnot Mall in Big Flats, NY every day through Christmas during the mall hours.

For the latest information on upcoming Dave Clark Foundation events, visit the D3 Day Calendar

We are proud to supply this wonderful cause with our cheese. Please be sure to visit the foundations website at D3Day.com to learn more. If you have questions or interest about fundraising opportunities, please contact us by email HERE.

What Good Bacteria Are Found In Cheese?

Generally when people think of bacteria, germs and illnesses are brought to mind. Many people’s first instinct is to wash their hands when they think about it! But did you know we have huge colonies of bacteria in our body that regulate nearly every aspect of our bodily systems? One of these places that bacteria plays a huge role in the stomach. They aid in digestion and energy consumption of the body, and without them, we could not eat most of what we do. From time to time these bacteria, also known as probiotics, must be refreshed. One of the best foods for it is cheese.

Lactobacillus

Lactobacillus is a probiotic is found in large quantities in all cheeses. It does many things for our bodies. Firstly, it is what helps line our lower intestines, breaking down harder to digest foods that may cause irritation or discomfort. Those who have low levels of this probiotic are known to have issues with ulcers or similar digestive problems. It also helps with regularity, and can help ease constipation. If you are having cramps, eating some cheddar cheese might help relieve them. Beyond digestive help, it can even boost your immune system, helping fight off bad bacteria and infections.

Penicillium

This cousin to penicillin lives in several of what are known as the mold cheeses. They can help fight off infections that have already taken hold, and help you get better faster. These can also help you push toxins that may be stagnating in your body out through the pores by accelerating the natural excretions process. This can be slightly unsightly though, as eating too much of the cheeses that contain this, such as Roquefort and blue cheese, can make you smell a little funky. However, this bacteria stays in your systems and can help fight off future illness too!

Yeast

While the amount of yeast that can be found in cheese is often questioned, the benefits certainly are not. Yeast is good for the skin, hair, and nails, helping to strengthen these areas of the body. It also contains many amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for healthy living. Yeast also grows naturally in the body, helping to produce these necessary vitamins and minerals without outside ingestion. Replenishing these probiotic cultures is a healthy way to ensure you have an additional intake of them throughout the day and nighttime hours.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Makes The Holes In Swiss Cheese?

As a kid, you may have been told cute stories that the holes in Swiss cheese are made from mice, or other goofy tales. In reality, this holes, known as eyes to cheese experts, are made from the expansion of carbon dioxide in cheese. The process for turning milk into cheese complex, and each type of cheese is a little different from its cousin. So what makes Swiss cheese have these eyes where other cheeses do not? It is all about the process, and Swiss cheese is very special in that regard. Here is a look at what makes Swiss cheese different from the rest.

From Milk To Swiss

All cheese starts off as milk, and like most other cheeses in America, Swiss is made from cow’s milk. To this milk, bacteria is added in controlled amounts. The bacteria eat away at the milk, turning certain portions of it into lactic acid. This is the case for all cheeses. What is different about some cheeses, like Swiss, is the type of bacteria that is chosen for the process. Bacteria S. thermophiles, Lactobacillus and P. shermani are what are used to make Swiss cheese, and the levels in the milk must be very specific in order to make the perfect cheese. There are even some regulations on the hole sizes in Swiss cheese, making even more important the bacteria levels are perfect.

Special Combinations

As the bacteria eats away at the remaining portions of sugars in the cheese curd stage, these bacteria become particularly gassy. They expel carbon dioxide, which expands pieces of the cheese outward, making the eyes in the final product. But Swiss cheese is not the only place where these holes are evident, it is just the most pronounced. If you look carefully at a wheel of rind-less cheddar, you can see tiny holes there as well. This happens to all cheeses, Swiss is just special because it is the most common with these bacterial combinations.

Swiss Facts

This combination also gives it the special flavor. As with any cheese, it comes in several age stages, from baby to aged. As it becomes more aged, these pockets of released gas can become larger. Some cheese packagers may exaggerate these eyes for effect as well, but real, fresh swiss usually has holes from about three-eighths to eight-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. Swiss also changes flavor considerably as it ages, arguably more than cheddar or provolone cheese.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Ages Of Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is still a favorite of many average consumers and connoisseurs alike. It is well known for its versatility and ability to be paired with many different dishes and beverages. Many people just getting into the cheese world do not know, however, what the varying age differences in a good cheddar are. How cheddar aged, and what is are the ages of cheddar are common questions to new fans of this wonderful cheese. Something to remember, even the youngest cheddars are aged for at least a month before you eat it. Here are the aspects of cheddar, the many ages, and what critics say the distinctions in flavors are.

How Do You Age Cheddar

Most fine cheddars are aged in a sealed boxed, in a carefully regulated environment. However, there are a ton of ways you can age this cheese. It is one of the hardiest against mold and some airborne bacteria. It still cannot last very long in an open environment though. Most commercial cheeses are aged in a refrigerator or temperature controlled room for a short time, then cut and shipped. Personal or fine cheeses may be stored in a cellar or other cheese making room, and may be aged in anything from a wooden box to a sealed high-tech ager.

So What Are The Ages Of Cheddar?

There are three broad names for the ages of cheddar. Mild cheddar is usually aged for no more than two to three weeks, having the smoothest flavor and texture. Medium cheddars are aged for anywhere from four months to as much as nine months, and have a slightly sharper flavor. Medium cheddars are most commonly found in sandwich shops because it is a nice balance in texture between malleable and flaky. Sharp cheddars are the oldest variety, and have a strong flavor, and get flaky as it ages, but also take on a creamy quality.

What Is The Oldest Cheese?

While it is not recommended as it is difficult to regulate for such long periods of time, the age of a cheese can be quite long. Recently a forty year old cheese was uncovered and found to be quite edible and delicious. It was described as crumbly, creamy, and very sharp. The oldest cheese that you will likely find is six to eight years old, which is considered a fine cheese to most. Even twelve to fourteen year old cheeses are not unheard of on the open market.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cheese Throughout History

The history of the first cheese maker are lost to time. The prevailing myth is that an Arab trader filled a sheep’s stomach pouch with milk for transport, and during his travels, the milk separated into curd and whey. Most historians believe the practice of cheese making predates even these tales, and is entwined with our earliest unrecorded histories. The first recorded evidence of cheese making dates back to five-thousand and five hundred BCE, though it is speculated that it was even earlier that is was discovered and a became a common practice. This ancient cheese is speculated to be more similar to feta than modern cheeses like cheddar.

Roman Cheeses

Cheeses were also a staple of Greek and Roman societies. By the time of the middle Roman years, it was a seasoned art, with cheese makers dominating a valuable professional title. Salted cheeses were often carried with other field rations starting during this time. Modern cheese still would not have been created, but they would have had a more similar form, probably hard, flaky, and very salty, not unlike a mixture between very aged cheddars and Gouda. Some cheese enthusiast have made representations of what they think these cheeses would taste like.

The Dark Age Of Cheese

During the Middle Ages, cheese fell out of favor with the noble classes, and was largely relegated to the peasant, or surf classes. Even soldiers eschewed this amazing food as beneath them. Thankfully the Dark Ages for cheese did not last long. As the Age of Enlightenment dawned, modern cheeses like Gouda, Swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar became common and were named as such. It is impossible to tell how close these cheeses were to their modern equivalents, but some historians have tried to do it with the tools likely available then. Cheese was largely unknown or uncommon in the Asiatic countries until the early eighteen-hundreds, when it became more industrialized.

Industrial Cheese Evolution

As with nearly every other product, with the dawn of North America, and the industrialized age, cheese started being made in an assembly line fashion. The modern example of cheese as we know it were becoming a reality, and it was a major staple in nearly every household in the Americas, and most European countries. In the eighteen sixties, microbial cultures and the controlled productions of cheeses became possible, so instead of reusing old cultures, the bacteria could be created in a closed environment where all factors could be controlled.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Ways To Serve Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are an amazingly versatile food, for both snacking and decorative plating. There are just so many ways to eat these amazing cheese bites, it is hard to decide! But if you are serving snacks or a meal to guests, family, or friends, you will want a game plan. Here are five awesome ways to serve your curds.

Fried

Fried cheese curds are one of the most common ways to serve them. They can either be breaded or fried on their own. Without breading, the outside tends to retract slightly, leaving a harder crust of its own. With breading they tend to melt slightly inside rather than curl. This is a great way to serve cheese curds to those who have never tried them before.

Pizza Curds

Some people like a little stretchiness to their pizza topping cheese. Curds are one of the best ways to do this. When melted they have more elasticity than many other cheeses. The best type for this would likely be mozzarella, but don’t let convention stop you from experimenting with your cheese curds. a cheddar topping for a pizza is just as tasty some days!

Curds & Salad

Another great way to serve your curds, is to chop them up and serve them in a salad. They often complement the textures of the dish better than cubes of cheese do. They also can easily be melted before you add them without losing their consistency, like a cube of cheese would. If you are going for a big salad, you may not even want to chop the curds up.

Dipping Curds

Cheese curds also taste amazing in many dipping sauces. You may want to consider just serving a platter of curds next to a favored sauce. Some favorites include barbecue, ranch, and marinara sauce, but again, don’t let convention weigh you down. Other salad dressings, mustard, or even your own specialty sauces could strike a guests fancy when the fantastic cheese curd is presented.

Toppings!

There are many dishes where you might add olives, chicken slices, or other garnishes. Even drinks like Bloody Marys and martinis have these embellishments. While it may seem strange right off, cheese curds are a perfect alternative, and can soak up, and complement the flavors found here very nicely. The beauty of cheese curds is just how versatile they are with any dish, and can defy most cheese stereotypes.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Health Benefits Of Quality Cheese

While many people state that cheese should be removed from your diet, quality cheese is something you should be eating more of, not less. Highly processed cheeses certainly have many properties that are not good for you, and this includes the most commonly consumed cheese type, sliced cheese. But eating fresh, quality cheeses can provide many health benefits. The biggest reason for the defamation of cheese is the proliferation of saturated fats and cholesterol myths. The saturated fats in cheese actually improve heart health, rather than put you at risk for a heart attack like some skewed marketing sources would like you to believe. In fact, studies show that Americans are

Minerals

Cheese is also an excellent source of minerals like calcium. Because it is a refined version of the pasteurized milks found in grazers, it contains more of these minerals than the milk itself! This is important, especially for women with common calcium deficiencies who are looking for an alternative to daily supplements. Zinc can also be found in good quantities in cheese, which is an important mineral for many digestion processes. The truly unique aspect of cheese that makes it stand out in mineral properties, is its phosphorus content, which is difficult to find in other common foods.

Vitamins

Vitamins also come in spades from eating a healthy amount of cheese. The most important of these, is the vitamin K2, which is uncommon in most foods American’s commonly consume. It is vital to digestive health, brain functions, bone, and muscle development. In your later years, this vitamin can make a difference between difficult movement and easy living. It also contains vitamin A, D, Riboflavin, and B12. This is a huge variety that many other commonly available foods in America simply do not compare to. It is an excellent source of all of these, as it is also easy for the body to absorb, unlike many other foods available.

Lactose Intolerance And Processed Cheeses

Even if you have a condition known as lactose intolerance, which makes lactose rich foods like milk and ice cream difficult to digest, you can still eat cheese. Pairing it with other foods, such as meats, helps break down the lactose quickly, and helps keep the strain off your stomach. Be sure to choose cheeses that are certified quality, and not processed heavily for artificial preservation. These contain additives that are known to cause and accelerate cancerous cells in the body, and are difficult for your body to digest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

7 Surprising Ways To Use Cheese

Cheese is a surprisingly versatile ingredient. You can make a stunning variety of foods with cheese as a base, or complement even more foods with a well-chosen cheese. Some of these dishes take some cheese manipulations skills, and others can be made by anyone. Here are seven of the most surprising ways to use cheese in dishes.

1) Cheese Scones

If baked correctly, cheese can be shaped into an almost doughy substance. From there they can be shaped into delicious scones. They can be filled with a variety of delicious ingredients, or even filled with even more cheese!

2) Au Gratin Potatoes

Everyone knows potatoes are better with cheese, but you need a little splash for these delicious take of your favorite spud. These are really easy to make, and are sometimes known as “funeral potatoes”. Despite their name they are good for any old meal and taste amazing!

3) Grits Additions

Grits by themselves are pretty plain. Most people use traditional breakfast toppings to mix it up with their morning meal. Cheese however, is just as good with grits, and makes a great addition to any meal. Melt the cheese evenly however, as this combination has a tendency to get rather clumpy.

4) Buckwheat Straws

By themselves, buckwheat strays are a healthy and delicious snack. With cheese, they are much easier to make, as they hold together better, and they taste a ton better. This is the perfect snack if you are looking for a healthy way to get some cheese into your diet.

5) Homemade Jalapeno Poppers

While it may seem like a hard recipe, making your own jalapeno poppers is super simple! All you need is bread crumbs and melted cheese, then dip the the pepper into the cheese then the breadcrumbs. Bake until the bread crumbs are crisp around the outside of the pepper and enjoy!

6) Quiche Squares

Quiche by itself is a great way to use cheese, but with a little imagination, you can take this recipe to the next level as a snack item. Both bacon and spinach are popular choices for this. Simple whip eggs, mix in melted cheese, add a small amount of bread crumb, and bake in a baking pan.

7) Cheese and Apple Pie

While it may not sound terribly appealing at first thought, cheese is an amazing compliment to apples. Simply add some cheddar to your apple pie and enjoy. Really, it is delicious!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

4 Reasons To Try Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are really something you should not miss out on. They are fantastic, snackable, and come in many amazing shapes and flavors. If you have never tried cheese curds, they may sound a little weird, and you may need a little encouragement. They really are one of the best methods of eating cheese, and here are four clear reasons to try cheese curds.

Freshness

Cheese curds are made from “newborn” cheddar product making it the freshest variety of cheese you can eat! This is apparent in the flavor of the cheese. It is sharp, but it does not yet have the deeper, aged flavor. This is what gets many people hooked, it is truly an unadulterated flavor. It also does not have the slightly aged aftertaste that is associated with many cheeses. This is the biggest reason many people prefer cheese curds over other cheeses, which may have strongly aged flavors that are better for more refined palettes.

Large Snacking Selections

While most base cheese curds are made the same way as the next, there are some additional flavors and additions only available with some. Things like bacon bits, veggie chunks, and fried coatings are just a few of the alterations that can be added to cheese curds. This makes them an amazing snacking food, as you can even add these things to your curds yourself. The sheer variety makes them some of the best snacks for children too.

No Mess

Some of the softer cheeses, and many other snacking foods have a large chance for making a mess. Cheese curds are perfect for children or the accident prone, because there is nothing to make a mess with! They are easy to pop in the mouth as a snacking item, and do not melt in the same way many conventional cheeses do. If you are looking for a clean and easy snacking item, cheese curds are the best.

Diversity!

Cheese curds can be used more for just simple snacking, there are a ton of recipes that benefit from a few well-placed cheese curds. Even some melted curds (it takes longer to melt cheese curds than conventional cheese) are using in many dishes. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and cheese curd enthusiasts are coming up with new and inventive ways to use them every day. Try your own new and fun recipes with these amazing cheesy delights!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Best Tools For Cheese Cutting

There are a ton of tools for cheese cutting. Each aims to provide a singular experience with the cheese that can only be obtained through the proper amount cut. There are so many tools, because people prefer their cheese cut differently for different occasions, and even certain cheeses, like a fine mozzarella, cut differently. Here are some of the best tools for cheese cutting, and what they are used for.

Wire Cheese Cutter

These tools are often either found on a stone block with swinging arm, or a hanger like object with the wire stretched along the bottom. These tools are made for slicing blocks of cheese very thinly, and are often found in sandwich shops or bakeries. Some home models do exist, and are common in families that use blocks or bricks of cheese instead of slices. These tools also have the benefit of aerating the cheese when it is cut, like a traditional cheese knife.

Cheese Knives

There are two types of cheese knife, the soft cheese and hard cheese knives. A soft cheese knife generally has a serrated blade with holes in the blade. They are also commonly made from stainless steel. All of these qualities are to mitigate the stickiness of soft cheeses, and help present a cleanly cut slice of cheese. A hard cheese knife must be stronger and thicker. For example, a parmesan knife is very similar to an oyster knife. They are generally small so it is easier to shed away the rind.

Cheese Graters

These cheese cutting tools are designed for finely grating the cheese for melting or seasoning purposes. The sizes of these graters range from large shreds of cheese, to almost powdered cheeses. They are designed with both hard and soft cheese in mind, but are generally more commonly used on soft cheeses like mozzarella. They also come in a variety of shapes, as sometimes a lot of effort is required to grate large amounts of cheese, and good posturing is key.

Cheese Scrapers

Sometimes a garnish of cheese is all that is required, or you need the cheese to melt very quickly. In these cases, cheese scrapers are the best tool for the job. These are used by placing a wheel of cheese with a spoke through the center, then attaching a blade on top. The blade is then turned around the spoke, scraping a minimal amount of cheese off of the top.

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