Monday, December 30, 2013

How To Make Cheese Curds At Home

Cheese curds are a delicious snack for anyone. They may take a little while to make, but the actual amount of work involved is pretty minimal. These delicious curds are great for parties, lunch additions, or just a quick bite of cheese. Making them are a fun exploration in science and food making for the family or if you are trying out new cheese making techniques. Here are the steps and materials required to make fantastic cheese curds.

What You Will Need Before You Start

There are a few things you will need before starting. Here are the materials and some possible alternatives:

A double boiler. You can also use two stock pots that fit inside of one another.
Standard stove
Cheese making milk
Premade culture packets
Butter knife
Wooden spoon
Cheese cloth
Cutting board
Parchment or drying paper
Cookie sheet

Cheese Preparations

First, put a small amount of water in the bottom of the double boiler or stock pots. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the second pot. Pore the cheese making milk into the pot and set the stove to medium heat. Bring the milk to an even eighty-five degrees slowly. When the milk reaches the correct temperature, as the culture packets to the mixture. Stir the mixture very gently. Remove the pot from the burner and let it sit for an hour at room temperature.

Next, stir a mixture of rennet and water into the milk. Stir it all gently again, and leave it sit for another hour. The milk should have curdled correctly at this point. Run your butter knife carefully through the mixture to check for clean curdling. Put the curdled milk back on the burner and raise the temperature back up to one-hundred degrees very slowly. As a general rule, start at low temperature and raise it a few degrees every five minutes or so. Leave the burner at one-hundred degrees for about thirty minutes or until the whey begins to separate. Stir every ten minutes or so, very gently.


Pour the curds into a colander lined with a cheese cloth.  Leave them to drain until the curds are very pronounced. Mold the curds gently into one large loaf. Be sure you are not be too rough, as you can break the curds apart. Cut the curds very carefully into cubes. They will be very fragile until they are cheddared properly.

Put the curds into a colander and leave sitting in a bowl or very clean sink. Fill the bowl or sink with hot water, brought to about one-hundred degrees. Every hour or so pour out the remaining whey. Once the curds are mostly free of whey (this takes about four hours) salt the curds thoroughly. Lay the curds out on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a cool room or a refrigerator set at low. You will need to leave these curds out for about thirty-six to seventy-six hours. The higher the temperature these curds settle at, the sharper the cheddar flavor will be.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Where Did Cheddar Cheese Originate

Who doesn’t love rich, cheddar cheese? Whether alone or as a delicious accompaniment to veggies; helping kids to enjoy their broccoli, this dairy food has long been a favorite.  It’s likely if you’re a cheese fan you’ve wondered where your favorite variety originated. Consider some of the following interesting facts about this favored dairy treat.

Most people find that cheddar cheese is a more rich and creamy cheese than others that are so common. Generally there are five to six years of aging that goes into this cheese with over 250 different kinds now available on the market.

It All Begins In Europe: Cheddar Caves

There were caves in the surrounding area of Cheddar and they were perfect for a natural cheese making process. In fact, it is believed the first of this delicious variety was made in these caves.  A young maid is said to have stored milk in some of the caves and came back to find there was a mass in the milk. It proved not only edible but quite good.

There are also records of cheddar cheese being produced as early as the 12th century. These records from 1170 indicate that King Henry II purchased more than ten thousand pounds of the delicious bricks for a farthing each pound. There are also records of Charles (more royalty) purchasing the delicious cheese in the 17th century from the same small village.  Even further back, some historians believe the Romans were possibly responsible for bringing the recipe from the Cantal area of France back to Britain.

One Farmer, Many Advances

You can’t talk about this cheese and how it moved into the modern world and became standardized without talking about Joseph Harding. Harding was a 19th century Somerset dairy farmer who knew his cheese.  He is known to have made many technological advancements in the cheese making process as well as promoting hygiene of the dairy herd and farm. Some have even dubbed him the father of cheddar cheese.

He worked hard to reduce the manual labor that went into the cheese making process. Harding was responsible for the revolving breaker which aided in curd cutting and reduced man hours. Harding and his wife are accredited for bringing cheese to North America as well as Scotland. Moreover it was a family ran business; Harding and his sons William and Henry brought production of cheddar cheese to Australia.

The Best Of This Variety

When it comes to cheddar, most connoisseurs will point to bricks from one area. West County Farmhouse is the only place that has an accredited protection designation of origin (PDO) for their cheddar. Because of this they do have some pretty specific guidelines they have to follow:

Cloth is the only wrapping that’s allowed to be used.
At least nine months of aging must take place.
Only raw milk from these four counties in England can be used: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
The rennet must be animal.
Manual cheddaring is a requirement
The cheese must be free from coloring agents.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Makes Some Cheddar Cheese Sharp?

If you are new to the world of cheese, you may not completely understand some of the differences between various types of cheddar. The most common difference in cheddar cheese, for example, is in terms of sharpness with the most common flavors being mild or sharp although other options such as extra sharp are also available. You will notice that these cheeses all taste slightly different from one another but are all delicious. In order to understand what makes some cheddar cheese sharp, you need to understand the aging process of the cheese as this is the most important factor.


Put simply, the thing that makes some cheddar cheese sharp is age. The older a cheese is, the sharper it will be. Cheddar is aged at least three months in all cases in order to qualify as the cheese. When it is aged between three and four months, it is considered mild. When it is aged between four and nine months, it is considered medium. Anything that is aged more than nine months is considered sharp and even within this category of cheese, you will notice differences such as extra sharp cheese (which is usually three to five years old). Although sharp cheddar only needs to be aged nine months, you can commonly find ones that were aged seven years and occasionally find specialty ones that are even older.


Although the difference in terms of producing sharp cheddar cheese as opposed to mild cheddar is age, they will also have different tastes. In terms of taste, the term sharp refers to bitterness. Therefore sharp cheddar will be more bitter than mild cheddar. Which cheese you select depends completely on your preference, as some people prefer less bitterness in their cheddar while others prefer more of this taste. You can even opt to buy a sampler platter that contains several different types of cheddar of varying sharpness.


Because sharp cheddar cheese is older, you will also notice a change in texture when you have a bite. This change is due to the development of very small calcium deposits which form little crunchy crystals within the cheese as it ages. This means that as cheddar ages (and becomes sharper), the texture will become a bit more crumbly. Younger cheeses (therefore the mild ones) will have a creamier texture. In some cases, extra sharp cheese or other cheeses that are aged for a very long time can even have a small layer of these calcium deposits around their edges, adding to the texture.

How Does The Flavor Change?

Now that you know what differences you can expect from sharp cheddar as opposed to a mild one, you may be wondering why these differences occur. The bottom line is that cheese contain (good) bacteria that produce enzymes. It is these enzymes that will break down the fat and proteins within the cheese as it ages, giving it the bitter taste associated with sharp cheddar. In order for the aging process to work well, however, there must be the right mix of salt, moisture and starter cultures making the production of these cheeses a bit of a science.

Friday, December 20, 2013

What Makes A Cheddar Cheese Gourmet?

Although experienced cheese connoisseur probably already know the answer, many people who are simply interested in learning more about cheese may wonder what makes a cheddar cheese gourmet. The term gourmet simply refers to the quality of the cheese in question. You can expect to pay more for a gourmet cheese (sometimes a lot more) but you will have quality to match your payment. Gourmet cheeses are generally made through a different, more traditional, process and may even contain slightly different ingredients. Here are the main differences between regular cheddar cheese and the gourmet version of it.


Although not all gourmet cheddars are handcrafted, the vast majority of them are. This is part of the reason that they cost so much more: they involve a great deal of additional labor compared to their mass-produced counterparts. Although traditionally, cheeses were handcrafted, it would be impossible to meet the current demand for popular options such as cheddar around the world if they were still made this way. It is a fact of life that the cheddar you buy in your local grocery store will be mass-produced using machinery. When you pay a few extra dollars, however, you will get better quality that is handcrafted, generally including every stage of the process including preparation, cutting and packaging.

Traditional Methods

We already mentioned that gourmet cheddar cheese is made by hand using the traditional methods, but what exactly are these methods? In order to make cheddar, you must complete a process called cheddaring that involves pressing and shaping the cheese in a particular manner. While average cheddar cheeses (such as cheap supermarket ones) will use machines that regulate the entire process, gourmet manufacturers usually use the traditional methods. This involves pressing the liquid whey then wrapping it up in the correct shape. They will ensure that the cheddar has the right moisture level because they will press, stack and turn the cheese in the traditional manner that has been used since cheddar was first created during the 1100s.


One of the most crucial aspects of the cheddar-making process is wrapping it up. Most manufacturers will wrap the cheese in plastic that is vacuum sealed. Some gourmet cheese manufacturers, however, will stick to the traditional method of using cloth. These cheesecloths (linens) are traditionally porous and coated in butter or lard. These cloths will cause the cheddar to lose moisture during the aging process which causes it to form a rind. Although gourmet cheeses made with cheesecloth are some of the most delicious, they are also some of the most expensive due to the amount of work involved.


The first step in creating a quality cheddar cheese is setting up the culture. Each manufacturer will have slightly different ingredients and bacteria within their culture and it is generally true that gourmet cheddar cheeses will have higher quality ingredients. Some gourmet cheddar manufacturers will also adding an additional set of bacterial cultures to their cheese. This is what will give some gourmet cheeses hints of additional flavors that make them truly stand out from their mass-produced alternatives.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Is The History Of The Cheese Curd?

Most people who don’t live in certain regions of the country haven’t necessarily heard of the cheese curd. While they are especially popular in Wisconsin (being present at every fair), they are also popular in other areas of the Midwest as well as upstate New York and even Quebec. This type of cheese is delicious and one of the most popular options in this area, but few people know its history. In reality, no one is completely sure of how or when they were first made, but experts have several guesses and there are rumors as well. Here is all the commonly believed information about the history of the cheese curd.

The Legend

As mentioned, there is no sure history of the cheese curd. Most experts, however, have pointed to one legend that you can find repeated almost everywhere. It starts centuries ago in a desert in the Middle East. A nomad was traveling and had decided to bring milk with him to drink on his journey. After several hours, he decided he was thirsty but because of the extreme heat, his milk wasn’t the normal consistency. Instead it had curdled creating a mix of white curds and liquid. These were supposedly the first cheese curds.

Why It Happened

Experts believe that the milk curdled because the bag he was holding it in contained rennin. This is an enzyme that is still used to help curdle milk creating cheese. The rennin was there because the bag was made using a cow’s stomach. Rennin will normally cause milk to coagulate and curdle over time but when it is exposed to heat, the process will happen much faster, which is how this nomad of legend ended up with a snack instead of the milk he was looking forward to drinking.


Although no date is ever associated with the above legend of the first cheese curds, there are some historic records that do give us a time frame. There is a Celtic song that experts point out that not only mentions cheese curds, but dates back to the 12th century. This indicates that perhaps this squeaky cheese has been around for at least 900 years. Cheese curds began to really grow in popularity when various milk factories had surpluses during the 20th century. When this happened, people needed to figure out what to do with this extra milk and the logical solution was to create cheese curds as they are easy to make.

How They Are Made

Today manufacturers don’t make cheese curds by taking a bag of milk out into the desert. In fact, the curds can actually be a by-product of the production of cheddar cheese. During the manufacturing process, they will add salt to the chunks of cheese. At this point, they will separate the curds and sell these right away. They can then compress the leftover cheese to make blocks of cheddar. They can also be made without being a by-product simply by coagulating milk then separating the whey from the milk solids. They then cook the milk solids and rain them before salting them and declaring them ready.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mozzarella Cheese: A Short History

Mozzarella cheese is one of the most popular cheeses across the world. Americans generally think of it when it comes to Italian food, pizza in particular, but that is not the only use. Mozzarella has become increasingly popular throughout the years and has changed slightly to become more accessible to the general public. Most people know that mozzarella comes from Italy but in many cases that is the extent of their knowledge. Although in some ways its history is similar to that of other cheeses, mozzarella is also unique. No one is sure exactly how it was first created but there are theories that are more popular than others.

By Accident

One of the rumors about the history of mozzarella cheese is that it is one of the many cheeses that were created by accident (such as cheese curds). The story goes that a factory somewhere near Naples, Italy was making cheese curds but somehow the curds got knocked over, landing in a bucket of hot water. The legend says that the resulting cheese was so delicious and had such a good consistency that the factory sought to reproduce it. It slowly gained in popularity until it reached the presence that it has worldwide today.


Traditionally, mozzarella was made using buffalo milk. Water buffalo had been raised in Italy since the 12th century so there was a large supply of water buffalo milk, making it the ideal liquid to make cheese. However, the amount of herds of these animals dropped throughout the years, especially in the 1930s and 1940s. This is when manufacturers began switching from making mozzarella with buffalo milk to with cow’s milk as that was more readily available. Despite that, it is still possibly to find traditional mozzarella made with water buffalo milk, although it is not produced in as large of numbers, making it harder to find and more expensive.


Although when it was first produced, there were not many options in terms of different types of mozzarella cheese, that is not the case today. Instead of simply having mozzarella made from water buffalo milk or cow’s milk, there are further variations such as using both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, skim milk (for low moisture mozzarella) and even smoked mozzarella (which is smoked). To see the widest varieties of mozzarella, you should either visit a specialty cheese website or make a trip to Italy and clearly the second option would be a great deal more expensive.

Today’s Production

Today you can find mozzarella cheese almost everywhere in the world, although it is more difficult to find certain varieties. Despite the widespread production of mozzarella if you want to find the best gourmet mozzarella (or the best buffalo mozzarella) you should look in the Naples area, specifically just south of the city. There are many small factories in Caserta and Battipaglia which produce fresh buffalo mozzarella each day and locals will make sure to go there for their cheese. The good news is that with the internet, you can still find high quality mozzarella no matter where you live.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Four Things You Didn’t Know About Cheese Curds

If you don’t live in Wisconsin or Quebec, chances are that you haven’t ever tried a cheese curd, let alone seen one in person. There are some other areas in the United States and Canada where they are popular (such as parts of New York, Vermont and the states around Wisconsin), but these are the two main locations. Because of this, most people don’t know much about these delicious treats. They may know what they look like or the general idea behind them, but that is usually it. Here are four things that you probably didn’t know about cheese curds, especially if you haven’t had them before.

Their Origin

One of the little known facts about cheese curds is their origin. There is no set evidence, but legend says that they came about by accident when a nomad was traveling across a desert in the Middle East. He filled his saddle bag with milk but it was warm out so a few hours later when he was thirsty, he opened the bag and all that was inside was white curds and liquid. This happened because of a combination of the heat and the rennin from his bag and was reportedly the first cheese curds in history.


Another thing you might not know about these treats if you haven’t had them before is that they should be squeaky as this indicates freshness. If you have had them, you probably don’t know why they squeak and instead simply enjoy the effect as well as the taste. Put simply, the proteins within cheese curds are in long chains and the squeakiness is the sound and feeling of the cheese curds rubbing against your teeth’s enamel. The long chains are formed because as a side effect of rennet which eliminates the negative charges, thereby forcing the proteins to connect into the chains.


Even if you are a big fan of cheese curds, you may not know that there is actually a way to get back some of that lost squeakiness. All you have to do is put them in the microwave for a very short amount of time. The heat will cause the protein molecules to drop their negative particles again which in turn causes them to recreate the longer protein chains. This means that when they come in contact with your tooth enamel, you will have the same result as with fresh cheese curds: the squeak.

Serving Options

If you don’t live in Wisconsin or Quebec, chances are that you can’t think of any ways to eat your curds. The simplest option is to eat them raw but another very popular choice, especially in Wisconsin and nearby areas is to deep fry them. In Quebec, they are most popular in poutine which is a combination of French fries, cheese curds and gravies. The best way to appreciate their squeak and flavor, however, is simply to eat them raw when they are extremely fresh. Remember that they are a type of cheese you want to eat as soon as you get it as they lose their freshness quickly.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why Are Some Cheese Curds Different Colors?

Cheese curds are a little known secret when it comes to cheese. If you live in Wisconsin or certain parts of New York and Vermont (or in Quebec), chance are you have heard of them. But if you ask someone from another part of the country, they have probably never even seen them. Although they seem simple at first, they can actually vary quite a bit depending on how or where they are made. One of the most obvious differences you will notice is that they can come in different colors. Although it may seem odd, it is perfectly natural and here is why.

Manufacturing Process

In order to understand why cheese curds can vary in terms of color (or simply a shade of color), you have to understand a bit about the background of how they are made. Put simply, they are the part of the cheese (usually cheddar) that doesn’t make it into a block. They are made first and then compressed to create the block you usually buy. To make the curds, you add coagulant to milk. Eventually the whey and curds are separated and then the curds are drained.

Natural Variation

Because of the process by which cheese curds are made, they end up coming from the same ingredients as any other type of cheese. If you have an all-natural kind, you will notice some variation in it simply because of environmental factors and this is true of the curds as well. They can also be affected by natural additives that are added at some point during the process such as the annatto that is responsible for turning cheddar cheese yellow (instead of its natural shade of white).

Environmental Factors

If some of the variation in color is due to natural environmental factors, you may be wondering what exactly those factors are. The main variations in color are due to the diet of the cow that produces the milk used to make the cheese curd. It is simply that at different times of the year, the cow’s diet will vary slightly. Sometimes the grass will be fresher than at other times and this can account for the variation in terms of colors. In fact, the fluctuating natural colors of cheese curds are part of the reason that some manufacturers will add natural coloring additives (such as annatto) to even out the color.


Another common reason that you will notice cheese curds coming in different colors is if they are flavored. Some flavors will simply add small dots of a certain color such as jalapeno cheddar cheese curds or cheese curds with the addition of Italian herbs and spices. Others may add small bits of color, but can also change the entire color of the curd (even slightly) such as ones with dill, horseradish or buffalo wing flavoring. Although you will not find these specialty flavors in stores, high quality cheese manufacturers will not only make them but give you many options of flavors (and therefore colors) as well.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What Kind Of Milk Is Used For Mozzarella?

Mozzarella is one of the most popular types of cheese worldwide, especially because of its crucial role in making everyone’s favorite Italian food: pizza. Because of its popularity, you can find mozzarella cheese in almost any store across the country in addition to many online retailers. You will notice, however, that there are some different types of mozzarella cheese, with the main difference being the milk that is used to make it. That is because there is not one type of milk that is used to make this cheese; there are in fact two different types that vary in popularity.

Traditional Mozzarella

When mozzarella was first created, it was made using milk from water buffalo. There is some debate about when exactly water buffalos arrived in Italy but the fact remains that it was their milk that was traditionally used to make mozzarella. Although this milk isn’t the best to drink, it made very high quality cheese that was creamy, white and delicious. During the 1930s and 1940s, however, the number of water buffalo herds in Italy decreased dramatically and that is when they started making mozzarella with cow’s milk as well. Today you can find both varieties.

Water Buffalo Milk

As mentioned, the traditional method of using milk from water buffalos to make mozzarella cheese is still used today. However, because water buffalo are not as common, both in Italy and around the world, this type of mozzarella is fairly rare and much more expensive. In general, if you want to find mozzarella made from water buffalo milk, known as mozzarella di bufala, you will have to look online or go to Italy although specialty cheese shops will have it as well. Despite the difficulty in finding in, mozzarella made from water buffalo milk is creamier and many connoisseurs prefer it.

Cow Milk

The more common option today is to find mozzarella made from cow’s milk, which is known as fior di latte. If you go to your local grocery store and see a cheese that is simply labeled “mozzarella” then it is made from cow’s milk. This is simply because very few areas of the world raise water buffalo; in fact most of the water buffalo milk comes from Italy or Bulgaria. If countries were to rely on this milk to make mozzarella, the cheese would always be extremely expensive. Both types of mozzarella, whether made from water buffalo or cow’s milk, are best when they are fresh.

Other Variations

In addition to the general differences in terms of milk of either the traditional water buffalo’s milk or the more common cow’s milk, there are others as well. In the United States the milk used to make mozzarella is always pasteurized but in other countries such as Italy it can be either pasteurized or unpasteurized. There are also some other variations, such as low-fat mozzarella cheeses that use skim or low fat milk. If you want to find a less common mozzarella such as mozzarella di bufala, your best option is generally to look at online specialty cheese stores.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

How Are Cheese Curds Made?

Although cheese curds are only popular in certain areas of the country, they are slowly growing in popularity and now you can find them at specialty stores and online retailers among other gourmet or high quality cheeses. If you really love this “squeaky cheese” you may be wondering how it is made, especially when compared to other types. It turns out that despite their lack of widespread popularity, they are actually fairly simple to make with not too many steps involved (and very little time consumed, especially when compared to other cheeses that need to age).

The Milk

The first step in making cheese curds is the same as making any other sort of cheese; selecting the right milk. To make the best varieties such as those found at specialized cheese retailers you need to start with high quality milk and all producers will ensure they have the highest quality possibly by screening their milk. They will check for both quality and purity. Cheese curds require a great deal of milk, needing an amazing ten pounds for just one pound. Before going any farther in the cheese curd making process, the milk must be standardized which involves it being weighed then pasteurized or heat treated to ensure it is safe and uniform.


In order to get the milk to become cheese, you need to add a starter culture. This starter culture will vary slightly between factories and will help determine the texture and flavor of the curds. After adding the starter culture, they will add a coagulant. This is an enzyme that helps clot milk which means that it will be responsible for changing the milk into the solid cheese that you expect.


The next step in the process of making cheese curds is called cutting. This is a process that involves separating the curds from the whey, which is the liquid portion of the mixture. After this process begins, both parts (the curds and the whey) are placed in a vat and stirred and heated up until the curds are the desired consistency. This should be both the right firmness and the right temperature. After the heating is complete and the curds are at the right consistency, the whey is drained out, finishing the separation process.

Finished Product

After that entire process is complete and the whey is drained out, you are left with the cheese curd. In some cases these are salted before being packaged. The important thing with cheese curd manufacturing is that as soon as the product is done, it must be shipped quickly. This is because they are one of the types of cheese that are best when fresh. Ideally, they should be slightly firm and should squeak when you eat them. If too much time passes before you eat your cheese curds, you can always put them in the microwave very briefly to help reinvigorate them and add back some squeakiness.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Popular Types Of Mozzarella Cheese

If you are a fan of mozzarella cheese, chances are you have only had one or two kinds of it in the past. That is because while mozzarella can be found almost everywhere, that is not true of every type of it. Some are extremely rare, only found in certain parts of the world (such as Italy) and therefore tend to be expensive, while others are much easier to find. Although there are many different types of mozzarella cheese available, these are simply some of the most popular ones as well as what you need to know about them before buying.

Fresh Mozzarella

The standard mozzarella that you will commonly find in a supermarket or even a convenience store is made from cow’s milk. It doesn’t usually have a great deal of moisture and is frequently the cheapest type of mozzarella available. The thing is that mozzarella was created to be eaten fresh and because of that you can find a fresh variation of this at most high quality cheese retailers. This cheese is nice and soft and incredibly versatile, tasting delicious both raw or melted. Fresh mozzarella is also frequently high in protein and low in fat when compared with other types of cheese.

Buffalo Mozzarella

An extremely rare type of mozzarella cheese is buffalo mozzarella. It is called this because it is made from the milk of water buffalos. Although this is the traditional type of cheese, today it is mostly found in Italy simply due to the high cost, both of manufacturing it and of buying it. You will notice that not only is it the hardest type of mozzarella to find, but also the most expensive, simply because few areas have water buffalo and therefore have the ingredients to make it. If you find this cheese, however, you should buy it because it is very creamy and delicious.

Smoked Mozzarella

If you like the texture of standard mozzarella and don’t want to have to splurge to try something new (such as buffalo mozzarella), then smoked mozzarella is a delicious and popular option. This type of cheese is naturally smoked to add a bit of extra flavor to your meal. It is just as versatile as fresh mozzarella and can give you some interesting and delicious flavor combinations, especially if you decide to substitute it for your normal mozzarella on a homemade pizza. The possibilities are endless with this cheese.

Part Skim

If you want the deliciousness of mozzarella but are trying to watch your figure, you can opt for a part skim version. This is made from part skim milk instead of the traditional whole milk so while it will have a slightly different flavor, it can be an excellent alternative for those on a diet. Keep in mind though that depending on where you look, part skim mozzarella may be hard to find as it will change the flavor and is therefore not always considered as high quality as other types. Because of this you are more likely to find it at a health food store than a gourmet cheese seller.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Easy Recipes Using Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses in the United States and because of this, you can find it almost anywhere you go. Of course if you want to try high quality cheddar, your best bet is to look online or go to a specialty store. If you are going to cook with your cheddar, you will still notice a large difference in quality. When looking at recipes, pay attention to what type of cheddar it calls for as there is a significant flavor difference between mild and sharp cheddar. Some recipes will leave the option open to you and if that is the case, simply choose your favorite type.

Cheddar Cheese Macaroni

If you love mac and cheese, then you should give cheddar cheese macaroni a try. It is basically the same thing but instead of using the mix from a box, pick your favorite brand of macaroni and your favorite cheddar cheese. To make this, heat up a skillet and add a tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter melts, add three tablespoons of flour and whisk the mixture while it cooks for about three minutes. Keep whisking the mixture while slowly adding a cup and a half of milk. Let it thicken, and then add in two cups of cheddar cheese (shredded). Add whatever spices you want and then combine it with your macaroni.

Cheddar Cheese Soup

To make this delicious and refreshing soup, heat up four tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan. Add a large chopped onion and a third cup each of chopped red and green peppers. Let them sauté until they are soft then add in four minced cloves of garlic, sautéing for two more minutes. Add a half cup of all-purpose flour and stir the mixture constantly while cooking for two minutes. Whisk in slowly two cups of chicken stock, a cup and a half of whole milk and a cup and a half of heavy cream. Bring the soup up to boil before bringing it down for a simmer. Stir it frequently for the next 20 minutes. Now take four cups of grated cheddar cheese and add it in slowly, stirring it in. season it to taste and enjoy.

Cheddar Apple Pie

If you already have an apple pie recipe that you love, this is a great variation that can add some extra flavor to it. Make the filling the same as you always do, but the crust will be a bit different. For this part, take a food processor and combine 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt, two sticks of cold unsalted butter and 1 ¼ cups of grated sharp cheddar (packed; if you want more flavor, either add more cheese or make it extra sharp). Add some ice water then run the food processor again so the mixture creates a ball. (Add more ice water if it is too dry). Divide the mix in half and use it how you would any other crust to make your apple pie.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

5 Tips To Throwing A Cheese Tasting Party

If you want to host a party but are looking for something a bit classier, a cheese tasting party is one of the best options. There are plenty of cheeses available to choose from so it is only a matter of selecting the right ones and doing all the other elements of planning to make it a success. It can be a bit daunting at first, especially if you don’t know how to pick your cheeses (or drinks) so here are some tips to help you plan your cheese tasting party.

Set Up

One of the most important things to consider (other than the cheeses) is how you will set up your cheese tasting party. If you have the room, a great idea is to place a long table and divide it into different sections based on cheeses. Another option is to set up several smaller areas throughout the room, each with a different type of cheese as well as a label.


One thing that many people don’t consider when throwing a cheese tasting party is labeling the cheese. In many cases, they will simply put out the cheeses and expect their guests to know what they are as well as their history. A better idea, and one that your guests will greatly appreciate, is to clearly label each cheese. If you have the time, it is also a great idea to add a sentence or two to the label describing where the cheese comes from and its history.

Compare Varieties

A great idea when selecting the cheeses for your party is to select different varieties of the same cheese. An example would be to get some fresh mozzarella in the two main varieties: that made from water buffalo’s milk and that made from cow’s milk. You could do something similar with cheddar, serving different levels of sharpness, different colors or specific artisan cheeses.

Go Unusual

Part of the goal of cheese tasting party is to introduce your guests to cheeses they have not had before. This means that if you live somewhere where cheese curds are not very common, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to your friends. Once again, choose some varieties such as plain cheddar cheese curds and cheddar ones with bacon and chives. This is also the chance for you to get unusual varieties of more common cheeses. A good idea would be a hand crafted and well-aged cheddar.

Other Items

When you are having a cheese tasting party, you don’t want to just serve the cheese. You should be sure to have a variety of small breads and crackers as well. You also need to pay close attention to the drinks. Wine is a classic option but be sure to pair your wines and cheeses correctly. Ideally, you could even write the ideal wine on each cheese’s label. To find the right wines, do your research by looking online or asking a cheese expert. In many cases when you buy your cheese online from a quality website, they will give you suggestions of wine pairings.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why Does Mozzarella Melt So Easily?

Chances are if you have ever had a pizza, you have eaten mozzarella cheese as it is the most commonly used cheese for this food. But this isn’t the only dish that involves melted mozzarella and that is no surprise considering the great taste and ease associated with melting the cheese. When compared to other cheeses, it sometimes seems as if mozzarella melts a lot easier but instead of understanding why, most people just take advantage of this fact and use the melted version in recipes. If you want to know why this cheese melts so easily, then it all comes down to its structure.

Type Of Melt

Before completely understanding why mozzarella melts so easily, it is important to understand what type of melting cheese it produces. In general there are several different consistencies that you can get from melted cheese: stretchy and stringy, smooth and flowing and ones that don’t melt. If you have ever worked with mozzarella, then you know it is a stretchy and stringy cheese when melted. This means that when you melt it, it can make long strings (thing of the stringy melted cheese on your pizza) and will generally stay where they are, making them great for sandwiches and pizza.

The Moisture

So we mentioned that the reason mozzarella melts so easily is because of its structure, but what exactly does that mean. It comes down to the fact that when you make mozzarella at a high pasteurization temperature, the cheese will have more moisture which means that you need to be careful with it as it will melt easily, giving it a higher risk of burning. At the same time, the moisture is part of what gives it the melted consistency that we have grown to love. One thing to remember when cooking your mozzarella, however, is that if you cook it at higher temperatures, there will be less moisture.

Other Factors

The moisture is just one of the factors that cause mozzarella to melt so easily. If you want to use mozzarella that melts easily, it is best to avoid reduced fat cheese as this will have more protein content. This in turn means that the cheese is harder to melt so if you plan on melting your mozzarella, stick to the full-fat version. You will also notice that cheese made with a bulk starter culture will melt better because of the increased microbial activity. Another way to make your mozzarella melt even more easily is to increase the time it is stored in refrigeration as this will help it develop more which in turn helps with melting.

How Do You Do It?

Now that you know why mozzarella cheese melts so easily, it is a good idea to know the best way to melt it. Ideally you should use a double boiler (or make your own using a small pot and a large pot). Shred the cheese and put it in the top part of the double boiler. Then fill the bottom with water halfway putting the heat on medium high. Put the top part (with the cheese) on top of the bottom part and stir it frequently while it melts. You should have melted mozzarella in no time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How Does Cheddar Cheese Get Its Color?

One of the things that distinguish cheddar cheese from the other cheeses (in addition to its flavor of course) is its color. While most cheeses are traditionally light in color, cheddar is almost always yellow or even a bright orange. Although people enjoy cheddar’s distinctive color, not everyone knows where it comes from or what the difference in color is. Well the most important thing to know about the color of this cheese is that it is not naturally that way; instead the color is produced using an all-natural dye. Here is how exactly cheddar gets its color as well as information on why it was first dyed.

The Dye

We already know that cheddar cheese is not naturally yellow and most certainly not naturally orange, but the good news is that the color of the cheese does not involve chemical additives such as those in other colored products. Instead, this coloring is all-natural. The cheese is dyed using annatto which is a coloring additive that comes from the achiote tree, a tree that is common in South and Central America’s tropical regions. Annatto is actually the name of the seeds that are then ground up to be used as a natural dye.


Part of the logic behind coloring cheddar cheese is to help create uniformity. This is because the cows that produce the milk which is made into cheese can greatly affect the color. It all comes down to the amount of beta-carotene that is produced by the cows and included in their milk. Cows that eat in the pasture (such as in the olden days when cheese was first created) will have higher levels of this nutrient during the spring because of their diet of fresh grass. This will produce cheese that is more yellow. In the winter, however, when they have less beta-carotene in their diet, the cheese made from the milk will be whiter.


Another reason that cheddar cheese was traditionally dyed was to increase the sales. When cheddar was first produced, most of the cheeses at the time were white. People who bought cheese liked the richer flavor of the yellow cheddar that was produced from cow’s summer milk. Cheese manufacturers quickly realized that by adding a bit of color to white cheddar (or other cheeses for that matter), buyers would associate it with that better quality yellow cheddar and be more inclined to buy, paying higher prices.


Today you will notice that not all cheddar cheese is one color. Some are yellow, while others are white or even that deep orange. The white cheddars are the ones that do not include the coloring additive annatto. Yellow cheese will usually include the standard amount while the deep orange cheddar cheese will have an extra bit of annatto. Because the annatto doesn’t affect the flavor, the differences all come down to custom. The yellow and orange varieties are popular because that is simply what people expect to see when purchasing their cheddar cheese and while the white cheese is more natural, it is not necessarily any different in taste or healthiness.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What Causes Cheese Curds To Be Squeaky?

Although cheese curds are especially popular in Wisconsin, they are popular throughout the country and it is no wonder with their delicious taste and amazing squeakiness. For people who haven’t had them before, the squeakiness can seem a bit odd at first but anyone who frequently eats them knows that squeakiness is a sign of freshness and quality. In most cases, if they aren't squeaky anymore, they simply won’t taste as good. Although most cheese curd consumers know this, few understand why it’s the case. Here is all you need to know about why these delicious bits squeak.

Is It Air?

One of the most frequent explanations is that they squeak because the air is trapped inside them. The problem with this theory, however, is that it hasn't been backed up by any science and doesn't seem to make much sense. After all, if the squeakiness is caused by air trapped inside the curd, how do they lose their squeak? Does the air just magically leave? If you ask a scientist or an expert on cheese, they will tell you that this explanation doesn't make sense because it isn't true. In reality, the squeakiness is because of something else.

What Do The Proteins Do?

The real reason they are squeaky is their protein and how they are structured. It comes down to the fact that cheese curds are made up of casein protein combined with milk fat that create a protein matrix. The calcium makes this protein matrix more solid while other elements remove a negative charge from certain proteins in the casein. This means that instead of small protein strands, the structure of cheese curds includes longer protein strands due to the long matrix of proteins. It sounds complicated but when these protein strands rub on your tooth’s enamel that is what creates the squeak.

How Do They Lose The Squeak?

Everyone who has eaten them knows that they will lose the squeak after a few days. This is because of the process that makes them. During the process of pressing, hooping and salting, the structure of the protein strands becomes more compacted. This means that over time, they will lose some squeakiness as it is these strands that cause it in the first place. A drop in pH levels can also cause them to lose their squeak because the long proteins will start to break down, making them weaker and less likely to squeak.

Can Microwaving Help?

Lots of people will tell you that if you have cheese curds that have lost their squeak, you just have to briefly heat them in the microwave and this is completely true. That is because the heat will affect the moisture inside the cheese curds. This in turn causes the casein proteins to drop more of their negative charges which will (as we mentioned above), create the longer chains again. Just be careful when using the microwave to regain the squeakiness as if you leave them in too long, they will melt just like any other cheese.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What Are Some Of The Differences In Cheddar Cheese?

Cheddar is one of the most popular types of cheese in the world. It was first created in Cheddar in Somerset, England but since then it has spread around the world. Now you will notice that there are plenty of different types of it available, variations in color, sharpness and flavors as well as other factors. Here is everything you need to know about the differences between the various types of cheddar cheese including why these variations are made and how they affect the taste.


The most common difference you will find between the various types of cheddar cheese is sharpness. In general you will find three types: mild, medium and sharp although there are also other options such as extra sharp. The difference in the sharpness depends completely on the aging process. The longer it is aged, the sharper the cheese. In general, mild cheddar was aged for three months or more; medium was aged for between four and nine months and sharp (and other similar varieties) were aged for more than nine months. Usually they will not be older than seven years but in some cases you can find ten year old cheddar cheese.

Color Of Your Brick

Another thing you will notice is that cheddar cheese is usually yellow and in fact, this is the color that most people associate with this variety. Despite this, you will find white cheddars as well. Some people wonder what the difference between the yellow and white variety is but in reality there is no difference. It is simply that yellow cheddar contains a coloring additive that is all natural. This additive is called annatto and comes from the achiote tree. Despite changing the color, this additive has no effect on the taste.

Industrial Or Artisanal

Another difference is how it was made. Most of the time when you go to the grocery store, you will find industrially produced cheese. If you order specialty bricks, however, such as from websites or go to a farmer’s market, chances are that you will get an artisanal cheese. These tend to be more expensive tend to have more flavor as well as drier texture. This is because instead of using industrial techniques, artisans rely on the ancient cheese-making techniques to create their product.


One of the final differences you will find is the flavor. While most manufacturers and artisans alike will stick to the normal methods and simply make the classic flavors of mild, sharp, etc., some will add additional items. The highest quality items will be aged with the additional ingredients for the flavor, such as jalapeno peppers, already within the cheese. If you aren’t a fan of spice in your cheese, there are also plenty of other flavors added to cheddar cheese such as maple or smoked cheeses. Sometimes you will even find a combination of flavors such as smoked maple.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is Cheddar Cheese Good For You?

For many years dieters have been told to avoid cheese as it can be high in calories and sodium. The fact of the matter, however, is that when eaten in moderation, certain cheeses such as cheddar can actually be very good for you. The only thing to keep in mind is to opt for lower fat versions when available and to always limit your intake. If you do that, you will be able to get all of the health benefits of cheddar cheese without any of the unwanted side effects such as problems with your cardiovascular health. Here are some of the reasons why cheddar cheese can be incredibly healthy making it an ideal addition to your diet.


Most people know that cheese is a good source of protein, but cheddar cheese in particular can do a great job at providing this necessary nutrient. Protein is needed to make sure your cells work properly and to maintain not only your muscles but also your organ tissues, skin and bones. If you have just one slice of cheddar cheese (which should be around one ounce), then you will get an amazing seven grams of protein. Keep in mind that women need around 46 grams a day while men need around 56 meaning that this can give you a great head start and in such a small bite.


Calcium is the one thing that everyone, no matter their knowledge or lack thereof when it comes to nutrition, knows you can get from dairy products. Of course, cheddar cheese is no exception. We need calcium to help make our bones and teeth strong. We also need it for the nervous system, our enzymes, hormones, blood vessels and muscles. If you have a slice of cheddar, you will get around 200 milligrams of this nutrient which is between a fifth and a sixth of what you need in one day.

Other Nutrients

In addition to providing calcium and protein, cheddar cheese can give you plenty of other nutrients as well. It
is a great source of both vitamin A and phosphorus. Vitamin A is necessary for our reproductive system, vision, immune system and bones while phosphorus helps with maintaining the health of our teeth and bones as well as tissue and cell growth. Cheddar can also give a good amount of zinc and vitamin D. One thing to keep in mind is that while reduced fat cheddar cheese is good for maintaining your weight, it will also reduce the amount of vitamin A and vitamin D as these are fat-soluble vitamins.

Other Benefits

Amazingly enough, the health benefits of cheddar cheese even extend to help preventing cavities. Doctors and dentists are still trying to figure out why exactly this works but they think that eating cheddar will stimulate your saliva flow. This in turn will help clear your food and therefore reduce your risk of developing cavities. Another great thing about cheddar is that unlike other cheeses, it doesn’t contain as much lactose which makes it great for those who are sensitive to digesting lactose.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Four Uses For Mozzarella Besides Italian Food

Mozzarella is one of the most popular cheeses, especially in the United States and with its great taste whether fresh or melted, it is no surprise. Because mozzarella is traditionally from Italy, however, most of the dishes that use it are Italian in nature. Think of your favorite pizza or a nice Caprese salad and you will see just how many of mozzarella’s uses involve Italian food. If you are looking for a use for your cheese that isn't Italian, however, you are not out of luck. Over the years, people have taken this cheese and started using it many other recipes. Here are some of the most popular uses.

Mozzarella Sticks

One of the uses of mozzarella cheese is to create one of the most popular appetizers in the United States: mozzarella sticks. You can find this dish at most restaurants and it is definitely one of the most delicious finger foods you can select for an appetizer. It relies on the ease with which mozzarella melts and combines that with some breading then is deep-fried to make it even more delicious. One thing does stick to its Italian roots, however, and that is the dipping sauce, marinara, which is an Italian classic.


When you think of a salad with mozzarella, you probably think of an Italian one, such as the Caprese salad, but this is not the only option. In reality, mozzarella makes a great addition to any type of salad, even those that aren't Italian in origin. It is a great way to add some extra flavor as well as nutrients to your favorite mixture of leafy greens and other vegetables. When choosing what to put on your salad, try to include some tomatoes as these are classically paired with mozzarella cheese and make a great combination.

Pasta Salad

Pasta may be Italian, but pasta salad is definitely not. Although it is most common in the United States for picnics and other summertime activities, you can eat it all year round. If you already have a great pasta salad recipe, try sprinkling a bit of shredded mozzarella on top of it and you will be impressed. If you are at a loss of what to include, try some black olives, roasted peppers and fresh herbs. Because you will be combining the mozzarella with other flavors it traditionally goes with, you will have no fears about the combination being


The last and possibly one of the most common uses for mozzarella cheese if you want to avoid Italian cuisine is on a sandwich. Here the options are truly limitless. You can combine it with fresh vegetables or savory meats. Keep in mind that although meats will work with mozzarella, your safest bet is to opt for some grilled or raw vegetables. If you love grilled cheese sandwiches and want to change it up a bit, why not swap out the American cheese for mozzarella? It will melt great and give it an amazing new flavor.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five Of The Best Recipes For Cheese Curds

Deliciously squeaky and a favorite in several regions of the United States as well as Canada, these robust dairy bites are a delicacy for everyone.  While they can make a great snack when eaten raw by themselves that is not the only option. There are also plenty of delicious recipes that let you use them in to complement your favorite foods. Here are five of the best cheese curd recipes for your consideration.


If you have ever been to a fair in Wisconsin, you most definitely these treats there. They are a classic and incredibly delicious. To make them; sift together a cup of flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt. Then add in half a cup of milk and two beaten eggs. Once the batter is smooth, then coat a pound of cheese curds in the mixture. Now fill a large skillet with oil and turn it up to medium heat. Fry your bundles until they are golden brown which should be about a minute each. Drain and enjoy!


Poutine is a Canadian classic that uses these dairy treats. It is basically fries with gravy and curds on top. To make it, cook some fries in oil (either in a skillet or deep fryer) and warm up some gravy. Cook the fries until they are light brown and then let them drain. Once the fries are nice and warm, put them on a plate then add your cheese and gravy (preferably beef gravy) and get ready to enjoy your dish.

Grilled Cheese With Bacon

Normally you would make grilled cheese with American, but these niblets can make a great variation. For this take, try using a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on your sandwich with about a quarter cup of cheese curds. While you are getting this ready, cook your bacon until it is crispy. Put your cheese and bacon on the bread and then cook until they are ready. If you want extra flavor, try adding a sauce made from mayonnaise, beef bouillon, Sriracha, salt, pepper, onion and cider vinegar.

Toppings For Panzanella

To make this delicious dish, mix two chopped tomatoes, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a clove of garlic, twelve chopped basil leaves, and a half a teaspoon of salt and four tablespoons of olive oil. Take one inch slices of a hearty bread (such as ciabatta) and cook them on a grill pan until they begin to crisp. Let them cool off the grill, replacing them with four ounces of cheese curds. Cook these until they are crisp on the underside but not melted all the way. Chop your bread into cubes and combine it with tomato mixture, adding your curds on top.


Everyone loves quesadillas and they are easy to make. Just replace whatever cheese you normally use with a cup of cheddar cheese curds (for four tortillas) and add whatever additional ingredients you want. Mushrooms or squash go especially well inside of these tortillas. Serve them with salsa and sour cream and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Drinks Pair With Cheese Other Than Wine

When it comes to pairing cheese with drinks, the first that comes to mind is wine. Wine is a great drink to have with cheese if you like wine, but not everyone does. That is why it becomes a necessity to look for other drinks that can make sense when you want to have a cheese tasting party or get together or you just want to spend some time at home tasting some of the best cheeses out there. Here are some of the best suggestions.


You do not have to have wine as the only alcoholic drink that can be served with cheese. Beers can make a great drink depending on what cheeses you are looking to have. Cheddar for example goes great with the average beer, but there are so many beer flavors now that you can choose from that will also help. Porters and bitter beer goes great with Cheshire and Cheddars while Belgian ales can be paired with Comte, Beaufort and Gruyere. Sweet and strong beers can be paired with washed-rind monster. There are enough beers in the market to choose from and they make amazing pairing choices for a lot of cheese.


For those who do not like the taste of beer, but still want alcoholic options there are several cocktails that will do the job. The good news is that it is not that difficult to pair cocktails with cheese as long as you know the flavors. If you have a rich alpine or blue cheese then try a Manhattan or something similar. Richer flavored cheeses can go really great with a dry martini a la James Bond. Sweeter and frozen cocktails are a bit more difficult to pair so try to stick to the cocktails that you already know.

Non Alcoholic Mixes

It is also possible to pair your cheese with non-alcoholic drinks or mixes. Club soda is a good base for mixing non-alcoholic drinks and there are several options. You can mix club soda with lemon and elder flower syrup. Adjust the amount of lemons so that it matches the cheeses that you want to taste. This mix looks a little classier than others and it is extremely easy to make.


The pairing that you choose all depends on the cheese that you are going to taste. If you have Spanish style cheeses then one good option would be to have a margarita on the side. Though the margarita is considered a cocktail it deserves its own category because it goes well with most Spanish style options. Grab your mixer and get the margaritas going; after a few of them the people you are serving them to will forget all about wine pairings.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Can You Use Cheese Curds For?

Cheese curds have been a popular type of snack in certain areas, particularly Wisconsin, for years but they are beginning to spread out across the country. Because their texture is different from normal cheese, it can be confusing at first to know what exactly to use them for. The good news is that this squeaky cheese is just as versatile as any other type. Here are some of the most popular ways to eat these creamy treats.


The simplest way to enjoy your curds is to eat them by themselves when raw. If you are a bit hungry, they can be a delicious snack and help you get your daily portion of dairy as well. Just remember, the squeakier the cheese, the fresher it is, so opt for the squeakiest you can find.

Deep Fried

Another very popular option for cheese curds is to eat them deep fried. People say this idea may have started in Wisconsin but it has since spread throughout the Midwest as well as other areas of the United States. Simply batter them up and deep fry them much like you would to make mozzarella sticks. Just be careful because this is one of the most addictive ways to eat cheese curds and certainly not the healthiest.


If you have ever been to the French speaking area of Canada, chances are you have encountered poutine. This is a very popular and simple way to use cheese curds and can make a great snack as well. Simply take some fries and add fresh cheese curds as well as gravy and you have a delicious snack.

In Salad

If you want a healthier option, try adding your favorite type to a salad. You can pick any salad you want and any type of curd (although plain tend to be the most versatile). Add them just like you would add shreddedcheese and you are all set to enjoy a great meal.

As An Appetizer

Cheese curds can be a great appetizer, both raw and in other forms. You can eat them alone or with crackers. If you are a fan of dips try mixing your favorite bites with some hot sauce and melting the combination. This can be a delicious alternative to store bought options.

In Soup

If you are in a cold climate (and most areas where cheese curds are plentiful happen to be cold), there is no better way to warm up than with soup. Of course, no soup is complete without cheese so try adding your favorite to the top. Because of the size of the curd, some will melt and some will stay solid, allowing you to enjoy both consistencies.

RESOURCE BOX: For more information on how to use cheese curds and to discover the varieties available, visit Check out our selection to decide which cheese curds and other cheeses are right for you.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Can You Do With Gourmet Cheese?

Gourmet cheese is great not only because of flavor and quality, but also because it allows you the flexibility to do a lot of things with it. As long as you are a little creative you will be able to do things that people would think you went to culinary school for. There are some traditional recipes which can be enhanced to have a flavor and feel that you would have never expected. Gourmet cheeses can add a lot of class to your get together with friends just by serving it alone, but why not do a little bit more with it and impress everybody?

Simple Tray

The great thing about gourmet cheese is that though you could get really creative with it, the cheese can be the star of a simple serving tray. It is a good idea to mix up the types of cheese that you are serving so that people can have a different taste with every bite. You can place the tray as a snack during a get together or why not throw a wine tasting party and have it be the star of the get together. Throw in some crackers and that may be all that you need to have those in attendance raving about your get together every time they talk to each other.


Quesadillas are something that is a lot easier than people make them out to be and you can add a touch of class to this traditional Mexican dish by adding gourmet cheese to the recipe. You can decide to use any other type of filling such as vegetables, duck, chicken, beef or pork and the cheese that you choose will make the dish just stand out. Fresh mozzarella cheese is perfect nut give it a bit of a different taste with naturally smoked mozzarella varieties.

Blue Cheese Salad

A salad is simple and it can be a lot better with gourmet blue cheese. To make your salad you will need the pasta shells, bacon sugar, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste and throw in a few caramelized onions. Such a salad is very easy to make and can be ready in less than an hour. The gourmet blue cheese gives it a different taste and the people you serve it to will notice the difference. Make sure that you chill the salad before serving as this is a cold pasta salad.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

If you love stuffed chicken breasts then you will definitely love what it will taste when you use goat cheese. Believe it or not the recipes for stuffed chicken breasts are not that difficult and what you stuff the breasts with can be anything of your choice. Some will use solid vegetables like broccoli and onions while others will include fruits like raspberries. The tangy flavor of gourmet blue cheese is better countered with peaches or raspberries. You end up with chicken breasts that are sweet due to the fruit and tangy from the goat cheese.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How To Design A Perfect Cheese Basket

Most people like cheese as something they can snack on or something that can be a main ingredient of a meal. That is why it has become very popular to give the gift of a cheese basket. While it is possible to purchase an already made gift basket with different cheeses, you can make your own and give it a personal touch so that the person you are giving the basket to will know that you put some thought into it. Before you decide to create the cheese holder gift yourself, here are some things that should be kept in mind.


The main advantage of a designed gift is that you will be able to include variety. There are a lot of different cheeses including fresh cheddar cheese curds, special reserve super sharp cheddar, naturally smoked cheeses etc. If you are giving a gift basket to someone who loves different cheeses then you should think variety and get as many different types as possible. Try to make it a sampler so that the person can have products that they may have never had before so that they are surprised by the different flavors. Don’t settle for three or four types; really try to give some variety.

Size Of The Basket

The size of the basket is very important because you need to ensure that it does not look empty. A small to medium sized basket is usually enough to get the cheeses that you want to get in there. The size of the cheese products is also very important because that can help you make the basket seem fuller when the products are bigger. If you feel that the basket is looking a bit empty in some spots you can get smaller sized products to complete the look without spending much more money.


Cheese comes in different shapes and colors. Some will have the traditional yellow crust while others will go from blue to black, red and green. The more colors you include the better your basket will look. Try to be organized with the colors so that your basket looks festive. If you are able to organize the different cheeses in the basket you may notice that even without the bow it looks like a gift. There are other products besides cheese that you can include to give your basket the perfect look so do not be afraid to experiment with them.

Other Products To Include

When making a cheese basket you have the option to go with an all cheese basket or you can choose to include other products as well. There is no wrong or right way to choose between those two so if you want to get creative then this is a chance to do so. Some ideas would be to include meat products like old fashioned beef sticks or pepperoni. A person who does not want to include meat or who wants more variety in the basket could include a bottle of wine or even some beer as they are both great for paring. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How To Create Your Own Cheese Cellar

For many centuries now cheese has been made in different cheese caves around the world. Customers of course have had to go to different places so that they can buy the products that come out of the caves, but you can make your own cheese cellar and make your own cheese right at home. You will need some patience and a little “know how”, but in the end you will be rewarded with your own homemade cheeses that you can experiment with to create new flavors. You will need a cool spot in the cellar to match the type of environment that you would get in a cave; it is possible to get it done and get great results.

What You Need

As mentioned earlier a cool temperature is essential, and those temperatures should always be somewhere between 45F and 58F. The moisture levels are also important and they depend on the cheese that you are trying to make. The ranges in moisture should be between 80 and 98%. Don’t forget that at least some fresh air is also necessary as the cheese will develop byproducts while it ages. The good thing about a cellar is that it can provide all those things year round. The temperatures and humidity are pretty similar and controlling them if they are not is actually easy.

Air Circulation

Air circulation is very important to the aging process. You need to get some air coming in, but if you were to use a fan or a steady strong breeze you would risk drying the cheese too much. A good option is a refrigerator fan as it will not be as strong and will provide good air flow. Using wood as a base for placing the cheese is also recommended as it will help with the air circulation and even moisture development. Make sure to also leave enough space between the shelves. You want to make sure that the quality is better and not necessarily the quantity. Without the proper airflow the entire process can be for nothing.

Should I Build It?

Making cheese is an art and if you have decided that you wish to be a part of it, then building your cheese cellar makes sense. If on the other hand you just want to save a few bucks then you may want to remain a customer of established cheese makers. The first few products that you make are not likely to be as good, but with patience and practice you will start making cheeses that are worth tasting. The process does take some time, so you need to ensure that you have the patience for it. Some people decide that the process takes too long and requires too much attention to detail to do at home.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

And the Cheese of the Month Club Winner is....

Congratulations to Sandra O of St. Paul, Minnesota for winning the Golden Age Cheese Cheese of the Month club membership this year. Sandra shared she is very happy to win this package because she has 5 siblings and 6 children, who will enjoy the cheese every month as much as her! We are offering up another drawing, so check out more details HERE.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Can You Be Allergic To Cheese?

Most people enjoy a little cheese here and there, but some people though they may want to, are not able to; they have a cheese allergy. It is important not to confuse lactose intolerance with cheese allergies because they are in fact something completely different. A cheese allergy can usually mean that you are also allergic to dairy products, but that is not always the case. It is also important to know that most allergies do not last past the age of three so an allergist would need to check if in fact what you are suffering from is indeed an allergy.

The Symptoms

If you indeed have a cheese allergy then you will experience symptoms like hives, vomiting, wheezing, cramps, watery eyes, runny nose, diarrhea, itchy skin and others. It is important to find out if the symptoms are from allergies or something else because though it is rare in some cases it can be life threatening. Usually the allergies are to proteins like whey and casein which are found in milk and other dairy products. The body recognizes the proteins as a potential danger so your immune system so the reaction that takes place is what causes the symptoms. The truth is that in most cases it is not real allergies but rather sensitivity to proteins found in it.

Not Lactose Intolerance

People confuse allergies with lactose intolerance and they are completely different conditions. Lactose intolerance is not a problem of the immune system like allergies are. Instead the problem originates in a person’s digestive system and the malfunction it suffers. The stomach does not process lactose (sugar found in milk) correctly. At the same time the small intestine does not produce the lactase enzyme which is needed for the digestion and nutrient absorption. The symptoms of lactose intolerance are also different in that a person who suffers from it will have diarrhea, bloating and excessive amounts of gas. As you can see most of the symptoms in lactose intolerant people are of the gastrointestinal type.


Fortunately there are a few options when you like cheese and you are suffering of allergies. The most obvious would be to go with vegan cheeses because they do not contain animal byproducts and therefore the proteins that you may be allergic to are not in that type of cheese. Some people have been known to have their allergies triggered by most cheeses, but then cheese curds will not have a reaction. That is because they have a lot less lactose than other cheeses. The better option is to look for cheeses which are aged for a longer period of time. If you have lactose intolerance and not allergies then they will be a much better choice.

More information about them can be found at

Friday, September 20, 2013

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is There Anyone Who Should Not Eat Cheese?

Cheese is a delicacy we all enjoy as a healthy meal, part of a snack or on its own. With so many different types to choose from, there is a cheese that we all love. Whether its Mozzarella on pizza, Swiss cheese with wine, cheddar in sandwiches or parmesan with pasta, we have made this delicacy part of our everyday meals including in dessert platters. There are different types of cheeses such as hard, soft, tangy, mellow, creamy or ripe. Some such as aged cheddar has more sharpness to its taste than mild cheddar while some are sweet and others are tangy. Cheese is known to have good calcium content but it also gets bad press because of its high fat content.

So is there anyone who should not be eating cheese? Cheese does not have to be avoided in anyone’s diet but it has to be eaten moderately and in some diets in very small quantities. The high saturated fat content is not good for anyone in the long run and can cause problems if you a person continually overindulges. In general, the following groups should  limit eating too much cheese or some types of cheese.

Pregnant Women

Pregnant women are advised to not eat cheese made with raw (unpasteurized) milk. During pregnancy it is best to avoid any food or drink made with raw milk. Raw milk and food can carry disease causing organisms. It is best to avoid soft cheeses such as Feta, Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola and Roquefort as they are made with raw milk. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat cheese made from pasteurized milk as it is less likely to carry harmful bacteria.

During A Period Of Dieting

Cheese is known to be the cause of weight gain when eaten in large quantities. If you are overweight and are on a diet plan, cheese should be eaten in very small proportions. Although it may be high in calcium, the high fat content of cheese will not benefit or help in losing weight. Cottage cheese is recommended instead as it is low in calories and fat. You can also enjoy Mozzarella in small amounts as it tends to have a lower fat content.

Anyone With A Dairy Allergy

Cheese is composed mainly of milk and anyone with a dairy allergy should try avoiding cheese if they can. If you are not careful, the consequences can be fatal. Although a mild case might present with vomiting, wheezing and nausea, most serious cases will lead to anaphylaxis and if not treated in time this can lead to death.

Lactose Intolerant Individuals

Lactose intolerance happens to be a digestive issue that is relatively common. In the condition, people struggle to digest lactose which is the sugar that is generally in milk and dairy. Some individuals still continue to eat cheese but in moderation and have no problems. Goat cheese is a substitute that is popular as it is low in lactose. Aged cheeses can also be eaten as the longer cheese ages, the less lactose it contains.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Kind Of Cheese Is the Best For A Gift?

There is something intriguing about cheese. Cheese is great to eat by itself or with any other food item as part of a main meal. It is good for your health as it contains calcium and with so many types available, you could eat a different cheese every day.  However, people have decreased the cheese consumption lately because of its expensive price. This is why cheese is a great delicacy as a gift nowadays. So, why not gift a loved one with a cheese basket for a special occasion? Cheese gift baskets are usually filled with more than one type of cheese along with a range of snacks such as crackers or biscuits. Many retailers have a variety of gift baskets pre- made to order or you have the option of creating your own basket. With so many types of cheese out there, what kind of cheese is the best for a gift? Here are a few you can choose from.

French Cheese

For the French, cheese is a way of life. They enjoy a lot of cheese and most importantly they are deeply connected and proud of the cheese they produce. France is known to produce some of the best cheese in the world and is an essential item in your cheese basket. Brie, Camembert and Roquefort are common French cheeses that are considered to be a delicacy and would be ideal as part of a gift.

Italian Cheeses

When we think of Italian cheeses, Mozzarella and Parmesan is the first thing that comes to mind. Most of us enjoy Mozzarella in our salads while Parmesan adds that extra touch to our pasta dishes. However, Italy is also known for its fine selection of more than 400 different types of cheeses. Commonly found in gift baskets and given as gifts are Parmesan, Asiago and Gorgonzola.

Swiss Cheese

The two most famous Swiss cheese are Emmentel and Gruyére but more than 450 different varieties are produced altogether. The main characteristic of this type of cheese is the high quality natural taste. In addition, Apenzeller is another type of cheese made in Switzerland that is found in gift boxes.

English Cheeses

Currently, there are over 700 cheeses produced in the UK. Divided into blue cheeses and others, there are many types to cheese from. The most popular cheese from all this is the classic cheddar cheese. Both mild and aged cheddar are enjoyed by many and is a classic addition to a cheese gift box. Blue cheese is also popular as an English cheese and of this Stilton and Dovedale are the popular choices.

Dutch Cheese

The Netherlands is known for the production of Gouda and Edam cheese. Both these are found all over the world and especially Gouda has made its name with it being a popular choice for buyers at cheese markets. Addition of a Dutch cheese to your gift box will give it uniqueness especially since Gouda cheese comes in a variety of different flavors such as smoked, that you can choose from.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How Can You Use Gouda In Cooking?

Everyone knows that there are many varieties of cheese available but one that is least frequently used in cooking is Gouda. That is because although this cheese is popular for cheese trays, many people do not realize quite how versatile it can be in cooking as well. Gouda cheese is originally from the Netherlands and is unique because of the exterior of bright red wax. It usually comes in a wheel ranging from 3 to 15 inches and the cheese itself is the color of straw. The taste is generally buttery and mild and the texture is cream but firm. Before determining how to cook with Gouda cheese, you need to know the age of it as different ages are best used in different ways.

Baby Gouda

You can distinguish baby Gouda because although its wax coating is red like older cheese, this is a much softer variety. Because of that it melts much quicker than ages of the same cheese. Because of its texture (semi-soft to firm) and mild nutty flavor, young Gouda is ideal for seasoning salads and on cheese trays. It also tastes great spread on certain fruits. If you want to actually cook with the cheese, it works well on casseroles because of its quick melting nature as well as its great flavor. You can also try to make some homemade macaroni and cheese using Gouda mixed with other cheeses.

Aged Gouda

Aged Gouda cheese is also coated in red wax but has a much more astringent flavor than baby Gouda. In addition to the astringent flavor, aged Gouda also gives off a hint of butterscotch. Because of this, it goes great in desserts that are based on apples or pears. For something a bit more creative, you can try adding it to a homemade pizza. A great combination would be a barbeque chicken pizza with both mozzarella and Gouda. You can also try swapping out your normal omelet cheese for Gouda if you want to give it some different flavor.

You can generally tell Gouda that has been smoked or flavored apart from plain Gouda as it will be wrapped in brown or black wax as opposed to red and may include caraway seeds. Some of the flavored options will include additions such as pepper, jalapenos and herbs. This type of Gouda has an intense flavor that makes it fairly versatile in terms of cooking. Like the other types it can do well with desserts, fruits and macaroni and cheese. Smoked Gouda is also great for making quiche as the flavor can add a great deal. Try pairing it with spinach for a delicious breakfast quiche. It can also be a great way to add a bit more flavor to your mashed potatoes.

RESOURCE BOX: To learn more about Gouda cheese as well as other types available, visit There you will also find more great recipe ideas to help you enjoy your Gouda in your cooking.

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