Friday, June 28, 2013

What Makes Artisan Cheese Different?

Artisan cheese is the cheese that is made by some of the most skilled cheese makers by hand. Because of the complexity of the making process the taste and variety can change. Many of the cheese makers will age and ripen the cheese to get a certain look. That is one of the main differences between artisan cheese and the mass produced cheese sold in mass scale. When a cheese is made in a large scale operation they are usually sold without much wait. There are many different types of artisan cheese being made and some of those include Burrata, Abondance, Vieux-boulogne, Dragon’s breath blue, Oka cheese, Picodon, Scamorza, aged cheddars, aged Swiss and fresh Mozzarella.  In order to make artisan cheese you will need either cow’s milk, sheep’s milk or goat milk though other types of milk are also used but to a lesser extent.

Humidity And Temperature

Most cheese that you make by hand will require high humidity and temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit in order to age properly. Artisan cheese used to be made by leaving the cheese in caves as the humidity would be perfect there but because you will not be using a cave (hopefully) you could also look at your cellar as an option as cellars are usually somewhere between 40 and 55 degrees. Humidity needs to be controlled at all times and adjusted when necessary. The ranges of temperature as well as humidity are different for different types of cheese so you may need to stick to the same types of artisan cheese when making it at home.

Air Circulation

Besides having temperature and humidity under control you also need good air circulation in order to have successful artisan cheese. Low air flow is usually accepted as a good environment for most artisan cheese. If the location is too breezy the cheese can dry out too quickly and that can mean negative results as a cheese maker. Low air circulation will help you getting rinds of firm cheese. A few days or even a few weeks are necessary to complete the process. As you can see the making of artisan cheese is different to that of other manufactured cheeses. In some cases it may be difficult to make at home but that is what makes artisan cheese special.

Recipe: Gouda And Mozzarella Cheese With Shaved Vegetable Salad


1 trimmed fennel bulb
2 celery stalks
1 cup yellow and pale green celery leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heads Belgian endive
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 oz. rounds Gouda
4 oz. round Mozzarella


Slice endive, fennel bulb and celery stalks thinly with a v-slicer, sharp knife or mandolin. Mix the sliced vegetables with the celery leaves in a medium sized bowl. Add only 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice tossing to coat the salad. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Cut cheese rounds into 6 pieces and divide among the plates. Drizzle last tablespoon of olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle ground black pepper.

Monday, June 24, 2013

What Are The Different Kinds Of Mozzarella?

If you like pizzas, then you probably love Mozzarella cheese. Though pizza can be made with several different types of cheese, mozzarella is the most popular one. The flavor of mozzarella cheese is not as salty and it does not overpower any of the other toppings. The consistency after you bake it is also a big part of the reason people love it on pizza. If you did not know how great mozzarella is on pizza then just order a Margherita pizza where only three ingredients are used which are mozzarella, tomato and basil. That is the perfect combination that brings out the importance of mozzarella cheese on pizza. There are several varieties of mozzarella cheese which are made today so the grated kind that you get at your local supermarket though popular, is not nearly the best.

High Moisture

High moisture mozzarella cheese is what people in the industry refer to mostly in terms of ‘fresh mozzarella.’ There are two types of milk which can be used for this type of mozzarella cheese and that is cow’s milk (fior di latte) and the mozzarella made from water buffalo milk (which is called mozzarella di bufala). In the United States the milk is pasteurized but in Italy it can be either or. The water buffalo was brought to Italy back in the 16th century from India. Though the milk is not very well digested, the cheese is sweet, creamy and lily white. The type of mozzarella that is made from water buffalo is much more expensive than that made of cow’s milk.

Burrata Cheese

If you want something truly special then look for burrata cheese. It can be difficult to find.  In fact you are likely to only find it at the specialty sites or some Italian food stores. Though burrata has been in Italy for years it is only making its way to the United States now. Burrata is mozzarella in a hard ball with a heavy cream center. When you cut it the heavy cream combines with the cheese. Use it with wild mushrooms, pancetta or caramelized onions to get an amazing combination.
Smoked mozzarella or affumicata will add even more flavor. Next time that you want to make your own pizza, make sure you try other types of mozzarella to give your food a whole new flavor.
Recipe: Pesto Cheesy Chicken Rolls


4 skinless boneless breast of chicken (halved; pound to a quarter inch thickness)
Cup prepared basil pesto
4 slices of mozzarella cheese (thick)


Pesto cheesy chicken rolls are a very simple dish which everyone in your family will enjoy.
First preheat your oven to 350 ̊ and spray baking dish using cooking spray. Use anywhere between 2 and 3 tbsps. of pesto sauce on the flattened breasts.  Add the slice of cheese over the spread pesto and roll up tightly securing the breast by using toothpicks. Place the chicken breasts on the baking dish and bake for 50 minutes uncovered in the oven. Chicken will be brown and its juices should run clear.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How Is Swiss Cheese Made?

One of the most popular choices when it comes to cheese in the United States is Swiss cheese. If you ever wondered how it is made then here you will find the answer. In modern times making cheese involves industrial machinery instead of the traditional method. The first thing that a cheese maker has to pay attention to is the temperature setting before they start making the cheese. The milk should be checked for both fat content and freshness. The milk is then strained and placed into a vat at 90 degrees. The milk is strained several more times. Once it reaches 90 degrees rennet and lactic acid are added. The mixture is left alone until milk curdles and then becomes something like a custard texture. The whole process takes about 40 minutes.


The mixture is cut into small pieces with a cheese harp. The water, also called whey is then taken away from the desired curds and heated at about 125 degrees which will also take out any leftover whey. Cheese is then pressed for close to 20 hours by a hydraulic operated press and then placed in a vat with brine in it for 48 hours. Any salt that is in the brine will be absorbed in the cheese making process and rinds are formed. Rinds are then placed in a cellar at 55 degrees for 20 days and then moved to a 70 degree cellar which causes the cheese to sweat and turn. Once fermentation has taken place the cheese is cleaned and moved to a final cellar where the cheese will mature and that process takes 3 whole months.

What About The Holes?

The one thing that people recognize about Swiss cheese instantly is the holes but you may be wondering how the holes are made. The holes are actually a result of the cheese making process. Pockets are created from the bacteria which are used during this process. Those pockets are the ones that create the holes that you are familiar with when you think of Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese is popular due to its nutritional value as well as its flavor. There is a very small amount of calories in a slice and it is a great source of protein. Other nutrients within Swiss cheese include phosphorus, calcium and vitamin B12.
Recipe: Vidalia Onion Dip


3 cups of Vidalia onions (chopped)
3 cups of Swiss cheese (shredded)
2 ½ cups of mayonnaise
Dash garlic salt


The Vidalia onion dip is one of the easiest dips to make and it is great to serve before watching the game or when you get together with family and friends.
First preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will need to mix all the ingredients well and pour into a baking dish that has been previously greased. Bake the mix at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until you see the top take a lightly brown color. Take out and serve hot with tortilla chips.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Short Video on Stretching Fresh Mozzarella Curd Cheese

Can Too Much Cheese Make You Sick?

We all enjoy cheese as part of a healthy meal or snack. With so many varieties available at local supermarkets and delis, there is a cheese out there for almost everyone. The cheese manufacturing industry is thriving across the globe and each cheese has its origin. Mozzarella from Italy, Cheddar from England, Swiss cheese from Switzerland and others have all made a mark on the world map and can be enjoyed with some good wine, as part of a dessert platter or as a simple snack. Each variety of cheese can also be found in different varieties such as hard or soft, tangy or mellow and creamy or ripe. Some such as aged cheddar have a sharper taste while others like Gouda have a sweeter taste. Cheese is known to have good calcium content but it also gets bad press because of its high fat content.

So can cheese in large amounts make you sick? If you do consume too much, you may find discomfort to your body. You may even need medication to ease the discomfort in your stomach. You will also notice other changes to your body in the long term with eating too much cheese.

Weight Gain

Cheese is known to contain a high content of calories and saturated fats which are directly responsible for the bad cholesterol eventually building up and blocking the arteries. Both these contribute to weight gain. For instance 1 oz. of cheddar cheese contains 114kcal and 9.4 grams of fat. An ounce might seem like a bite size but the more bite sizes you keep taking; the more fat you are taking in. It is also believed that the weight gained from saturated fats is the hardest type to lose.

Interferes With The Natural System

In addition high consumption of cheese triggers migraine attacks and arthritis flares. Some studies have shown fatty cheese to correlate to half of rheumatoid arthritis cases. Excess consumption of cheese also has been reported to cause problems with absorption of vitamin D because too much calcium can make Vitamin D activation difficult. This increases the risk for prostate cancer.

Lactose Intolerance

If you are lactose intolerant, consuming too much cheese can cause abdominal gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea and nausea. Frequent diarrhea can then leave you dehydrated. Most cheeses contain lactose but there are other types such as goat’s cheese you can consume. This should however be done in moderation.


Indigestion is a pain or burning in the upper abdomen and a feeling of uncomfortable fullness.  Eating foods with a high fat content (most cheese is high in fat) can stimulate indigestion. Treatments for indigestion include eating smaller, low-fat meals (or low fat cheese) more frequently and you will have to control consumption of carbonated drinks.

Allergy To Milk

If you suffer from milk allergy, eating too much cheese will trigger an allergic reaction. You will suffer from wheezing and have digestion problems. More serious cases involve having hives and anaphylactic shock.
In general a person can truly enjoy their sharp cheddar or aged Swiss to the extent they would like and without any problems. If a health issue arises it’s best to start looking to other cheeses and preferably those which are low in fat or aged.

How To Use Cheese To Spice Up Your Food

With all of the many varieties of cheeses available, it is easy to add cheese to any dish to take it from ordinary to unforgettable. From simple dishes like scrambled eggs or hash browns, to complex dishes incorporating fine technique, such as a soufflé, cheese makes everything better. Even with dishes that already have cheese as a primary ingredient, like macaroni and cheese, experiment with a smoked or flavored cheese to spice it up.


To spice up an ordinary burger, try adding some crumbled feta cheese to your burger mixture before cooking. The cheese will add moisture to the burger, and give it a great flavor. You can also try adding some bleu cheese, such as Roquefort or Stilton, to the middle of your burger or use it as a topping. The intensity of the bleu cheese is delicious with a rich, meaty burger, and you won’t even need any condiments to make this burger special. Another great cheese is a smoked Gouda for a different flavor.


Quesadillas are a natural showcase for fresh vegetables, grilled meats, and delicious cheeses. A quesadilla consists of cheese fried between two tortilla shells. For an authentic Mexican dish, use some Queso Oaxaca, a delicious cheese that can stand alone. You could also use some spicy pepper jack cheese or even jalapeno cheddar for a cheesy, delicious treat. Grilled shrimp or chicken or beef strips add to the goodness, and grilled peppers and onions combined with your choice of meat and cheeses make this a versatile dish.

Spicy Grilled Cheese

For a homey grilled cheese sandwich with a kick, add some green chilies to your cheddar cheese before making your sandwich. For extra kick, use spicy jalapeno cheddar. For a milder version, add some sliced tomato to cut down on the bite of the chilies.

Gourmet Grilled Cheeses

A grilled cheese sandwich can be boosted to a higher level by adding gourmet ingredients. Try adding some gruyere, provolone or Gouda to toasted brioche for a delicious, melted gourmet treat. For a hearty gourmet grilled cheese sandwich, add some thinly sliced granny smith apple, a couple slices of smoked bacon, and Gouda or Swiss cheese to some thick, rustic bread. Alternatively, you can try a caprese style grilled cheese by adding mozzarella, fresh basil, ripe tomato slices, and a drizzle of olive oil to a thick, Italian bread.

To spice up potato soup, add some cheddar, Swiss, or pepper jack cheese. Traditional chowder gets spiced up with the addition of grated cheddar cheese. Adding cheddar cheese to tomato soup also takes the flavor to a new level. Chicken soup is a traditional favorite, but with the addition of cheddar, it takes on a great flavor. Spice your chicken soup up by adding chorizo sausage and pepper jack cheese.


For a twist on a traditional fall pie, add some goat cheese to your pumpkin puree, along with some garlic, onion, and sage for a savory pumpkin pie. Cheese dishes don’t have to be savory; cheese pairs well with sweet ingredients also. The classic American apple pie becomes a gourmet dessert with the addition of cheddar cheese under the top crust.

How Is Gorgonzola And Blue Cheese Different

Blue cheese is delicious but when you look at gorgonzola and blue cheese you may be wondering what the difference is. First you have to understand that the term blue cheese is given to several different types of cheese which include cows’, goats’ or sheep’s milk based cheeses which are made with a Penicillium mold. Gorgonzola is one of those cheeses so it is not so much the blue cheese and gorgonzola are different but rather that gorgonzola is a particular type of blue cheese.

This is similar to the effect that Sharp Cheddar is still a cheddar cheese just as aged Swiss is still a Swiss cheese.  It is also worth noting how blue cheese came to be. Its origins date to some centuries ago while gorgonzola only goes back to the 11th century. The name gorgonzola comes from an Italian town where it was first created.

Blue Cheese

If you go to a cheese specialty store you will find that there are many types of blue cheese and the flavor depends on the manufacturing of the cheese itself. There are flavors that can be called pungent and some which are mild. Textures can also vary like for example Montbriac is made of cow’s milk and it is one of the French varieties. The texture is very close to that of Brie. One of the best varieties of blue cheese is Roquefort which is also a French type of blue cheese but it is made out of sheep’s milk. If you wanted a mild type of blue cheese then Stilton comes from Britain and will give you that mild taste you are looking for but make sure not to eat the rind.


Gorgonzola has a pale yellow color with some streaks of green-blue which run through it. The varieties that are still produced in the country of Italy are milder and creamier than the ones produced across the ocean in the United States. The two most popular varieties of gorgonzola are naturale and dulce. Dulce has a sweet taste because of its shorter aging time. Naturale should be aged for a minimum of 6 months which gives it a strong, sharp and pungent flavor. Gorgonzola should be served at room temperature for optimal flavor. While it is possible to freeze gorgonzola, doing so can affect the texture making it mostly good for salads.
Just as with Mozzarella, Swiss or Gouda, you can use Blue or Gorgonzola in a wide range of dishes. Take the following example:
Recipe: Baked Potato Skins With Gorgonzola And Rocket

12 small potatoes
2 handfuls wild rocket (washed and dried)
150 grams of gorgonzola cheese (chopped)
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Optional: chopped mustard fruit in its syrup


First preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit or 200 Celsius. Get a little olive oil on each potato and place the potatoes in a baking dish. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour until they are tender and golden. Let them cool until you can handle them and leave the oven on. Half the baked potatoes and use a teaspoon to scoop the middle of the potato into a bowl. Make sure to leave some of the potato on the edges to keep shape. Mash the potato using a fork. Chop half of the rocket and add to the potato along with the gorgonzola. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix. Spoon the mix into a potato skin. Place on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. The cheese should melt. Serve with the rest of the rocket and a little olive oil. Add mustard fruit if you would like.

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