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!

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