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Why Some Cheese Melt And Some Do Not

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    Why Some Cheese Melt And Some Do Not

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    Some cheeses melt beautifully for sandwiches and sauces, others don’t. Here’s why.

    As we discussed on page XXX when we discussed emulsions, fat and water don’t like each other, so a middleman, an emulsifier, is required to get them together. In cheese the middleman is casein proteins that forms a mesh for the fat and water to cling to.

    The meltiness of a cheese depends on how well the proteins do their job of holding the fat and water together and this is determined by two things, how the milk is coagulated into curds when the cheese is made, and the age of the cheese.
    Cheese is made by adding something to milk that gets the fat and water to clump and form curds. The curds are then aged. Curds are made from milk in two ways: (1) by adding acid such as citric acid, vinegar, or lactic acid or (2) by adding rennet, an enzyme from the stomach of a suckling calf.

    Acid-set cheesessuch as ricotta and cottage cheese don’t melt well because the acid messes up the proteins and the electrical charges that hold them together. As a result, the proteins tend to clump and bond together squeezing out water in the form of whey. As they are heated when you cook with them, they tend to break, the fat runs out and the proteins remain clumped.

    Rennet-set cheesessuch as cheddar, mozzarella, and brie contain proteins that have a looser grip on each other even though they feel solid when chilled or even at room temp. Most European cheeses are rennet-set. As they are heated the fats go from solid to liquid, the proteins become unbonded, the two mix, and the cheese flows.

    Age is also a factor. Young cheeses melt more readily. In older cheeses such as Romano, aged cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, there is less water and the bonds between proteins are stronger so that the fat melts before the proteins come apart causing it to "break".

    The standard melting cheese for things like grilled cheese sandwiches or cheeseburgers is American cheese, but young cheddar is also common. If you want to veer from the norm, go for other melty cheeses such as asiago, brie, camembert, ementhaler, fontina, gruyere, jack, jarlsberg, mozzarella, muenster, provolone, raclette, reblochon, Swiss, taleggio. For an accent, add a small amount of a hard cheese such as provalone, Parmigiano-Regianno, Peccorino Romano, Peccorino Toscano, or gjetost. They are all pretty reliable melters when young. Some cheeses, like gouda, melt well sometimes and other time, not so much. This is often a byproduct of how they are stored. Those coated in wax tend to have problems melting. It’s not the wax, it’s the nature of the cheese.

    #2
    The education never stops... Thanks Meathead .

    Comment


      #3
      My favorite melt resistant cheese is halloumi: the grilling cheese.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	IZ32a91Fgn5KV7pm82U0aP-5nx-hprp7QbXdLuiWpUA0OU4cXjlDynDHqTvS0WTZjSsmRRWspzncMnxngjJ78WcKNBzaGF-KNIYUr7WTJCPAHiSapfjprlcA2oPxN5x2eJ5n20bNPXo2tXRrdpgPSuad5XYksDegnUAU5d3kHi-tcf7Ad3fuXehgPNmuxU8gIHUhtvESp-ipmOyK0O0EAdaPc3XRTG0o1BKDpZy3e1icpQ50rvXohqit7yg4egb Views:	1 Size:	391.3 KB ID:	603903

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      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Rinds of Parm, is that similar to the Moons of Saturn ??

      • Karon Adams
        Karon Adams commented
        Editing a comment
        I love my Parm rinds in soup!

      • Attjack
        Attjack commented
        Editing a comment
        Karon Adams I usually throw them in my freezer bag for making stock.

      #4
      Today I learned...

      Comment


        #5
        Now I'm hungry! I have chaumes, landkäse, gruyère and I think some Fontal I picked up for the holidays but I have a feeling something won't make it past the weekend.......

        Comment


          #6
          Your knowledge never ceases to amaze! Thanks for the education!!!

          Comment


            #7
            WOW that's great,but invalid file

            Comment


            • Meathead
              Meathead commented
              Editing a comment
              Can you explain?

            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              In your original post, Meathead, there's an attached file named cheese-shop.jpg. You get an error message "invalid file" when you click on this attachment.

            #8
            Just checked off another educational moment, thanks for the insight MH !!!

            Comment


              #9
              One of my favorite melty cheeses is Raclette. I love all cheeses though, except swiss.

              Comment


                #10
                BUT, if you want to melt cheese or even make your own custom melty cheese for burgers or Mac and Cheese, there is a simple solution. ChefSteps has a great article on melty cheeses. I've been doing this for a long time.

                the traditional way to make cheese sauce is by enriching a bechamel. making a white roux with butter anf flour and some milk and then blending in your cheese. but, you always taste the flour and it it generally gummy and often doesn't reheat or remelt very will. I'm not a fan.

                but, the Melting Salts are the perfect answer.

                you have to play with different types of cheese but, it basically boils down to 2 parts cheese, one part milk, 3% (by weight) of Sodium Citrate and .2% Sodium Hexametaphospahte. both available at Amazon. heat, melt and mix. some with butter, some without. YMMV but they have some starters for you. I love using this for veg sauces, Mac & cheese and making my own melty slices fro grilled cheese. a home made grilled cheese with this and a bowl of home made tomato soup (Made with my Pressure cooked Chicken stock). it is one of my all time favorite kitchen Magic tricks. it will hide vegetables from any kid, make any burger the best ever and the casseroles for any pot luck the tastiest on the table. no one will believe how great you are.

                try blending cheeses for custom dishes and having different kinds of slices at your next burger grill out. when your neighbor wants a particular cheese and it comes on the meat all melty and gooey, you look like a magician! Share the secret or don't.

                Cheese is probably one of the best eats from the kitchen next to BBQ.

                Comment


                • Meathead
                  Meathead commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Well I just learned something!

                • Karon Adams
                  Karon Adams commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This is the way that Velveeta and "American Cheese" is made. both based on mild cheddars. they are processed with more milk and these melting salts. that is why they melt so perfectly. also why they have to be called "Processed Cheese Foods" rather than cheese.

                • Potkettleblack
                  Potkettleblack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If you're interested in one of my adventures in making processed cheese:
                  The Perfectly Melting Cheese Slice is an interesting concept. We want to take a real cheese (or two) with big flavor, that might not melt all that smoothly, treat it not entirely unlike the folks a…

                #11
                I have a theory that Cheese and wine were both probably discovered the same way.

                many thousands of years ago, someone milked a cow and put the milk in a bag made from a cow's stomach and carried it to the next town. when they arrived and unpacked, they found the milk was all lumpy and set it aside. some time later, they opened the bag and someone (either an errant child or a man) ate it. they liked it and didn't die. so, they kept trying to repeat the trick with varying degrees of success that eventually evolved into the various kinds of cheese.

                similarly, one day, someone had a surfeit of grapes they had gathered. since they couldn't eat all of them, they put them in a container and went trotting across the countryside. at the other end of the trip, they opened the grape jar and realized it was all juice and smelled funny. someone drank it. got a buzz, and didn't die. so, they went about recreating that.

                accidental discoveries that changed the world?

                I imagine soap came about accidentally, too. great big BBQ party one weekend. afterwords, it started raining and the ashes in the pit that were left over started foaming. something dropped in the foam came out cleaner than it went in. and wow! doing the dishes was born!

                I have strange ideas about prehistoric man.

                Comment


                • Corvus
                  Corvus commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good observation, reminds me of a story of two caveman setting on a rock, one says to the other "did you see what just came out of that chicken?" The other, why yes I did, I wonder what it tastes like." Same two guys, one says to the other, "See that mushroom over there, I wonder what it tastes like." The other responds, "No way, Fred ate one of those yesterday and he died."

                • Meathead
                  Meathead commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I suspect olives were a similar discovery. Right off the tree they are inedible. But a tree hanging over a cliff over the ocean might have dropped some olives into the ocean and they cured. Perhaps that was how cured meat came about too?

                • Karon Adams
                  Karon Adams commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've heard that idea before. perhaps something chased over a cliff and early man, well he wasn't going to give up his kill to the sea. so fished it out and cooked it anyway and realized it was MUCH more tasty from the salt water.. probably all of human history is built of accidents

                #12
                Real deal fontina de val d'aosta is the greatest melting cheese there is. Melts like a champ, flavor for the gods... hard to get. Brought back a kilo and a quarter from a small processor in Cogne last year, and lived for that. Makes an amazing grilled cheese on homemade sourdough.

                Comment


                • Karon Adams
                  Karon Adams commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Color me jealous! I love cheese. sadly, that is one of the privations here in ChattaVegas. however, a Cheesemonger recently opened, so I look forward to more sampling and new discoveries.

                • Potkettleblack
                  Potkettleblack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good luck with it. The real fontina has a brown rind. The danish stuff is red rinded and not the same deal.

                #13
                Originally posted by Huskee View Post
                One of my favorite melty cheeses is Raclette. I love all cheeses though, except swiss.
                But they're neutral.

                Comment


                • Mr. Bones
                  Mr. Bones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  LOL!
                  Nice new avatar, Brother! Ya look happy as can be!

                • Attjack
                  Attjack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It's a good life for a dog like me.

                #14
                Thanx for the education.

                Comment


                  #15
                  No mention on how someone can "squeeze the cheese" therefore total letdown.

                  Love my cheese in a can.

                  Comment

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