How to choose a good quality cheese in the supermarket

How to choose a good quality cheese in the supermarket

Cheese is one of the most loved and at the same time reviled foods. Either you love it or you can’t stand it, there is no middle ground. Whether due to its intense aroma or its particular texture, the truth is that the cheese does not leave you indifferent. Luckily, there are many types of cheese on the market suitable for all palates: surely one of them will make you fall in love. If not, then nothing happens. You can live perfectly without including cheese in your diet. Otherwise the people lactose intolerant They would be in serious trouble, right?

Indeed, there are many textures associated with cheese thanks to its enormous technological possibilities. There is life beyond cured cheese: sliced, grated, powdered or spreadable are also other well-known variants. But do you know what ingredients a good quality cheese should contain? Sometimes we tend to confuse some cheeses with each other whose nutritional composition varies significantly and does not allow us to achieve dairy glory.

Ingredients and cheese making

According to the regulations, cheese is that derived from milk that has been coagulated by the action of rennet or other ingredients. In this way, the basic ingredients of a cheese are: milk, lactic ferments, rennet and salt. In addition, the cheese has a draining process and elimination of the aqueous part that gives the usual organoleptic characteristics that are most recognizable in the cheese. But do you know what the difference is between fresh and matured cheese? Actually, both products share the same elaboration, only that at a certain point their paths separate.

While the fresh cheese finishes its elaboration in the pressing and salting stage, the cured cheese is followed by a maturation stage at controlled temperature and humidity where its protein and fat content is exposed to certain changes. Enzymatic changes take place related to the metabolism of lactose, fats and proteins that give the characteristic aromas of cured cheese.

Within cured cheese we distinguish different types depending on the maturation time to which the dairy piece is subjected:

  • Soft cheese: minimum maturation is 7 days.
  • semi-cured cheese: minimum maturation between 20-35 days.
  • cured cheese: minimum maturation between 45-105 days.
  • old cheese: minimum maturation between 100-180 days.
  • Old cheese: minimum maturation 270 days.
melted cheese pizza

That endless cheese you always see on pizza is melted cheese.

melted cheese mess

If you are a fan of pizzas and other processed foods of dubious nutritional quality, you have surely enjoyed this chewy cheese that can be stretched to infinity and beyond. You might also have a great time spreading a whitish cheese-scented batter on your morning toast. Do you know how you get that dreamy texture? Blame it on the melting salts such as phosphoric acid or phosphates: compounds that give the cheese that diffuse and inconsistent texture that comes from pearls to spread and spread in some specific preparations. Don’t worry, they are not dangerous to health. They are safe additives controlled by the authorities, but unfortunately they are added to foods whose nutritional quality leaves much to be desired.

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In this way, processed cheese is a product of lower nutritional quality, since it usually contains some added raw materials such as water, powdered milk, colorants and other additives used for their thickening, aromatic and preservative properties. It is not that they are bad in themselves, but that in the end they are subtracting presence to the original ingredients of the cheese. The only legal requirement that processed cheese must meet in this regard is to contain a minimum of 35% of its composition as dry extract, a quality parameter used in cheeses.

melted cheese spread

Cheese spread belongs to the category of “processed cheese”.

On the other hand, if the processed cheese has the denomination “to spread” or “to extend”, a dry extract percentage of even 30% can be accepted. As you can see, cheese has many cousins ​​and close relatives, but not all of them deserve to be called cheese. If you are looking for a good quality cheese, look at its sales denomination and ingredients. Only then will you ensure cheese success.

Cheese it seems, dairy substitute is

Even so, the melted cheese is not the worst bad of the film, since we can still get worse. Not only do we have fresh, cured and melted cheese, but we also find other edible things that look like cheese that are really substitutes. A cheese substitute always has a lower quality than a dry cheese, since it can have a long string of ingredientss that notably alter the original composition of the cheese. Some examples are starch, which serves as a filler to reduce the amount of cheese in the equation —as well as the price of the product— or margarine: a fat of poor nutritional quality that sometimes reaches insulting percentages in some imitation products. cheese.

This is the explanation behind some edible spawn shaped like a tranchete and other abominable geometries. For ordinary mortals these details may be unrelated, but Spanish legislation is very clear about what a cheese is and what it is not. This is how it is defined by the quality standard for cheeses and processed cheeses according to the Royal Decree 1113/2006.

grated cheese

Grated cheese can be of good or poor nutritional quality depending on its ingredients.

And what about sliced, grated and powdered cheese?

Be careful, because we must not confuse cheese substitutes with other formats of typical consumption such as grated cheese, powder or sliced ​​format. Can they be of poor quality? Yes, but only if they are substitutes. Actually the terms “sliced”, “grated” and “powdered” are only denominations that refer to the presentation format. In other words, some brands use good quality cheese that has been divided into thin slices or small pieces (grated or powdered) to facilitate its consumption and better adapt to some dishes.

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Therefore, there may be sliced, grated and powdered cheese both good and poor quality —such as the famous sandwich slices. Remember that to consider a good quality cheese it must contain the basic ingredients of cheese: milk, ferments, rennet and salt. So, now you know: check the ingredients and the sales denomination of each product very carefully. Don’t get it with cheese!

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