Grabbing those bags of shredded cheese at the grocery store is very convenient. I still do buy shredded cheese sometimes, but I am trying to quit doing it and go to always shredding or grating my own cheese. Why? Taste is my biggest reason.
When you buy shredded cheese there are additives. Primarily cellulose which is a natural ingredient and it is used to prevent the shredded cheese from clumping together. Some people get upset at that cellulose is normally made from trees, but that is not what bothers me. It is the fact that it does change the texture, and taste to me, of the cheese.
If you have grated cheese yourself, especially something like cheddar, you surely noticed that the cheese was much moister than what you get in a bag. Have you taken a nibble of that freshly grated cheese? We all do it and it is easy to taste the difference. Think about when you may have gotten a salad that has grated cheese at a restaurant. Is there one place where the cheese just seems moister and better? Chances are they are grating the cheese freshly.
Another problem with buying the pre-shredded cheese is that it does not melt as easily as freshly grated cheese. I actually have found that some brands are harder to melt than others even. It is the ingredients used to keep the cheese from caking together that actually make it harder to melt. If you are not going to switch over to freshly grating your own cheese all the time, I really suggest you at least try to make the switch for any recipe that you want the cheese to melt in.
Parmesan cheese is a special case for us. I buy both wedges of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and I buy the Kraft Parmesan Cheese in the green can. Most of us grew up with the green can and for me, on the regular easy spaghetti dinners the green can is the flavor and texture I want. However, for most of my other recipes I opt to grate the wedge of cheese instead for a much different flavor. When I post recipes here on my blog I try to make sure to tell you if you can use the green can or need the real deal for that particular recipe. Buying a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano may seem expensive, but the different in taste is worth it and it lasts a very long time in your refrigerator since it is a hard cheese.
Do you buy your cheese already grated or shredded or do you do it yourself?
© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.