Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Can You Make Mozzarella At Home?

Some people who really love cheese want to be able to have fresh mozzarella whenever they choose but this is a problem if you don’t want to have to go to the store or wait for your cheese to arrive in the mail. That is why many people are starting to learn how to make mozzarella using mozzarella stretching curd. Although it sounds as if it should be a complicated process, it is actually fairly simple. If you have the right supplies you can make the cheese fairly quickly and don’t need much room either, so even if you have a small apartment you have this option.


If you want to make mozzarella at home, the best way to do so is to buy some mozzarella stretching curd, which you can get from most reputable cheese retailers. This curd is the main ingredient in the process and makes it incredibly easy. Other than that, you just need a large stainless steel bowl, a knife or spoon, water and ice. It can also help to have a thermometer on hand and you may want to wear gloves as the process can sometimes be a bit messier than some people like.

Stretching The Mozzarella

Once you have all of your supplies, you can start the process of actually stretching your mozzarella which is what it is called when you make fresh mozzarella out of stretching curd. To start, place your mozzarella stretching curd in your large mixing bowl and then use a knife of spoon to break it up into smaller pieces. Take some water and heat it up so it’s about 140 or 150 degrees Fahrenheit and add this to your curd (this is where the thermometer may be helpful).

Leave the stretching curd in the hot water for a few minutes so it softens enough to start reforming into a clump. At this point you should use your knife or spoon to help the curd clump back together. Once the water has cooled down a bit and the curd is in one piece, you are ready to stretch your mozzarella. If you want to protect your hands from the heat, put on a pair of rubber gloves first. Then gently pull the stretching curd apart and then let its own weight pull it back downward. You should keep doing this until your cheese develops a smooth surface and then put the mozzarella in ice water for five or ten minutes to cool. You can either eat your fresh mozzarella right away or store it for later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Can You Use All Of Your Senses When Tasting Cheese?

If you are new to the world of cheese, then it may seem like a daunting task at first to know what to look for when you are tasting a new kind. Whether you simply want to evaluate the new cheeses you try or host a cheese tasting party, it is important to use (almost) all of your senses in your evaluation.


The very first sense you should use when looking at a cheese is the sense of sight. Look at the color, specifically that of the rind to see if it is uniform. Pay attention to whether the surface is smooth or cracked and you should do this for the rind as well as the cheese itself. Some types of cheese, such as aged cheddar, will sometimes develop crystals so look for these as well.


Next you will use your sense of touch to evaluate the cheese. Try to see if the cheese is smooth or rough and then pay attention to the amount of moisture it has. Some cheeses will be very dry while others are very moist, such as fresh mozzarella. Next you should think about how elastic and spreadable the cheese is. After you take a taste of the cheese, you should take a moment and evaluate it again this time using the sense of touch within your mouth.


After you look at and touch the cheese, you should take a whiff to see how it smells. If the cheese has a rind, pay close attention to whether the rind and cheese smell different. Every cheese is different so you may not know exactly how to describe it. Some common smells that you may notice are: nutty, spicy, meat, leather, animal, chocolate, caramel, garlic, yogurt, mold, fresh butter and boiled milk.


After you have used every other sense (except of course hearing which doesn’t apply), it is time to taste the cheese. You want to pay close attention to your first impressions and during this process try to use some of the same adjectives you did when thinking about the smell of the cheese. After you have put the cheese in your mouth, wait until you finish eating it to finish evaluating. Some cheeses will change flavors as you eat them or have a different aftertaste and this is an important thing to appreciate. You should also try to pay attention to whether the cheese tasted like its smell implied it would as sometimes they will, but sometimes they won’t.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can You Eat Cheese While Pregnant?

Some pregnant women hear that they shouldn’t be eating cheese during their pregnancy as it can cause a risk. The reality is that most of the time, it is completely fine to eat cheese even if you are pregnant, but you do need to be aware of some things to make sure that you stay safe. If you are cautious, neither you nor your baby will be at risk and you can use cheese as one of your sources of calcium. Here are the important things to keep in mind.


The reason that some experts caution against eating cheese during pregnancy is that all cheese contains bacteria and while most cheeses have negligible amounts or only healthy bacteria, some other types will contain a certain one known as listeria. Listeria could make you have flu-like symptoms and potentially harm your baby, but the good news is that it is incredibly rare so your chances of getting it are slim. Despite this, it is best to avoid eating soft, mold-ripened cheeses while you are pregnant.

Cook Thoroughly

Although you should do your best to avoid eating soft, mold-ripened cheeses or blue-veined cheeses (which have an even lower risk of leading to listeria than the already low risk associated with the former cheese), you can eat either of these types if you cook them first. That is because it will kill the bacteria, but if you do this, make sure to completely cook the cheese instead of simply melting it.

Completely Safe Cheeses

If you are a cheese lover like most people, the good news is that soft, mold-ripened cheeses and blue-veined cheeses are the only types that you have to be worried about. Hard cheeses are safe even if they were made using unpasteurized milk. This means that you never have to worry about eating cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda, provolone, parmesan and other hard cheeses. You could also have any soft cheese that is pasteurized and made using pasteurized milk.


One cheese that some women are concerned about because it is hard to fit into one of the above categories
is mozzarella but the good news is that you can have it in moderation during pregnancy without any worries. Even better, eating mozzarella can help increase your consumption of protein as well as calcium which will promote the healthy development of your baby. In fact, this is true of any other of the safe cheeses, such as cheddar, as well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are There Different Types Of Cheddar Cheese?

When you are in the market for cheddar cheese, almost everyone knows that there are several different choices available. While if you go to your local grocery store you may only see options such as mild, sharp and extra sharp, shopping at a cheese retailer will give you a wider variety of options. There are plenty of cheddar options available including varying levels of sharpness, color and even additional flavors. Here are just some of the different types of cheddar cheese that you will find.


The most important difference that you can see is different ages of cheddar cheese and this is related to sharpness. That is because as cheese ages, it becomes sharper as the flavors become stronger. Most of the time the oldest cheese that you will find, even sold by specialty retailers is around 5 years old. That is because mild cheddar is usually aged for only two or three months. Sharp cheddar cheese, on the other hand is aged for a bit longer, usually around a year in total. If you see extra sharp cheddar either in your local store or from a specialty retailer, this is usually aged for around eighteen months. If you don’t have a specialty cheese seller that you go to, you will probably have to buy extra sharp cheddar and age it if you want something older. You can, however, find premium cheeses that are up to five years old. Some sellers will even have seven year old cheddar cheese.


Sometimes you want a bit of extra flavor in your cheese and although adding flavor to cheddar isn’t as common as it is with other types of cheeses, such as goat cheese, it is possible to find flavored cheddar, mostly from specialty cheese sellers. The simplest added flavor is when cheddar is maple smoked during the production or aging process to add a little extra flavor. You can also occasionally find other choices such as jalapeno cheddar.

White Or Yellow

If you aren’t familiar with cheeses, then you may be confused as to whether you want to buy white cheddar or yellow cheddar. The truth is that they are the same exact cheese. Cheese will naturally vary in color based on what time of the year the cow’s milk comes from and when a cow’s diet has less beta-carotene, the cheese will be whiter. When cheddar was still new, people liked the flavor of yellow cheddar better so manufacturers started adding a bit of dye to make sure the cheese was yellow. The dye is all natural but its presence can mean that the cheddar will definitely be yellow; otherwise it depends on when the milk was produced.

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