Category Archives: Serving Cheese

What’s the Best Cheese for Melting?

Hot melting cheese is the ultimate comfort food. What can be more satisfying than a piping hot cheese toasty? We know that the café and fast food chain toasties are made with processed cheese. Great for melting, not so good for you!

So for those looking to use non-processed cheese in their next homemade cheese toasties (or lasagne, fondue or quesadillas), or any other recipe for that matter, we break down the best way to melt cheese and look at some of the best cheese for melting.

Choosing the best cheese for melting means looking at the moisture content of the cheese
Choosing the best cheese for melting means looking at the moisture content of the cheese

Best Cheese for Melting

Gruyere

Our ultimate favourite and best cheese for melting is Gruyere. Made with raw milk from cows grazing on the hills in Western Switzerland. It displays a wonderfully smooth texture when heated (providing you melt it right!).

Taleggio

Taleggio is a washed rind cheese, so emanates a serious aroma! Serious cheese addicts will love a bit of Taleggio melted onto toasted sourdough and topped with a fruity chutney. Certainly a contender for the very best cheese for melting amongst cheese lovers. Delicious!

Fontina

The queen of melted cheese. Buttery and slightly fruity. Remember to remove the rind when melting this cheese.

Young Gouda

Young Gouda melts brilliantly, mainly due to the fact that warm water replaces the whey during the production of this cheese. This lowers the acidity content, giving it a sweeter flavour.

Other good melting cheeses include Comte, Emmental, Asiago and Reblochon.

 

What Makes a Cheese Good for Melting?

 

Why are any of the above cheeses, the best cheese for melting? The simple answer to this question is: A combination of age and moisture!

Cheese is made from protein, fats, salt and water (and any other added flavourings like herbs and spices). These vary in quantity depending on the type of cheese. The fats and proteins are held in place by a protein matrix. This gives the cheese its solid texture.

When you heat cheese you are softening the protein matrix, the protein itself and the fat. Depending on the cheese in question, this produces some pliability of varying degrees. When heated to a high enough temperature, the protein matrix will collapse, releasing the protein and fat and causing the cheese to melt.

The moisture content of the cheese will largely determine how it melts. The longer a cheese ages, the less water it has. Some aged parmesan can carry a water content of just 30% or less, compared with fresh cheese which has a water content of up to 80%.

Low moisture = harder, more crumbly cheese (like cheddar). Firmer cheese requires a high heat to melt it because the protein bonds that hold together the fat and protein have a tighter formation and are therefore harder to breakdown.

High moisture = softer, more pliable cheese. Softer cheese (like feta) is much easier to melt because of the higher moisture content. Even in a large chunk, a higher moisture cheese like Fontina will melt better than a large chunk of parmesan.

The salt content also influences how well a cheese melts. Larger quantities of salt will draw more moisture out of the cheese, producing a drier, firmer cheese.

 

Tips for Melting Cheese

 

The last thing you want when melting cheese is to be left with a thick, stringy or grainy mess that has separated and left you with a layer of liquid oil on top. Here are our tips to try and avoid this.

  1. Only use the cheese that is suggested in the recipe: Usually we embrace recipe tweaks (to suit our tastes and what is in the cupboard!) However with cheese that requires melting we would always suggest sticking to the recipe! For example, if your recipe says to use gruyere, you simply cannot substitute this for that chunk of feta at the back of the fridge or some mozzarella. You will not get the same result! There are over a thousand different cheeses, each one made slightly differently from the other and therefore each one melts differently.
  2. Grate your cheese: Sounds obvious but if you are attempting to melt a firm cheese, ensure you grate it instead of chopping into cubes.
  3. Add some lemon juice or white wine: You can add a little lemon juice or white wine to a cheese to help achieve a smooth melt. This is because of the acid content (or alcohol content in the case of the white wine) in these foods which helps to break down the cheese proteins.
  4. Add Cornstartch to melting cheese: Adding Cornstartch to the cheese will act as an anti-clumping agent, giving you a smoother finish.

Which cheese do you believe is the best cheese for melting?

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

Try Our Cheese TodayTry Our Cheese Today! Fancy having a look around our shop?  Visit here www.thecheesemarket.co.uk to view our scrumptious cheese

How to Eat Cheese

There are over 700 different types of cheeses produced in the UK alone. Each one has its own unique texture and flavour. Don’t know where to start when it comes to how to eat cheese and how best to serve it too? It is pretty simple once you nail a few key principles. Here is some quick advice on how to serve & eat cheese.

 

A quick guide to how to eat cheeses
A quick guide to how to eat cheese – including how to serve it and use cheese in recipes

Serve Cheese at Room Temperature

To fully experience and enjoy the true flavour of cheese, it should be served at room temperature. This means getting it out at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

Soft cheese especially should be served and eaten at room temperature. This includes cheeses like Camembert style as well as Brie and soft washed rind cheeses.

In mild weather, it is common in France to keep this style of cheese under a glass dome on the table so that everyone can dip into it over the course of a few days. That sounds like heaven to us!

 

How to Eat Cheese on a Cheese Board

One of the simplest ways to eat cheese is to serve it on a cheese board alongside a couple of other different cheeses as well as some crackers and a chutney. It is becoming very trendy to serve figs and other soft fruit alongside cheese on a cheese board as the sweetness in the fruit pairs extremely well with the sharpness of cheese. Honey is another new cheeseboard staple.

You can’t go wrong with a cheese board if you serve the following:

  1. A good vintage matured cheddar
  2. A blue cheese
  3. A soft goats log with an interesting history or flavour (i.e the Dorstone ash covered goat cheese or the rosary garlic and herb goat cheese)
  4. A gooey soft cheese like a brie or camembert style
  5. Some simple crackers or savoury biscuits
  6. A chutney
  7. A few walnuts, figs or grapes
This goats cheese will give your cheese board real wow factor
This soft British goats cheese will give your cheese board real wow factor

 

To really go all out, add in a ewes milk (sheeps milk) cheese too, to really impress your guests. Try to buy British – it saves on food miles and helps support and showcase our home grown producers. Britain has some of the best cheeses in the world AND plenty of variety so there really is no excuse not to.

Now you are more clued up on how to eat cheese, if you can influence your guests to try the mildest flavoured cheeses first and then work their way up, this will ensure any subtle flavours in the mild cheeses aren’t missed because of the overwhelming taste of strong cheese eaten just before.

Try to provide a different cheese knife or cheese wire for each cheese. I know this adds more washing up but it is essential – some of your guests may not like all the cheeses on your cheese board and will be unhappy if their chunk of soft goats log is contaminated with a bit of blue cheese!

 

Adding Cheese to Everyday Recipes

Even a small amount of good cheese can transform the flavour of a dish. A few shavings of parmesan for example, can really bring a simple tomato pasta dish to life! Cheese can be the centre of a dish too – dishes like baked Halloumi salads or cauliflower cheese are perfect examples of this. There are literally thousands of dishes that contain cheese, so choose your favourite cheese and get searching!

If you have some cheese leftover in the fridge and are wondering how to eat cheese in a recipe, you can follow these basic principles:

  1.  Halloumi is filling and has a savoury, salty, almost meaty texture which makes it an excellent substitute for meat and great for vegetarians (providing a vegetarian rennet was used). It can be fried, grilled, baked or cooked on a BBQ.
  2. Hard cheeses like parmesan and vintage matured cheddar have a very strong flavour and hard texture, so are perfect for grating into dishes. As the flavour is so strong, you often only need a little bit of this type of cheese, making it an economical choice too.
  3. Semi-Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert are perfect baked in the oven until gooey and melting so that you can dip into it with crusty bread.
  4. Soft or fresh cheeses like feta and mozzarella can be used in salads or sprinkled on top of a pizza in the last 5 minutes of cooking. These cheeses will soften with heat but still retain some texture.
Halloumi is great for vegetarian dishes and is very versatile
Halloumi is great for vegetarian dishes and is very versatile

Should I Eat the Rind of the Cheese?

It is almost always ok (delicious even!) to eat the rind of a soft cheese like a brie or camembert style. If you buy your cheese from a local cheese monger or an online cheese shop they will be able to confirm that you can eat the rind of the cheeses you choose.

The cheese rinds which you should generally avoid eating are hard cheeses like cheddar, gruyere and parmesan. You can simply slice off the rind to remove and go ahead and enjoy the remaining cheese.

 

How to Eat Cheese + Biscuits for Lunch

We all know that cheese and crackers are a party food staple. They are easy to eat with one hand and super simple to prepare. However, with a couple of clever additions, you can make cheese and crackers into a dreamy lunch. How? Just add the following into your lunchbox:

  1. 2 different good quality cheeses of choice (we would suggest this vintage Lancashire cheese and this soft goat cheese as a good starting place!)
  2. Add a small handful of good quality crackers for cheese.
  3. Pop in a small pot of chutney
  4. Add a small handful of grapes
  5. Finish with some salad leaves and a couple of thinly sliced raw veggies (like carrots and celery) to get your greens in

 

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

 

Try Our Cheese TodayTry Our Cheese Today! Fancy having a look around our shop?  Visit here www.thecheesemarket.co.uk to view our scrumptious cheeses