Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vote Which Cheese You Want a FREE Pound Of!

This Election Day we are giving you a chance to vote on which cheese you would like a FREE pound of! All you need to do is pick your favorite cheese from the poll above, and whichever cheese is picked the most will be the winner! Shortly after the poll closes at 11:59 PM (EST) Friday November 9, 2012, we will be announcing a special coupon code only redeemable online at that is good for one FREE pound of the winning cheese! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter if you haven't already because the special coupon will be contained in there! Have fun and enjoy!

Don't forget to check out our Election Day Cheese SALE!

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Can I put Cheese Back In The Refrigerator Once It Has Been Left Out?

Cheese can in some cases be a little expensive, but sometimes due to a distraction you can leave it outside of the refrigerator by accident. It is then that a lot of people want to know how long cheese can be outside and still be good enough to store in the fridge again. The amount of time that cheese can be outside depends on the type of cheese that you are talking about. Some cheeses will go bad faster than others and how long it stays good depends on the storage conditions. Keeping it in the fridge is not enough; you may also have to take other precautions. Here is what you can expect from some of the most popular products out there such as cheddar, mozzarella and cheese curds.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese is a very popular type of cheese and it is also one of the cheeses most people will not put back in the fridge right away. The problem with leaving mozzarella cheese out of the fridge (and any cheese for that matter) is that after some time bacteria will start to grow. Our bodies are made to kill the bacteria, but it will not kill all of it. How long does depend on the kind of Mozzarella. The fresh version in a salt bath can last for a few hours up to four. The firmer version of Mozzarella can last a few hours if still in a sealed container.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a bit different to mozzarella in that it is aged longer and therefore can withstand being out of the fridge longer. Many people used to keep aged, hard cheeses in dishes that had wooden bottoms with glass lids and they would keep fine for even a week. When in its original packaging, store bought Cheddar can be safe to keep outside for a period of eight hours, provided that the package is sealed and that there have not been any extremely high temperatures. Refrigeration at temps of 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit have been used to slow the molding process and prolong the edibility of the cheese.

Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are best when they are made that day and eaten before refrigerated. This is the best way to enjoy their ‘squeak’ and their taste. Some people actually keep them out of the fridge for up to 48 hours. For this purpose, if you want to keep the cheese curds tasting their best then you should make sure to keep them in their original packaging and a sealed plastic bag would also help. If you aren’t going to gobble them up shortly then you can store in the fridge or even in the freezer for up to four months.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jurassic Sharp Cheddar Facebook Giveaway

Trick or Treat Contest! Jurassic Sharp Cheddar is Back! Win 5 pounds of our sharpest Cheddar cheese shipped ABSOLUTELY FREE! 

Like our facebook page, and get 1 entry for liking our Jurassic Sharp Giveaway Post, get 2 more entries if you comment on our Jurassic Sharp Giveaway Post, with "Jurassic 
Sharp is Back!", get 3 more entries if you share our 
Jurassic Sharp Giveaway Post on your wall with the comment "Jurassic Sharp is Back!". It's easy as 1-2-3! Make sure you get all the entries into our contest! We will draw one lucky winner on Halloween night! Good luck!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mobile Cheese Directory, Wine Pairing, Deals, and More iOS app


Need some more info about that cheese you've never heard of? Want a good wine with that cheese, or a good cheese with that wine? Need some answers to many frequently asked cheesy questions? Need some cheesy recipe ideas? Interested in saving money on cheese and wine online?  Introducing What the Cheese? mobile application. If you like cheese, you'll love this - It's a must have for any cheese connoisseur. Download it today and we promise you'll think it's far from cheesy!
Click HERE to download What the Cheese? today!
  • Database of over 400 types of cheeses from around the world - Loaded with information about each one!
  • Over 100 Recipes that are centered around using cheese as the main ingredient - surely something in there for everyone to enjoy!
  • Wine Pairing Guru. Each Cheese has a suggested wine and or beer, but with Wine Pairing Guru, you can search for a cheese by your favorite wine!
  • Ever wonder what cheese is the most healthy, or how Cheddar cheese is made from fresh cheese curds? Find the answers to these questions and many more with the Cheesy Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Save some serious Cheddar! Featuring exclusive coupons and specials from cheese and wine stores from all over the web! This part of the app makes the whole thing worth more than the cost of the app! 

Can You Freeze Mozzarella Cheese?

There are many people that are fans of this delicious, semi-soft or soft cheese and for good reason. It’s ideal on pizzas, delicious melted over just about everything and tasty on crackers. Often we love it so much we want to get it in bulk. This can raise the question on storage and if freezing is appropriate.

Fresh Mozzarella From Sheep Or Buffalo’s Milk

If you haven’t tried delicious and true, fresh Mozzarella you are missing out on the one of the creamiest textures in the cheese world. It is a delicious way to enjoy a low-fat, high protein snack. If you’re considering freezing your fresh Mozzarella you might want to know what you can expect afterward. There will be a definite texture change with this variety. You’ll often end up with some excess liquid that will need draining. This is usually the whey. Loss of this liquid can cause a small loss in flavor. You will also notice that the cheese will crumble or fall apart much easier. If your plans are using the cheese for baking then this is an excellent way to store it. If you want to use it for a tasting party then perhaps you’d be better off storing it in the fridge and chancing the mold you can scrape off.

Shredded Mozzarella

Pre-packaged or home-shredded Mozzarella is the best for freezing. You can place the pre-packaged cheese in a strong freezer bag, squeeze all the air out and plop directly into freezer. You can also use it directly from the freezer in dishes such as; pizza, lasagna and pasta. If you’re shredding it yourself then it’s good to toss a bit of cornstarch through to keep it from sticking together. When storing it, wrap in foil or plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag. Make sure all the air is out as any air will damage the cheese and cause freezer burn.

Bricks Of Mozzarella

You can easily store bricks of Mozzarella for 3-6 months in your freezer. You won’t lose too much in the taste but it will become mealier and crumble more easily. When using it on top of pizzas, melted over veggies or mixed into soups and sauces this is just fine. You are best to store it in sizes that you will use for cooking these dishes so you don’t have to refreeze or try to use it all up. It is also a great idea to thaw in your fridge overnight before using. If you’re going to store in slices then separate the slices with wax paper to prevent them sticking together.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What’s The Best Cheese For Macaroni And Cheese?

If you’re like many people you love warm and gooey mac and cheese. Many of us enjoy nothing better than making this lovely dish at home so that we can enjoy it fresh out of the oven. If you’re considering making this favored pasta then you’ll surely want to know what the best cheese to use is.  You’ll want to consider a few things, first of all and most importantly, the melting factor.

Melted Cheese For Your Macaroni

You will want to consider that your cheese needs to melt into the delicious form we’ve come to know and love. Some cheeses don’t lend themselves very well to melting. Mozzarella, for one, is certainly well loved because of the way it melts and the beautiful golden brown color it gets when baked just right. It isn’t often a first choice for mac and cheese though. Instead you should consider using something that already lends itself to the traditional dish. Cheddar cheese curds are one of the best varieties to use with your macaroni. These will melt how you like and give you the brightly colored noodles that are so loved.

Consider A Unique Flavor

While it is true that there are some standard cheeses to create this well-loved dish, you don’t have to make it just like your mother did. There are many other cheeses you can use that will enhance the flavor and put a new spin on a classic.  If you haven’t tried maple smoked Cheddar cheese in your mac you might be surprised. This is a flavor that can go lovely with added veggies or chicken as well. In addition to trying smoked cheddar you can also try a variety of cheeses that have flavors rolled into them. One favorite is cheese curds with garlic or jalapenos. Both of these flavors will enhance your mac and cheese. Also, cheese curds are great for melting because they are already soft and crumbled up.

American Cheese

It is true that the most popular cheese for this dish is American and that’s because it has added emulsifiers. This means that it will melt much faster and be creamier than other cheeses. It also means it is generally more processed. If you’re looking to get the creaminess of American but without the artificial ingredients of processing, then here’s a simple trick.  Make your own cheese sauce. To do this you’ll use either béchamel or if you’re truly starting on your own, heavy cream or milk. You can add a little butter if you’d like a creamier texture. The idea is to get a sauce pan and warm your liquids (any combo of béchamel, milk, cream or butter) and add your favorite cheese (or cheeses) in cubes. You want it to be hot enough to melt the cheese but not too hot to curdle the milk. Stir until you have a smooth consistency and then poor over your noodles and bake.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What’s The Difference Between Cold And Liquid Smoked Cheese?

Cheese is delicious in many flavors. People enjoy it on trays with fruit, crackers or veggies. They enjoy putting it on sandwiches, melting it over casseroles or making dips out of it. There are varieties that have been blended with herbs like chives and garlic, flavors that are seasoned with Cajun spices, or laced with peppers. Regardless of what your favored taste is there is something out there for you. Many enjoy the flavor of smooth, smoked Gouda, Swiss or Cheddar. You can still love this fantastic flavor without knowing how it’s been prepared but here’s a little background on your favorite cheese.

Liquid Smoked

If you’re nibbling at some smoked cheese curds and marveling at the flavor you’re likely to wonder how it got there. You read the label and see that it was made with liquid smoke but don’t have a clue what this means. It’s good to know that the smoke liquid is produced from actual smoke. There is a tube it is passed through from a chamber made for combustion and then it’s condensed. It is in this condenser that the liquid is formed. This is done through a cooling process with added water. It can be used for both flavoring and preserving food. 

When cheese is smoked this way it is often added directly to the milk before it is made. You can also get liquid smoked cheese from adding this to the brine, or salt solution. In some cases, the liquid will be added to the cheese after the entire process is done. It can be used as a rub over the cheese and then lightly warmed to bring out the flavor.  In smaller cheese operations the cheese is generally dipped into the liquid and in larger operations it is sprayed over it.

Cold Smoking Your Cheese

In regards to smoking cheese more traditionally there are several things you should keep in mind. First of all, remember the term is ‘cold.’ You will need to keep the temp of your smoker below 100 degrees so that you don’t ruin the food. Most of them are smoked at 85 degrees or below. There are two ways to reach the cooler temperature and still create the smoke. Some will devise the smoke being filtered through ice (only advised if it has to be done this way). Generally speaking most cheese makers set up smoke houses and pipes to run the smoke some distance to the cheese. They may use fans or billows to speed the process but the idea is to keep the cheese cool so it doesn't start to run off oil or lose shape. During this process hard woods such as apple and maple are used in fine chips or even sawdust. It is the flavor of the wood and it’s smoke that lends itself to delicious maple smoked Cheddar, gouda or swiss.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Types Of Milk Make The Best Tasting Cheese?

When it comes to cheese most fans will tell you there aren’t many they don’t like. The truth is the creamy texture is enjoyed by many and in quite a few different dishes. If you’re looking to learn more about cheese and wondering what goes into making the final product you surely have found it’s made of milk.  But what kind of milk and how does it affect the flavor?  There are many different kinds of milk that can be used to create cheese all lending their own flavor.

Buffalo Milk Mozzarella

Some of the creamiest Mozzarella comes from the milk of domesticated water buffalo. The birthplace of Mozzarella from buffalo is Italy, although there are many producers outside of the country now. You can find it made in Spain, Egypt, the U.S., Mexico and Australia among many other countries. Water buffalo milk has a higher fat content and therefore generally produces a creamier cheese. Milk from cows is also used for Mozzarella with extremely tasty results.

Goat Or Sheep Milk

Not many people will drink milk from sheep because it is so high in lactose. It does, however work well for making delicious cheese. You can find Roquefort, Feta and even Pecorino Romano made from sheep’s milk. Most cheeses made from sheep’s milk are described as rich, buttery in flavor and said to have a nutty taste.

Goat’s milk cheese is more well-known and creates some of the most popular cheeses out there. In fact, goat’s milk is the most similar to human milk (because of its low potassium) and therefore is often consumed by people who have ulcers or kidney problems. In addition, it is good for those who don’t tolerate cow’s milk very well. Some cheeses you’d expect to find made from goat milk are Feta, Chevre, Chabris, Halloumi and Castelo Branco.  Both Halloumi and Feta are sometimes made from a combination of sheep and goat milk. Quite often goat cheese is made in areas where refrigeration isn’t as easy to come by and so a heavy salt bath is used to preserve it longer. This has created a notion that goat cheese is very salty.

The All Important Cow’s Milk

Most of our favored cheese comes from cow’s milk. You can find all your favorite varieties like, Gouda, Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Provolone, Munster, cheese curds and more from this delicious milk. The best milk for cheese really comes down to your taste and since many people favor these popular types you might consider cow’s milk as the best. If you are watching your figure you can even find cheese made from skim milk.

Little Known Milks

Many other countries make cheese from milk other than from the four animals above. There are those who create golden bricks from camel or llama milk. Others ferment mare’s milk and make cheese from this as well. There are even some who use yak’s milk and reindeer milk for cheese. These are specialty cheeses and nearly impossible to find outside of the region they are made in.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What Type Of Milk Makes The Healthiest Cheese?

When it comes to cheese many of us enjoy it in all its glory and variety. We love crumbles on our salads, it melted in our omelets and enjoy nibbling it from trays. We make spreads and dip with it and enjoy fluffy cheese cakes. Some people even go to extremes to import unique varieties. It is no doubt one of the best loved foods around. What some people get concerned with, however is the high amount of fat that can come with it. This may leave them wondering if there is a healthier way to enjoy their favorite treat.

Your Definition Of Healthy Cheese

In regards to the milk that makes the healthiest cheese you must first consider what you mean by healthy. Do you mean the lowest fat? There are many mozzarellas that will still melt into gooey deliciousness over your pizza or toast that are made from skim-fat milk. With this cheese you can easily cut your fat down to trivial amounts. You may, however lose a little creamy flavor. If you live with lactose intolerance your definition of healthy may mean you need a cheese that won’t upset your stomach.  For this reason you might then turn to those cheeses that are aged longer or made from goat’s milk, such as an aged Cheddar or Feta cheese.

Different Milks In General

There is a new wave of health advocates who are looking at the milk for specific criteria. These people want to see milk that is antibiotic free and that comes from cows that were fed a grass diet. The reason these are desired is because the milk won’t have added hormones and drugs that are passed into the cheese. In addition, the milk will have health promoting fats like Omega 3s and DHA. Some people like to get their Cheddar or Cheese curds from raw milk. This is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized because it is believed to not have all the healthy fats and enzymes removed during the process. Finding cheese made from raw milk in the US can be difficult.

Goat’s milk is considered the closest to human milk and has the least amount of lactose. This means it generally doesn't upset stomachs and still provides a good dose of calcium along with other important nutrients. For this reason, many consider it the healthiest milk to get your cheese from.

What About Flavor

Because health comes in many forms it is important to also consider flavor. If you’re going to load up on large amounts of cheese made from skim milk in an attempt to still taste it you might be better off going with an aged Sharp Cheddar cheese. This is because you will need less of it to still feel satisfied. Before you try to decide on the healthiest milk for making cheese, remember to consider what health benefits you want from your Cheddar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Can Cheese Cause Or Aggravate Acne?

Suffering from acne can be annoying or downright miserable. It can lead people to search for reasons they have it and turn to their diet for the answers. There are old wives tales that too much chocolate can lead to the problem, others have cited pizza as a reason you have acne. Whatever the cause, you are sure to want to try just about anything to keep it at bay. You may even be considering getting rid of your favorite snack like Cheddar cheese or cheese curds.

What Are Causes Of Acne

Stress is certainly a factor in adult acne. There are numerous people that have noticed a break out right before their wedding or big interview. Perhaps when you’re stressed out you turn to snacking on comfort food like melted Mozzarella and then blame the inevitable pimples on what you ate. It is also a known fact that hormones can cause acne to flare up. Women for centuries have seen the problem occur during their menstrual cycle. You may also notice food cravings associated with hormones. During this time you might not be able to resist snacking on cheese curds and again turn to this as the culprit for the unsightly pimples.

Is There A Link Between Cheese And Acne?

There are some studies that are pointing to the hormones in milk products inciting acne flare ups. Others have also noted that the link may be because of lactose intolerance. If you have come to believe you need to alter your diet to avoid acne and are looking at removing cheese you might like to try these suggestions first. Instead of getting rid of cheese all together try enjoying aged cheeses. Mozzarella is a cheese that has a relatively short aging process. Because of this it could have more lactose in it and perhaps you might try something older. Consider going for the aged Cheddar cheese. These cheeses tend to have less lactose and might be gentler on your system. In addition you’ll get powerful flavor which should allow you to enjoy it without having to overindulge.

Goat’s Or Sheep’s Milk

Another thing to consider is cheese made from goat’s or sheep’s milk. Goat milk, in particularly is known to be gentler on a person’s system, therefore the cheese might not aggravate your condition. Sheep’s milk has a higher fat content so should be considered as a final option. Whatever cheeses you choose to still include in your diet it’s important that you take into account there are likely other causes to your acne. If you’re going to try restricting your diet then make sure you know it isn’t stress, hormones or medication. In addition, when eliminating items make sure to do so carefully so you can track your changes and pin point what is working.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Does Cheese Help Depression Or Any Illnesses?

When people start struggling with illness or depression they don’t often naturally turn to their diet. This can be a mistake as it should be the first place you look to make changes, especially if you’re eating a traditional American diet. The problem that lies with the traditional American diet is that it is often rich in processed foods, sugars and refined carbs. It can be devoid of the essential fats and nutrients that a person needs to stay healthy. If you’re looking to feel better and have a more stable mood then you should start by considering what you are eating every day.  You need whole, unprocessed foods to have balanced health. Cheese is one of these valuable foods and can help stabilize your mood.

Nutrients In Cheese

One of the contributing reasons that cheese can help is because of the nutrients in it. In this instance, when speaking of cheese we are speaking of cheese that is unprocessed, without a list of ingredients you cannot pronounce and by-products.  The best cheese for relieving mood disorders is also rich cheese that has not had its fat reduced.  This may come as a surprise to many people but often it is this buttery fat that will help your mood. This is because one of the essential requirements to mood boosting is in the fat, which can contain Omega 3 fatty acids.

So Is It Just The Fat?

This isn’t all you might get from cheeses like Mozzarella or Cheddar, along with the other varieties. They are also full of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D which can help to prevent or fight off disease. Additionally, top quality cheese has probiotic bacteria in it that has recently been shown in studies to help prevent the onset of diabetes. Probiotic bacteria can also aid in your digestion and boost your immune system.

There are even more nutrients you can get from Cheddar cheese and the others, all of which will help you feel better. The truth is that a deficiency in B12 can cause deterioration of a person’s mental capacity which can result in memory loss, depression, psychotic behavior and even paranoia. You can find a good source of this nutrient in cheeses, particularly Edam, Cheddar cheese and Parmesan. Another nutrient that is important to keeping a stable mood is zinc. The good news is this can also be found in Cheddar cheese, along with beef, pumpkin seeds, beans and yogurt.

While it’s important to enjoy your cheese regularly you should also remember to not overindulge.  You won’t feel better by sitting and eating an entire pound in one night. Your health will be better improved if you enjoy daily moderate doses- and what a delicious prescription!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Can You Get Sick Or Die From Bad Cheese?

Molds that grow on cheese can range in color from white to green and can grow on all types of cheeses, from mozzarella to brie. Many people are under the misconception that since cheeses are produced from mold, then eating moldy cheese can’t hurt you. While it is true that mold does play a role in the production of some cheese curds, you should never eat mold that has grown on cheese unless it’s part of the cheese like Bleu cheese.

How Mold Grows On Cheese

Mold typically grows on cheeses and other foods due to a lack of proper storage process facilitated by moisture seeping in. For example, if you wrap a piece of room temperature cheddar cheese tightly in plastic wrap, the warmth of the cheese combined with the cool refrigerated air will cause condensation, or moisture, to form on the inside of the plastic wrap making it more susceptible to mold. When just one mold spore invades your piece of cheese, then it rapidly reproduces, causing more.

Cheese Produced With Mold

Some cheeses are produced using mold. Brie and Camembert, for example, are two soft cheese curds that have a rind produced from molding and the rinds are safe to eat. If you cut your Brie and the open, exposed part later grows mold that is a completely different process. Bacteria such as E.Coli and Salmonella often accompany molds that grow on cheeses after production, and those bacteria can kill you. Many Bleu cheeses have mold running throughout the entire piece, and those molds are safe to eat if the cheese has been properly contained and no additional mold has grown on it.

Bleu cheeses have a specific type of mold, such as the P. roqueforti spore used to make Roquefort Bleu cheese, so any other type of mold growing on the cheese can be harmful to your health. Many soft cheeses such as Mozzarella, Cottage or Riccota, should never be eaten if they have mold on them because mold is not used to produce them. Cheddar can have the mold cut off (about an inch into the cheese) and be safe.

Effects Of Eating Moldy Cheese

If you eat Mozzarella, cheddar, or any other cheese that mold has grown on, the effects could be anywhere from minimal to serious. Most of the time, the acids in the stomach will kill the mold spores, and you will suffer no ill effects. If your immune system is in a compromised state, however, then the effects of the mold could lead to some intestinal problems that typically aren’t more severe than mild cramping or diarrhea. It is the presence of bacteria along with the mold that causes the most serious problems, and there is no way to be sure that the moldy cheese curds you’ve eaten aren’t also teeming with bacteria.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I am Lactose Intolerant, Can I Eat Any Types Cheese?

Unless you suffer from lactose intolerance it can be easy to assume people who have the trouble don’t care for cheese. This is often anything but the truth.  Those with intolerance tend to get stomach issues shortly after digesting lactose. It is likely they still want to enjoy the lovely taste and texture of cheese. If this is the case here are a few things that can help a person with lactose intolerance enjoy cheese.

What Is Lactose?

Lactose is the main sugar in milk. So if you have intolerance traditional milk is off the menu. This sugar happens to feed lactobacillus, one of the species of bacteria that is used in the process of making most cheeses. It is this bacterium that is in dozens of foods created through fermentation and it turns to lactic acid. Lactic acid is fairly easily digested by most people, including those normally intolerant of lactose. So the trick to enjoying cheese is avoiding lactose.

Is Lactose In All Cheeses?

This is a tricky question. Young cheeses that haven’t aged long are generally quite full of lactose and will cause digestion problems for those who are lactose intolerant. The good news is that the older a cheese is the lower amount of lactose will be present. This is because the sugar has been consumed to form more lactic acid. Cheese that has aged three months or longer usually doesn’t have much lactose left. It’s important to note that cheese that is highly processed will have the highest amount of this irritant. Fresh cheeses also contain quite a bit of lactose. If your lactose intolerant you might want to avoid fresh mozzarella, cottage cheese and cream cheese among others.

What Can You Enjoy

The easiest rule to follow is cheese that is harder tends to have lower amounts of lactose. Aged and hard Parmesan tends to have low amounts as well as aged Cheddar or Swiss. A good bit of advice is that if you’re unsure of what to expect start with the older cheeses and small amounts. Try some aged, sharp Cheddar and only try an ounce or so. Or try sprinkling some Parmesan on your noodles. See how this sits and then work your way around to other cheeses. You can usually find information from a quality cheese on how long it’s been aged. Select those that have been aged 3 months or longer. You can find delicious Gouda, Provolone and Swiss quite easily that fit the bill. Most of all, try in very small amounts and pay attention to your body.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Is The Difference Between Vegetable And Animal Rennet? Should I Avoid Either?

Both vegetable rennet and animal rennet are used to make cheese, and they are both available in different forms, such as liquid, tablets, or powder. Rennet is used in the cheese making process to help speed up the thickening, or coagulation, of the milk proteins in order to separate the cheese curds from the whey. The whey is poured off and the curds are then cooked, and sometimes they are aged or further processed to make cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss and Mozzarella.

Animal Rennet

Animal rennet comes from an enzyme called chymosin that is naturally produced in the stomach of a baby cow, goat, or sheep before the animal has eaten anything besides its mother’s milk. When the young animal is slaughtered, the rennet is extracted from its stomach, and then the rennet is processed with milk to produce cheese curds. Adult animals do not have the enzyme, as it is not produced once an animal eats grass, grain, or anything besides mother’s milk. Most European cheese makers use animal rennet to make their cheeses, such as certain Cheddars, Brie, and Mozzarella. Many traditional European cheese makers also store milk in a sort of pouch made from the stomach as well.

Vegetable Rennet

Many plants are coagulants and can be used instead of animal rennet to make cheeses. Fig extract is one such plant, and others include thistle, nettles, mallow, and dried caper leaves. Essentially, the plants are just boiled in water, and then the liquid is strained off and stored to use for cheese making. The process for using the vegetable rennet is the same as for animal rennet; the milk is combined with a small amount of acid to begin the coagulation process, and as it is cooking, the vegetable rennet is added to the milk so that cheese curds will form. Some cheeses, like Mozzarella, are ready to be eaten soon after the curds are separated from the whey, while others, such as Cheddar, undergo further processing.

Should You Avoid Either?

Both animal and vegetable rennet are capable of producing delicious cheeses. Avoiding eating cheeses made with one or the other is simply a matter of preference. Many fine European cheeses are made exclusively from animal rennet, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano. Similar cheeses made from vegetable rennet are often considered inferior. On the other hand, many people are bothered by the idea of eating cheese that results from the slaughter of an un-weaned animal, so they choose cheeses that are made from vegetable rennet instead.

Cheese curd produced from animal rennet is not kosher either, so that is another fact to take into consideration. In fact, most kosher cheeses are made from rennet that is produced in a laboratory using microbes. Certain types of fungi, yeasts and microbes have been combined with animal genes so that they will produce chymosin, which is then used to produce cheese curds in the cheese making process. Laboratory produced rennet is generally thought to produce cheeses, such as mozzarella and cheddar, that have a taste and texture very similar to those produced from animal rennet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Can You Freeze Cheddar Cheese?

Cheese; you either are completely in love with it, want it on everything or don’t really care for it. Take a vote and you’ll find people tend to be madly in love with cheese, eating it plain, with crackers or on a great many dishes. They may through a slice on apple pie or make veggies more appealing by melting it over them.

Why Freeze It If We’re Gobbling It Up?

The fact is, cheese can be pricey if you like the good stuff or if you like to enjoy it often.  There are a couple of different ways you can save money on cheese. One is taking advantages of sales and the other is buying in bulk. Both mean that you might end up with more Cheddar than you can eat before it starts to get moldy.  Now you are left with the inevitable question of what to do with all this delicious cheese. The first and often simplest answer is to consider freezing your cheddar, mozzarella or cheese curds. But now you’re left with wondering how it will hold up to it.

What Will Come Out Of The Freezer

Because Cheddar cheese isn't nearly as soft as Mozzarella or cheese curds you will find that it will hold up to the freezing process better than the soft varieties. Often our softer cheese (which isn't aged as long) has more space for the air to get into it and will lose flavor faster as well as its texture. To be honest, the last thing you’ll want to do is take a very fine cheese like a Camembert you've imported and toss it into the freezer. Instead send it to a real cheese fan that will gobble it up and enjoy every morsel!

Most likely you aren't asking about the gourmet flavors, you’re asking about some bulk cheddar cheese. If you are planning on eating the cheese in slices, served with crackers or another side like fruit then you might want to reconsider. The texture of a firm cheese like Cheddar tends to come out of the freezer with most its integrity intact, although it will be texturally different. Don’t worry though; your flavor will still be there. This is why freezing Cheddar or even Mozzarella (semi-soft) cheese for later use in cooking can be an excellent way to preserve your cheese and your budget.

Consider The Following Tips:
Cheeses like Parmigiano Regggiano, Asiago, Romano or aged Cheddar tend to fare the process very well.
Don’t freeze for longer than six months or you can run into freezer burn and poor flavor.
Freeze in small portions that you’ll use in a dish such as baked spaghetti, pizza, or casseroles.
Shred before freezing and toss the cheese in a light coating of corn starch or flour to keep them from sticking.
If freezing in slices, separate with wax paper to prevent sticking.
Take time to store it very well. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then seal in a quality freezer bag being careful to get ALL the air out.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Are The Hard, Crunchy, Crystallized Things In And On Hard Cheeses?

If you are someone who enjoys cheese there’s a good chance you’ve tasted quite a few different types. You’re likely to have enjoyed aged Gouda, Sharp Cheddar and even fresh cheese curds. During all these different taste tests you’ve probably ran across crystal crunchies on some of your cheese. These treats may have left you wondering if your cheese was fresh and just where the crystals come from. To better understand you’ll need to get a look at how cheese is made.

How Do You Make An Aged Cheddar?

When making Cheddar, as well as many other cheeses, they start with high quality milk. They ripen the milk with one of the many different ripening agents available. During this process lactose, the sugar found in milk gets consumed by bacteria to form lactic acid. After it has been ripened to the cheese maker’s satisfaction rennet is added to get curds to start forming. Once you have the curds you are well on your way to making your cheddar. These curds will be pressed and the whey (liquid) will be separated. Once all the whey has been drained off you will press the cheese and form it. If you’re making Cheddar it’s usually formed into a brick.

Aging The Cheddar

Cheese can’t just be aged in just any old place. The right area, with the correct humidity, temperature and mold spores have to be available. Specialty cheese cellars or caves are generally used. Here they will be checked on regularly to make sure the rind and moisture develop accordingly. Different countries have different rules for their aging areas. The French only get to age one type of cheese per room and the rooms aren't sterile. In the US sterile conditions are required and different cheeses are permitted in one room. Some of these cheeses can be aged for six years or more, creating a complex, sharp flavor!

What Does All This Have To Do With The Crystals?

Many people tend to think these bits are actually salt. This is not the case, unless you are talking about cheeses with washed-rinds. In these varieties you may have a salt residue from the brine.  With hard cheese, they are tyrosine which is from clusters of amino acid. They are generally found on cheeses that have aged longest, such as aged Cheddar, Swiss or Gouda as well as Parmigiano Reggiano among others. The protein casein, which is dominant in milk, actually makes Tyrosine. It is formed during the process of making cheese by trapping proteins and fats during acidification. It is perfectly edible and generally adds a lovely texture and compliments pairings with beverages such as wine and rich stouts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Is Some Cheese Orange?

All cheese is produced from milk that is then processed to produce cheese. Cow, goat and sheep’s milk are the most common milks used for cheese making. Milk is white, so why aren’t all cheeses white like mozzarella?  Cheddar cheese for example, is orange and many others range in color from off-white to light yellow to deep orange.


All milk isn’t actually white, and that leads to the explanation for why we have so much variety in the colors of cheeses. The actual color of milk produced from an animal varies according to the animal’s diet. For example, an animal might eat mostly hay in the winter, which produces slightly off-white colored milk. In the spring and summer however, pasture fed animals may eat a lot of fresh grass, which contains higher levels of beta-carotene. The milk they produce is orange tinged. The cheese curds produced from the different shades of milk are differently colored as well.

Yellow And Orange Cheese

Because of the variation in the animals’ diets the curds for some cheeses such as cheddar are different colors. Cheese produced in the spring and summer is more of an orange color, and cheese produced in fall and winter is more yellow or off- white. Because the cheese produced from grass fed animals was believed to contain more butterfat, the orange cheese was believed to be better. This left cheese makers with less desirable cheese to sell for half of the year.

To make the fall and winter cheese appear to be as orange as the spring and summer cheese, they began adding dye to the cheese curds to produce a more orange color. This led to no discernible difference between cheeses produced at different times of the year.

Adding Color To Cheeses

Raw, unpasteurized and pasteurized milks can all be used to make cheeses. The milk is heated, and sometimes a small amount of acid is added so that the milk will begin to thicken. In the case for most cheeses, the milk has been left to “ripen” a while so that lactic acid is naturally produced in order to begin the process.  Rennet is then added to the milk to aid in the coagulation process, which allows the cheese curds to be separated from the liquid whey. The curds are cut and continue cooking and then the whey is strained off.

Depending on the type of cheese made, the cheese may undergo further processing. Cheddar cheese, for example, then has dye added to it. Dye made from the Annatto tree is a common one used to dye cheeses an orange color. Cheddar cheese curds are stacked on each other to produce layers, and undergo further processes, such as aging, to complete the cheese making process. Other cheeses, such as mozzarella, are ready to be eaten very soon after the curds are cut and cooked, and have no dyes added to them. Not all cheeses are dyed with the same amount or same type of dye, which leads to the variation of yellow and orange cheeses.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can I Eat The Cheese Rind?

For those of us who love cheese that comes with a rind it’s often hard to tell whether or not we should be eating it. For those cheeses like Cheddar and Mozzarella it’s nice to not have to worry about a rind. Unless you’re a true cheese connoisseur this can be a bit of a tricky question.  In truth, the more appropriate question is not whether or not you can eat a cheese rind but more of a matter of when can you eat a cheese rind. Here are a few simple rules to follow.

Man-Made Cheese Rinds

When it comes to rinds you really must divide them up into types. Those that are made with wax or plastic are inedible for obvious reasons. You’ll find these on Gouda as well as some varieties of Colby, Brick and Cheddar. There are certain types of cheeses, like these that are aged in coatings often made from a wax or plastic and you don’t want to eat them. Other cheeses won’t have a rind at all (Feta) and therefore you won’t have to worry about whether or not it’s edible.

Rinds That Are Natural And Add To The Flavor

Cheese makers across the globe actually plan on our eating the rinds of their cheese, at least for many of the delicate versions. If you were sitting across from a cheese taster or maker and just spooning out the gooey center of a Camembert or Brie they would cringe and wonder why you were even bothering to eat it at all. The fact is the rinds on such cheeses are meant to be an addition to the flavorful scope you can enjoy in a soft, pungent cheese such as these. They are made from the same elements as the cheese itself and add quite a bit to the flavor dimensions.

Natural Rinds That Are Unappealing

Eating natural rinds on any cheese is of course, a matter of taste. One of the biggest things you’ll want to do is to take a deep sniff of the cheese and get a feel for it this way. Just like wine, the aroma of a good cheese is truly part of the tasting process. Next take a small bite and decide whether or not you enjoy the rind. Some cheeses that are of a washed rind type such as Stilton have a rind that is unappealing. It is often ugly and gritty and doesn't taste very good. Other cheeses like some made from goat’s milk and some Blue have a very moldy layer on the outside. It is a matter of choice to eat this part or not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Is The Best Way To Wrap Cheese For Storage?

There are many of us that are true cheese-aholics. For this reason it can be very sad to get a lovely variety you enjoyed last week back out of the fridge only to find that it is all hard and nearly inedible. Most of us don’t mind a little mold and know that slicing this off can rejuvenate a Cheddar or Mozzarella allowing us to still enjoy its delicious flavor.

In regards to storing your cheeses it’s best to consider what kind (is it Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella etc.) and what form (shredded, brick, cheese curds). Knowing these facts can help you determine how best to store your cheese. For instance shredded can mold very quickly and this is simply because of the large area that is exposed to air. In addition, it is obviously not possible for you to cut the mold off of your shredded cheese. For this reason it’s best to store shredded of any variety in airtight containers and vital that it’s used as quickly as possible.

High-End Cheeses

A lot of people make the mistake of getting a really good, artisan cheese and then bringing it home and sticking it in the fridge in plastic wrap. This isn't the best way to keep the most delicious cheeses. If you’re getting a quality Brie or Gouda then you want to keep it at its best for as long as you can. Remember that cheese tends to be porous and for this reason can soak up flavors from your fridge that you don’t want it to have. Your best way to store it is to use cheese cloth or cheese paper. If you can’t easily find this then wax or parchment paper will work. It’s a good idea to mark the outside of the paper with the name of the cheese and the date. Once you have wrapped it then store it in an airtight container, preferably glass but plastic will work.

Brick Cheeses Such As Cheddar Or Mozzarella

With these cheeses it’s best to keep as much of the original wrapping as possible and then store in a storage bag or airtight container. You’ll want to use it up within a couple of weeks or so and keep an eye out for molding or hardening. If you’re storing a more porous cheese as in Swiss, then it’s a good idea to wrap in foil and then store in an airtight container.  All of these cheeses can be placed in the freezer and stored for a few months as well. You might get a cheese that is a little more crumbly and mealy but it will work well in cooked dishes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What Cheeses Can I Eat With High Blood Pressure?

One of the bigger questions for cheese lovers when they are diagnosed with high blood pressure is what cheeses you can eat. High blood pressure of hypertension is a condition that is very serious and if you do not take care of yourself and your diet it can lead to heart failure. The problem with cheese when you are diagnosed with high blood pressure is that there is a fairly high amount of sodium in a lot of cheeses and sodium is something that you must reduce to a minimum in your diet. Whether you are a Muenster, Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella or a cheese curds fan, you need to know the sodium content so that you can remain healthy. Also keep in mind that according to the American Heart Association you should keep sodium under 1,500 mg per day.

Start By Having Appropriate Portions

You would have a hard time living without cheddar; after all it is one of the most consumed cheeses in the country. Cheddar is a variety that’s not as high in sodium as other types of cheese. 1 oz. of cheddar cheese has 176 mg of sodium which is way under the 1500 mg recommended. That means that you can have Cheddar cheese but you should not have it in large quantities or every day. A good alternative to cheddar would be Swiss cheese which has only 54 mg of sodium per oz.

Enjoy A Variety

Cheese curds are another cheese that per ounce is not so bad. An ounce of cheese curds will give you 244 mg of sodium. The problem is that it is difficult to stay with one ounce of cheese curds. Once you have a little you just want more. If you consume cheese curds you should do so with care and self-control. Having 5 oz. of cheese curds can give you close to the daily recommended amount at 1220 mg of sodium. If you can control yourself with cheese curds then you should go for it.

Use It As A Topper

If you like Mozzarella cheese you should know that it is not one of the bad ones. You can even get a variety of Mozzarella that is made from part skim milk. You should still control the amount of cheese that you consume as one slice of even the slimmed down version equals ten percent of the 1500 mg of sodium recommended. The trick of consuming cheese when you have been diagnosed with hypertension is to know the recommended amounts and reading the labels. A label that says “low sodium” on Mozzarella is a good indicator, but you should still read the nutritional contents label to ensure that you are not consuming more sodium than you may believe. You have options and you should make sure that you can enjoy your cheese guilt free.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Nancy M of Bellevue, Nebraska for winning the Golden Age Cheese Cheese of the Month club membership this year. Although the winner is completely drawn at random, Nancy shared she would love to win this package because right now she has to drive over 3 hours to find cheese she enjoys eating. Hopefully we can help Nancy because now she will enjoy 2.5 pounds of cheese monthly starting this September until April 2013. We are offering up another drawing but for half the year until December 31, 2012! Win half a year's cheese of the month club by entering HERE.

Again, congratulations Nancy, we hope you enjoy our cheese!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Cheeses Can I Eat With High Cholesterol?

Having high cholesterol and loving cheese can quickly create a dilemma. A lot of people believe that having high cholesterol means that you have to stay away from cheese altogether, but that is not the case. While it is true that bringing cholesterol under control will mean a reduction in your cheese consumption, there are a few exceptions. You do not have to simply replace the cheese with vegetables like mushrooms and sprouts, although those are very healthy alternatives.  You can also look for the cheese that will give you flavor and the benefits of calcium to your diet but has less cholesterol. So what are the cheeses that you can have when you still want to enjoy something like Cheddar or some cheese curds?

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese is one of the more popular ones in the country and in moderation isn’t a bad choice to have when you are trying to control cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol depends on the type of milk that is used when making the cheese. If the cheese is made with whole milk then you can expect 22 mg of cholesterol, while skim milk reduces the amount to 16 mg per oz. If you really love mozzarella and you cannot live without it, then it is recommended that you consume part skim mozzarella which can be as low as 15 mg per oz.

Consider Robust Cheeses

Though the content of cholesterol in Sharp Cheddar Cheese is higher than the one in mozzarella cheese, you will get more taste.  A 1 oz. slice of cheddar can contain 30 mg of cholesterol. Choose aged, Sharp Cheddar and have small portions. You can also try to lower the amount of cholesterol that you consume by choosing the cheese labeled “low fat.” The difference in cholesterol content is huge and in fact it is one of the lowest that you can have. While standard Cheddar Cheese has 30 mg of cholesterol, the low-fat version only has 6mg.

Try Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are another good cheese to have when you are looking to avoid high cholesterol. Of course it all depends on the cheese curds or how it is prepared. Needless to say you should stay away from deep fried cheese curds as they add a lot of saturated fat.  Common cheese curds are from Mozzarella or Cheddar and generally have about 9g of fat (6g of saturated fat) per ¼ cup serving. Depending on the meal plan your doctor has you on you can still enjoy the rich flavor and unique texture of cheese curds, just in moderation.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Can You Freeze Cheese?

The question of whether or not you can freeze cheese is a bit of a loaded one. The first thing you must address is what kind of cheese? If you’re talking about Cheddar or Mozzarella the answer is yes. In fact almost any cheese you freeze will still be edible; it’s just a matter of taste and texture.

Depending on the cheese that you freeze; whether it’s a hard cheese, soft cheese, processed cheese or artisan will dictate what it will look like when it comes back out of the freezer. Much like fresh veggies there will be a bit of a process and some things can get lost along the way.

If you’re thinking about freezing a high quality Brie or Camembert stop right there! Ask yourself why you would freeze for tomorrow what you could enjoy today? These cheeses simply do not hold up to the freezer process and shouldn't have to.

There are a wide variety of cheese you can store and use in your favorite recipes later. When it comes to the firm and semi-firm varieties like Gouda, Cheddar or Swiss you’ll have a better chance at maintaining the quality after freezing. This is simply because there are fewer separations in the cheese curds where it can fall apart. You will want to note that there will be a texture change resulting in cheese that tends to crumble easier. Here are a few things you can expect from some of your favorite flavors.


Whether aged, smoked or folded with delicious herbs and peppers, Cheddar holds up to freezing quite well. You can expect some texture loss but most flavors will be retained. It’s best to freeze in small, usable portions. You’re Cheddar cheese after the freezer will be slightly more crumbly or grainy in texture. This is because the process can break up the cheese curds.

Cheese Curds

Many people love to get their hands on delicious, creamy cheese curds; often buying them in bulk. If you’re one of these people then the good news is you can freeze them and enjoy later. Since the freezing process tends to crumble the cheese you might not notice it much in your curds. They can come out of the freezer, be thawed in the fridge and then used for baking. Put them in your casseroles, scrambled eggs or quiches.


Since Mozzarella is considered a semi-soft cheese you will most likely notice the largest difference in this cheeses texture after frozen. If you’re getting a high quality Mozzarella for nibbling at it is suggested to enjoy it now rather than later. If you’re getting your cheese for baking, melting and shredding then by all means you can freeze.

General Tips

Shred your cheese before freezing and you’ll be able to easily use it in baking when it comes out. To keep it from clumping together, toss it with a little flour. Also, make sure to wrap your cheese tightly in saran wrap or foil AND place in a freezer bag. Finally, thaw in the fridge before using it and enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Cheese Melts Best On Pizza?

There aren’t very many people out there that don’t love a delicious pizza. More and more of us are learning to cook it at home so we can enjoy a wide variety of interesting toppings without all the added expense. This leads to making decisions about what kind of cheese we’d like to see on a pizza. You might at first think that the only cheese to toss on a pizza is Mozzarella but in reality there are many that will add a robust flavor and still melt.


You can’t really think of any Italian food without thinking of Mozzarella. It’s definitely one of the best cheeses to melt and goes hand in hand with any pizza. Unless you’re creating a pizza with light flavors you’re best to skip the fresh or buffalo Mozzarella and go for a brick made for pizza. A great way to liven this cheese up on your slices is to mix it with another cheese such as Jalapeño Pepper Jack or Asiago.


Though it isn’t a cheese a person might quickly consider for their pizza, it does melt very easily. The buttery rich flavor of this delicious cheese goes well with many styles of pizza. You can use it with a chicken topping and use Alfredo sauce instead of the traditional marinara. In addition it pairs well for the daring folks that want to create a seafood pizza. This cheese melts very well, goes with a large host of flavors and is pretty easy to get your hands on. The next time you’re looking for a little something different than Mozzarella this should be the cheese to turn to.

Cheddar Cheese Curds

It’s easy to get thrown off by having Cheddar on your pizza but more and more are trying it and loving it. One favored recipe is black beans, chicken, red onions, Feta and Cheddar cheese- once you try it you might never be the same! Unless Cheddar has a little help it might not melt the way you’d like it to. The best way is to try already soft and delicious Cheddar cheese curds. This makes it simple for you to layer it over you pizza and through the toppings. You will get a fantastic, golden melt and a lovely flavor. You can go for smoked or a variety that has spices blended through. Compliment it with the right toppings, bake until done and you’ll have a unique pizza that looks great and tastes fabulous.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where Did Cheese Get Its Name?

Where Did Cheese Get Its Name?

Have you ever stopped and thought just what cheese was, how it came to be, and how it got its name? I mean, the name “cheese” has to have come from somewhere, right? Everything has to have come from somewhere. So, where did cheese come from? Well, let’s take a look shall we?

Well, before you can answer just where cheese gets its name, you first have to have a specific type in mind since no one is exactly sure about where cheese gets its name. However, the origin of the name of most types of cheeses can be explained. Let’s check out a few types of cheeses, shall we?

Where did cottage cheese come from? Well, the term “Cottage cheese” is used to describe a curd product that generally has a mild flavor to it. During its making, it is drained like most cheeses, but not pressed so that some of the whey remains inside of it. The curd is then washed to get rid of acids. This is why cottage has kind of a sweet flavor to it. This particular type of cultured dairy product is not aged or colored.

What about cheddar? Cheddar seems to be very popular among Americans. Well, you may be surprised to know that cheddar originates in England. In fact, that is where cheddar got its name. It was firs t made in the village of…you guessed it, Cheddar. Yep, cheddar came from Cheddar in Somerset, England.

For every cultured dairy product out there, you can bet that there is probably an interesting story behind how that product got its name. There are quite a few out there. In fact, there are over 600 types in France alone! The French really love their cheeses. Don’t count America out. Americans absolutely love their cheese. In fact, it is estimated that the average American eats about 31 pounds of cheese a year. That is one person. One average American eats 31 pounds of cheese in a year. The French are not the only ones who love their cultured dairy products.

The origin of the term “cheese” remains as mysterious as the location of Jimmy Hoffa. No one knows for sure, but everyone has their theories. Maybe one day we will know for sure. But for now, just enjoy it. Get out there and eat your 31 pounds a year.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What Is The Best Kind Of Cheese For Pizza?

What Is The Best Kind Of Cheese For Pizza?

So you're in the mood for a little Italian food tonight and pizza is on the menu. You've made a list and headed to do the shopping, but just can't seem to decide which cheese would be best for this pizza. Mozzarella just seems too easy and what everyone uses, so why not go for a bit of a change.

Mozzarella is certainly one of the best choices for pizza because it melts so easily and holds all your toppings on. But what about the taste? There isn't a cheese that has a milder flavor and if you're anything like me, you may want a little more pizazz. I like to use a bit of a combination for my pies. I sprinkle a fine layer of Mozzarella and then go over it with fresh Parmesan, I follow this with either Swiss or White Cheddar. This combination keeps the traditional look of a pizza, but adds a richer flavor.

Why not spice it up? If you're somebody who likes a pizza with fresh peppers or those from a jar, a fantastic idea to use on your pizza is Jalapeño Pepper Jack. The Jack flavors melt as easily as the Mozzarella, but have a little more flavor. Make it Pepper Jack and the flavor has quite the kick to it, making it a spicier pie to try.

Maybe you're more of a cheddar person. I have to admit the first couple of times I saw pizza with yellow cheese mixed in I was a little put off. Really it's the flavor and quality of melt you want most when it comes to the glue that holds your pizza together. This combination is one of the best because most Sharp Cheddars don't melt very easily but when you combine those with a softer kind like Mozzarella you end up with the perfect type of gooey cheese on top.

The last thing I would consider when deciding on a cheese for you pizza is if you want to really venture on a limb and go with goat, feta or blue cheese. These don't melt really great, but if you sprinkle some over your pie and then layer Mozzarella or a soft Provolone over the top you'll end up with a unique flavor that's hard to beat.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that pizza simply isn't pizza without cheesy-goodness on top.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Natural vs. Organic Cheese: What is the difference?

Natural vs. Organic cheeses: What is the difference?

So you’re trying to buy cheese—and you’re bombarded with all sorts of information on natural and organic foods, especially cheeses of this kind. So you try to decide which is better and you instead end up stuck between which of the two that you should buy. Instead, you end up picking all natural. So the question is—what does all-natural cheese have vs. that which is organic?

Well, first of all, organic is a very different thing from natural. In fact, while natural may look healthier and especially a lot better since it has the word “natural” in it, it isn’t quite there.

For example, a potato can be natural—even if said potato is ten feet tall. What does this mean? It means that the potato doesn’t have a lot of additives—but that doesn’t mean anything for hormones and the like.

However, an organic potato would not be freakishly huge while it would also not have any added hormones or pesticides. Part of the reason why it costs so much in order to grow organic food is that you have to compensate for the losses. For example, for vegetables, you have to get rid of whatever goes bad or the bugs get to. This can be a rather risky business.

Then you have natural. The food cannot contain additives. This isn’t necessarily true of organic food. On the other hand, organic food has a lot more to it than just being natural.

Natural means that the cows that are used to make cheese and meat have nice living quarters. They are allowed to graze, most likely, and they are given food that is good for them—presumably. The difference is that you don’t need to regulate them.

Organic foods are grown using safe fertilizers, pesticides that aren’t synthetic, and aren’t bioengineered.

Keep all of these in mind as you choose certain cheeses. On one hand, it is said that a cow that is given hormones doesn’t pass these hormones on through their milk or anything of that nature, it doesn’t mean that they don’t affect the cow and can potentially cause health problems for the cows. However, the cheese does have fewer additives.

On the other hand, organic cheese is made with ingredients that aren’t bioengineered and also haven’t ever been exposed to potentially toxic chemicals. While they are more expensive, it’s because there’s a greater risk of loss.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What’s the Difference Between Cow, Goats, and Sheep’s Milk?

What’s the Difference Between Cow, Goats, and Sheep’s Milk?

Milk, you think about it when you go grocery shopping and chances are that there is at least some form of milk in your cabinet if not in your refrigerator. Let’s face it—we like milk. Milk’s a large part of our diets—even vegans drink milk (albeit it’s normally from soy or rice or almonds). However, there is sometimes a bit of an issue determining the many differences between the types of milk. So the question is—how exactly do you know the difference between the three main types of animal milk?

Cow’s Milk

First of all, you have cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is very popular—mainly because of how much they can produce at any given time. This is vs. goat’s milk, which has a much lower production in comparison. This is why when you buy goats milk or sheep milk, which is also quite a bit more expensive, it costs more. It takes more work to get an ounce of the milk from the smaller animals than the larger.

Also, since cows are happier in smaller quarters, this is another reason that they are better off as milk producers compared to sheep and goats. Goats and sheep however, are normally more active animals since they prefer grazing to say, sitting around in a field all day.

Then there is the fat content. Cow’s milk has a higher fat content than most milks—far more than human milk (and thus why babies cannot handle cow’s milk until they are over a year old) and contains more antibodies. However, unless you plan on growing horns, there’s a chance that drinking cow’s milk for the antibodies (which are also killed during processing) isn’t going to do much for you. Cheese made from cow’s milk is usually very creamy with a very light taste. Since cow’s milk contains so much fat, it’s easier to make cheeses such as ricotta from the whey of the first batch.

Goat’s Milk

Then there is goat milk. When you think of goat milk, you probably think of something earthy—maybe with a few hairs in it. Goat’s milk is actually very digestible and is perfect for those who have trouble digesting cow’s milk—but aren’t quite lactose intolerant. However, goat’s milk MUST be pasteurized or somehow boiled. The reason is a small organism called brucellosis. This organism can cause fever and joint pain and the like. Goat cheese tastes different from other cheeses—it is more tangy, with a very creamy flavor. Most soft goat cheeses are used in desserts because they are the perfect consistency for such and the flavor only enhances them.

Sheep’s Milk

Then there is sheep’s milk. Sheep’s milk is actually twice as fatty as cows milk—making it perfect for cheese-making and for even making that well-desired ricotta. Like goat’s milk, sheep milk also has very short proteins. (This is why if you are lactose intolerant, you can normally digest these milks easily and so can babies.) It is great for making cheese—and also a great dessert cheese producer, as it is slightly sweet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What Nutrients Does Cheese Provide?

If you're anything like me you may think cheese should be its own food group and not just part of the dairy. It can be enjoyed at any meal or with every meal. It's a great vessel for veggies and a quick way to jazz up rice, eggs, meat and sometimes fruit. You may worry about the calories and fat, but do you know what else lays hidden in those golden bricks?


Protein is just one of the many nutrients this scrumptious food carries. Soft types can have between 20 and 30% of an adult's daily needs. And the harder types can hold up to 50% per a 100 gram serving. Some of the 'ripened' cheeses are even better with for protein because the process lends aide in digestion of this super nutrient.


Calcium is something we need during all stages of our life. It's vital to grow healthy bones, to maintain them and to keep them from dilapidation in old age. A 100 gram serving of soft cheese can give you up to 40% of your Calcium need and same size serving of hard cheese can be up to 100%. Both types can give you a decent serving of phosphorus, too.


Vitamins are also found in our favorite food group. You’re sure to get some vitamin A, B, B12 and B 6 in some varieties. It also contains Zinc while having comparatively low cholesterol content depending on the amount of fat.

Overall when you choose to snack on cheese, you're helping your body by providing a rich, healthy snack that can strengthen your bones. If you're concerned about the sodium, fat or calorie levels take a few moments to read through labels before settling on which type of cheese is for you. In general, the harder the block the better off you will be. Occasionally the sodium level rises with the sharpness. Choose Amish types or imports and other Artisan made varieties to get the most nutrient packed snack. If you're overly concerned about the calories and fat then go with low-fat kinds or Cottage.

Just remember it's healthy, nutritious, easy to carry and delicious to snack on. Cut small cubes up and put them in single serving zip locks to have when you get hungry. The protein will help carry you through to your next meal. And the next time you think about passing this food up because it may be fatty, take the time to choose a low-fat version and still get all the important nutrients of the richer kinds!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How Do I Properly Store Cheese?

Ever had the most delicious block of cheese that you just find yourself constantly nibbling at only to suddenly find that it's gone too hard to enjoy? Or maybe you wanted to get that great block you were enjoying a week ago back out, only to discover it's covered in mold. I'm sure this has happened to every cheese lover out there and it's always sad when you find yours has gone bad.

Fortunately, this can be quite preventable. Before deciding how to store yours you may want to consider what kind it is you're working with. Shredded is prone to mold because of the large surface available to air. It's best if used quickly as obviously it's impossible to cut mold off of the finely shredded pieces and still use it. If you've bought several bags because of a sale, store the majority of them in the freezer. They will last here as long as three months and sometimes longer, the important thing to remember is to defrost them in your refrigerator. This helps to maintain the texture and flavor.

If you've purchased standard brick cheeses (firm, non-specialty) the best way is in an airtight container. If you can keep the majority of the brick in its original packaging and then seal the rest in a zip lock bag you're off to a great start. Some of the stronger flavored or porous kinds (like Swiss) do best if you wrap them in foil first then seal in a zip lock or other air tight container. These can also be stored in a freezer for up to three months, again defrost in the refrigerator. The biggest thing to remember here is to get as much of the air out as possible. Air is a cheese's worst enemy, it fosters the growth of mold and it can harden the ends and corners, or entire blocks.

For specialty varieties it can vary. Feta is best kept in a plastic, airtight container in a salt bath. Store fresh, rind less and natural rind cheeses in foil, then plastic wrap and discard if you find mold. Washed rind cheeses should be wrapped and stored in a plastic container with holes to promote some circulation. Also it's important to place a damp paper towel in the bottom to promote humidity.

Whichever delicious style you've brought home, your safest bet is to keep the air out, preventing mold and hardening and enjoy your purchase before much delay!

Monday, August 6, 2012

How long does it take to make Mozzarella Cheese?

Mozzarella cheese is usually made from water buffalo milk. It’s the most popular kind of cheese normally eaten in the US although the cheese production originated from Italy. It has also continued to be very popular in various nooks and crannies of the Italian nation.

In the US, Mozzarella cheese is highly priced. This is because the water buffalo milk used in its production is costlier than the normal cow milk. In most cases, cheese makers have to import the buffalo milk from other countries where the buffalo animal is reared. The buffalo animal is a very rare species that is not found in many countries. The water buffalo milk is known to be very high in casein and fat. Hence, it’s always very good in producing quality Mozzarella cheese. You can’t use the milk as beverage since it’s very high in fat and casein.

In most cases, Mozzarella cheese is not allowed to age. It’s usually eaten the same day it’s made. Hence, it takes only one day to produce Mozzarella cheese. The production process is basically known as Pasta Filata. It’s all about heating the curds in water or whey until they begin to form strings and also become elastic. After that, the curds are stretched and then kneaded. This makes them to be smooth. They will then form balls and also look very fresh.

The production process of Mozzarella cheese is very simple and easy. It takes few hours in a day. All you need is to have the ingredients and equipments required. You need the following ingredients: buffalo milk, citric acid, vegetable rennet and water. You need each of these ingredients in specified quantities. The quantities depend on the amount of Mozzarella cheese you want to produce. You can easily locate a simple recipe on how to produce a specific amount of Mozzarella cheese in order to go about the process.

Again, you need to have the necessary equipments on ground. You need the following: large stock pot, long stainless knife, strainer, food thermometer and tea towels. You’ll need each of the equipments at certain intervals during the production of Mozzarella cheese.
Basically, it takes up to 12 to 20 hours to produce Mozzarella cheese. It may also take a maximum of 24 hours. In most cases, you have to allow the curds to ferment for 3 hours or more before you continue. You simply have to be patient in the process.

Once produced, Mozzarella cheese is usually eaten the same day. It can use with a variety of dishes including meats, seafood, vegetable and salads.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why is Bleu Cheese Blue?

Bleu cheese is an interesting cheese that has a distinct flavor, distinct texture, and distinct color. If you love bleu cheese for its flavor, have you ever wondered where its color is going to come from? There of course are all the Old Wives’ Tales as to where the blue comes from, but actually knowing can be helpful. Let’s visit the reason why bleu cheese is blue so that the facts are out there and we can explain scientifically where it comes from instead of making up those fun tales.

How Bleu Cheese is Made

Part of the way Bleu cheese is made blue is through the process of making it, so to properly understand how it works, you need to first understand how it is made. To make bleu cheese, you have to start with cheese curds which are made with warm milk, rennet which causes it to coagulate, and some sort of bacterial starter which is something like buttermilk. This will sit generally for about 24 hours until the curds that you need to have been created. Then, the curds are strained with cheesecloth and stored somewhere for about 24 hours while all moisture drains. The curds are the first step to getting the bleu cheese created.

The Amazing Penicillium

To get bleu cheese to the color that is expected of it, the curds are crumbled and they are salted. From here, they add the peniciullium. Yes, this is the same thing that is used to fight off infections in people and given in either a shot, liquid, or pill form. For bleu cheese, this is the blue-green mold that actually creates the flavor and the color that we expect with bleu cheese.

Continuing the Process

Once the penicillium is in inoculated into the cheese, it now needs to be pressed and aerated. When they press the cheese, they do it to keep it dense, but to keep it open enough that there are air pockets throughout the cheese that the mold will be able to spread about. From there, holes are poked with a stainless steel rod so that the mold gets all the age it needs. When that is completed, it is time for the blue cheese to age, where it will get the blue-green color that people expect from it. That is also what makes it taste so great and makes it really enjoyable for people that truly enjoy that sort of thing.

-Written by Viktoria Carella

Friday, August 3, 2012

How is Mozzarella Made?

Mozzarella refers to an Italian cheese usually produced through spinning and cutting processes. The name is derived from the Italian verb, “mozzare” which means “to cut”. In the US, Mozzarella is the most popular kind of cheese widely eaten.

Basically, Mozzarella showcases in a variety of kinds. They include:
• Buffalo Mozzarella
• Mozzarella fior di latte
• Low Moisture Mozzarella and
• Smoked Mozzarella

In most cases, water buffalo milk is used in making Buffalo Mozzarella while Fresh pasteurized cow milk or raw cow milk is used in producing Mozzarella fior di latte. Low moisture Mozzarella is made from skimmed or whole milk. It is mainly used in the food service industry. Smoked Mozzarella is also made from milk but it’s usually smoked in a very unique way.

Meanwhile Mozzarella can be produced fresh. Basically, fresh Mozzarella is normally white in color although it can as well be yellow depending on the kind of animal diet used in the production process. Fresh Mozzarella is normally soft and it also has high moisture. It’s usually served on the very day it’s produced. However, it can still be kept in brine for a week or more especially when it’s to be sold in sealed packages. However, Low moisture Mozzarella can be properly refrigerated for a month when produced.

Meanwhile, several kinds of Mozzarella as discussed above can be used for various kinds of pizza. They can be served as pasta dishes. They can equally be served with fresh tomatoes.

Apart from the fresh type, Mozzarella can also be dried partly. The dried type is usually more compact and it’s mainly used in preparing oven-cooked dishes such as pizza and lasagna.
Generally, the production process of Mozzarella depends on the type needed. The Buffalo Mozzarella is usually made from Buffalo milk only. In most cases, the milk is left to ripen in order to allow the bacteria to increase. Rennet is then added to make the milk coagulate. This forms curd which will be cut into pieces after the coagulation. The curd will then be left to sit and heal. After this, it’s also cut into larger pieces. The sliced curds will then be stirred and heated in order to separate them from the whey. The whey will then be separated from the curds. A hoop is then used to place the curds where they will form a mass of solid. The PH of the curds will then lower in the process. After this, it’s then stretched and kneaded with hands. This makes the curd to be smooth and shinny. It will then form nice ball shape which can be eaten.

In all, every other type of Mozzarella undergoes almost a similar process although there are variations according to several approaches used in various countries.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Is The Best Cheese To Use In Pasta Sauces?

What Is The Best Cheese To Use In Pasta Sauces?

Italian food simply isn't Italian food without some cheese added to it. Whether you're choosing to sprinkle it over the top of something that's already been prepared or you're choosing to make your very own homemade Alfredo sauce, here are some pointers to bear in mind.

When dealing with tomato based sauces, it's best to not add a lot of cheese to the sauce. It tends to override the flavor and dull the color down. A good tomato sauce starts with a wine base, fresh or stewed tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, lots of garlic. When I start tossing the ingredients through the oil and sautéing them to get the complex flavor is when I like to add some freshly grated Parmesan. I want the complexity of the wine, garlic, tomatoes and basil to come through first. But make sure to have plenty of Parmesan to sprinkle over the top of your finished pasta and sauce.

One of the simplest pasta recipes uses nothing more than spaghetti, Romano, and pepper. Basically here you boil your pasta and transfer it to a heated bowl. Make sure to not drain all the water out. Mix shredded Romano cheese and as much pepper as you like throughout. Stir till you have a creamy texture and you have a quick, tasty meal. This can also be served with chicken or tuna and broccoli to make a more filling meal. Just get those prepared to toss through at the very end of recipe.

You may be in the mood for a thick, rich and very cheesy sauce. If you are I suggest using fresh Parmesan, Romano, Provolone and Mozzarella in equal parts. In a saucepan, simmer two cups heavy whipping cream and half cup butter, stirring frequently. Add around a half cup of each of the cheeses and stir till they're melted. Serve immediately over gnocchi, your choice of pasta or risotto. Add some steamed vegetables or chicken for a well-rounded meal.

For a traditional but super creamy Alfredo sauce start with your stock ingredients. These are heavy whipping cream, butter, Parmesan, Romano or Provolone and clam sauce. Use light garlic and get these ingredients going but before you add the Parmesan or other cheeses, and some cubes of cream cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over your favorite pasta.

When serving any kind of pasta or Italian food, remember Parmesan is your friend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Are There Any Cheeses I Should Avoid While Pregnant?

You and the hubby have been planning for some time and now you're excited to tell everyone the news. Or maybe the little one coming is a surprise and you're frantically scheduling doctor visits in between morning sickness, work and studying all the best things you should do now that you're pregnant. Either way, congratulations! It's sure to be a fantastic journey. I bet you've already started worrying about every little morsel you put in your mouth. You get contradicting advice from different people and it can all be confusing. Here are a few things about cheese to help make things a little clearer.

By all means it is good for you to eat right now. You and the little one growing in your womb need all the calcium and protein you can get. This is the only time in a woman's life that she can build calcium back into her bones. Choose cheese by the bricks, or get the lighter versions that come in tubs, like Cottage. Eat it for meals, or snack on it. And a bonus is it goes well with the saltines that may have become your best friend.

You may like to stay away from some of the smelly kinds simply because they can turn the stomach. That's okay, there are enough choices out there that if it doesn't appeal, don't eat it. But did you know that there are some cheeses you need to avoid entirely during this special time of your life?

The cheeses you need to stay away from right now are the ones that don't clearly state 'made from pasteurized milk.' Generally speaking this includes most of the soft cheeses. In America you can often find cheese that would normally be made from raw milk, made with pasteurized. And the only reason you would need to avoid a certain variety or style is if it comes from raw sources. The problem with raw milk is it can carry disease causing organisms, and right now you're particularly vulnerable and your growing baby is even more so.

When in the store take the time to read the label on your favorite Feta or Brie and you may be surprised to see its sources are pasteurized. If it's not clearly stated it's best to avoid this, at least for a few months. But by all means don't keep this valuable source of calcium, protein, and tastiness off the menu!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Cheese Is The Healthiest?

What Cheese Is The Healthiest?

Who doesn't love cheese and how it makes everything taste better. Old-timers even throw a slice on their warm apple pie. What people don't love about this member of the dairy group is all the fat, calories, and sodium that comes with it. So, what is the best choice for your health in the cheese department?

Two extremes out there that aren't always counted in the group are Cottage and Cream cheese. Cream isn't the best because it usually has over 400 calories per serving and more than forty grams of fat. To top it off, it ranks low in protein. Cottage, on the other hand, usually comes in with less than 100 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup, and over 10 grams of calcium and protein.

But what about the kind you can slice or shred? First of all, think of cheese as getting the nutritional equivalent of milk with more flavor and uses. Then understand why you choose 1% or skim milk, and try to make the same decisions when it comes to Cheddar, and other varieties. You should also consider that goat's milk is a healthier option, therefore goat cheese is healthier than cow. Because Feta comes from goat or sheep milk it is one of the best choices out there to choose, and it still holds a very rich, unique flavor.

One important thing you need to consider when thinking about the healthiest choice is what you consider to be healthy for you and your family? Is it low in fat, calories and sodium? Or is it made from quality, near as natural ingredients as possible? If you lean more toward the first choice then it's safe to stick to the normal aisle where you find sliced, shredded and boxed varieties. One warning here: while a lot of these are low fat and calories, a lot are also products and very high in sodium and man-made products. Try heading to the deli department or the artisan section or even a farmer's market where you can find cheeses that aren't 'products.' Here Amish and imports from Europe are safe bets because there's far less processing going into the end block. Most their cows aren't treated with hormones and are still grass fed. Plus, you don't have to be a label guru to discern this.

Whatever your likes are, take the time to find the best brick for your taste bud and health, and it will pay off in the end.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Is The Best Cheese For Nachos?

What Is The Best Cheese For Nachos?

You're making dinner and have decided that Mexican is the way to go. But instead of reaching for tortillas and anything too traditional you've decided to go for some delicious, oven baked Nachos.

Problem is you don't have any cheese in the house. Now I don't know about you, but this is the one item that's quickest to send me to the grocery store to replenish. I can have a fridge full of food, but if there isn't a Cheddar or Colby block, I don't have anything to eat. Since you have to get this staple, it's got you thinking, “What would be the best for my Nachos?”

It can be an easy and quick reaction to go for one of the highly processed, liquid cheese foods. Yes, these often taste good, and they are so easy to pour over your chips and carefully selected toppings. But, if you're picking a cheese, don't you want that and not a product of? My suggestion is to choose a more naturally made, soft, melt-friendly kind. This suggests any of the Monterey Jack varieties (especially good if you select one with peppers already in it) or Mozzarella. If you're feeling especially industrious you can make your own cheese sauce by melting several types with whole milk and perhaps a tablespoon of butter.

I try to avoid the pre-shredded bags because of two reasons. First, I don't like that there's such a list of ingredients, especially when one of them is potato starch. Second, they cost more than getting a brick and shredding it yourself. If you go this route, it's best to choose two cheeses and finely shred them over the top of your Nachos. My choice here would be Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack.

The variety that always wins out in my house for Nacho toppings is Chihuahua. This is made from cow's milk and comes from the Chihuahua state in Mexico. It's soft and is very easy to melt. The flavor is something you'd recognize if you're one to frequent the more authentic Mexican restaurants. It reminds me of somewhere between Mozzarella and Provolone. Like most great cheeses it isn't cheap, but because of it's unique flavor that lends itself so perfectly to Nachos you won't need as much as you might if you were using a more mild Mozzarella.

Once you've got that decided, make sure you have all the extras so your Nachos will be the best!

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