Cheese Cooking Tips
Cooking tips for the caring cook.
- Select an assortment of cheese flavors that offers contrast in flavor: mild vs. sharp, texture: creamy vs. firm, milk source: cow, goat, sheep, appearance: round, square, dark rind.
- Do not serve more than three or four cheeses at a gathering. Any more and palates grow weary.
- Bring cheeses to room temperature before serving. This would be for about two hours. That is when flavor and texture is at their best.
- Cheese needs air and humidity to stay fresh. Wrap pieces in wax paper and store them in a seal-able plastic bag or container in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. Do not slice cheese until ready to serve.
- Do not be afraid of cheese rinds. Most are edible.
- Use separate knives for each cheese so flavors do not mingle.
- Great accompaniments to cheese: Breads, crackers, fresh and dried fruits, nuts and olives.
- Cheesy Apple Pie. Don't just serve cheese with apple pie, bake it right in! Spread grated sharp Cheddar on the bottom of the crust before adding the apple filling.
- Cottage cheese can be used in place of sour cream when making dips. Just place it in the blender until it is creamed.
- Be careful not to overcook or boil cheese when making a sauce such as Alfredo or the finished product may not be as smooth as you'd like. Stir shredded cheese into the sauce toward the end of the cooking process and cook and stir over low heat only until the cheese melts.
- When cooking with cheese, keep the heat or microwave low. Cheese needs enough heat to melt and blend with other ingredients. If heated too long and at too high a temperature, the cheese can become tough and stringy, and the fat will separate.
- The best cheese to use to melt evenly and smoothly is a process cheese. A process cheese also will not have fat separation. If you do use a natural cheese, shred the cheese so it will melt quickly. Cold cheese is easier to shred and slice. Four ounces or 1/4 pound of cheese equals 1 cup shredded cheese.
- Keep cheese fresh. Wrap cheese tightly in the original wrapper, plastic wrap or aluminum foil to maintain quality. This will help the cheese retain moisture and prevent mold. Keep freshness in by keeping air out.
- Before using your Cheese Grater, spray it with nonstick cooking spray. That makes clean-up a breeze! The cheese washes off without any scrubbing.
- Use your cheese slicer to slice butter from sticks of butter.
- Use lower temperatures with cheesy dishes for slightly longer time to enhance cheese's meltability.
- Cream cheese can be colored with powdered or liquid food coloring as a filler for dainty rolled sandwiches. Try a different color for each layer and slice as you would a jelly roll.
- For best quality, do not freeze cream cheese.
- To soften cream cheese, quickly remove it from the foil wrapper and microwave it on medium for 30 to 40 seconds.
- Softening Cream Cheese: Unwrap on 3-ounce package cream cheese and place in a small nonmetal bowl. Microwave, uncovered on 30-percent power about one minute or until soft.
- Neufchatel cream cheese is lighter, a bit lower in fat, and often less expensive. It's a traditional soft-white cheese originating from the village of Neufchatel-en-Bray in northern Normandy.
Make your own Tofu Cream Cheese