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Oct 12, 2010 03:44 AM

Grated cheese

Grated cheese is amazing. People often wonder why it tastes better than non-grated cheese, but I think it has to be down to surface area (and to a lesser extent mouthfeel).

The reason you grate cheese to make a cheese sauce (roux > bechemal > cheese sauce) is because it helps it to melt quicker. So it stands to reason, not only should the cheese melt in your mouth quicker, but the surface area means more cheese-tastebud contact.

And lastly, it's easy to put in sandwiches, gut grab it and drop it in.

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  1. Eh?

    People think it tastes better than non-grated?

    4 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        I was in a meeting today with about 30 people. I asked the group if anyone had ever considered that cheese tastes better when it is grated. No one said they'd ever given it any thought.

        1. re: tommy

          Wow, that's really interesting. Thanks for your input.

          1. re: Soop

            I think some of your sarcasm just oozed onto my desktop ;)

      2. It has its place. But I don't think it's nirvana -- it would be slightly odd to order a cheeseboard and have all the offerings grated....

        1 Reply
        1. re: juniper77

          Oh yeah, that's true. But for a mouthful of cheddar, grated > all

        2. It's certainly easy and quick to buy a bag of pre-grated cheese... but it doesn't always taste the same as freshly grated.

          9 Replies
          1. re: cheesecake17

            The bag cheeses have a light dusting of corn starch to prevent the strands sticking to each other, IIRC. Generally not enough to bother me, though some may dislike it.

            1. re: beachmouse

              The coating of corn starch doesn't bother me either. But a pre-grated cheddar is probably not the same quality as a block of cheddar that I would grate myself.. flavor wise.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                Absolutely! All you'll find pre-grated are the lowest quality, most boring cheeses out there - an exception being the quality in-store-grated parmigiano and such that you can find at places like Whole Foods, but even then that's only a good thing if you're going to use it all right away.

                Which brings up the freshness factor - all that extra surface area allows the cheese to dry out and lose flavor quickly. Grate your own as you need it, and you control the quality AND the freshness.

                1. re: BobB

                  My problem is that I'm an incompetent menu planner, and discovered long ago that if I bought a block of fresh mozzarella, there was only about a 50% change that I'd remember to make pizza with it before it went moldy. So the bagged stuff, which has a much longer lifespan before mold, got substituted in the name of reducting kitchen waste.

                  I figure that since the parmesan I use is fresh-grated the day of pizza-making (it's a much more forgiving cheese if it get shoved into the back of the cheese drawer and forgotten for a while) it evens out the final product.

                  1. re: beachmouse

                    I typically buy a brick of mozarella and grate it myself and store in ziplock bags in the freezer.

                    Lately, though, Costco has been stocking shredded mozzarella (same brand that I buy in bricks) for the same price as the brick. I've been buying that and it works great. It's not very finely shredded but more coarse- like what you'd get from a box grater.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      Presumably this bag of shredded mozzarella includes anti-caking agents.

                      1. re: tommy

                        It does, but the cheese doesn't have that weird dry powdery texture. It also melts very well, not in separate shreds like some other brands I've bought.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          I still don't quite understand how that firm mozzerella is related to the proper ball of mozzerella. You talk of a block of mozzeralla - does that have an appearance like cheddar?

                          1. re: Soop

                            yes- I buy mozarella in a brick- kind of like a brick of cheddar. It comes in giant bricks, and I buy anywhere from 1lb to 6lbs at a time. It's cut into chunks to order in the store. It's the stuff you can get pre-grated but in block form.

                            Very different from fresh mozaralla.

          2. Bleah! Then again, I like coolwhip

            1. I don't think pre-grated cheese tastes better at all! Huh. I view it as a convenience item only.

              8 Replies
              1. re: LauraGrace

                i think (hope!) the OP was talking about grating cheese oneself, not buying the pre-grated stuff. blech.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  To be honest, I never knew there was so much of a difference, but for arguments sake, let's just say self-grated.

                  1. re: Soop

                    I'd be shocked if one wouldn't be able to discern between pre-grated cheese and freshly grated cheese.

                    1. re: tommy

                      I disagree tommy. Pre-shredded cheeses always have a dry, almost dusty flavor and texture. I would certainly know the difference between pre-shredded mozz, parm, cheddar, etc. and the fresh stuff. (Why do you think good Italian restaurants will shred fresh parm on your food, while mediocre ones approach with a bowl of already shredded parm?)

                      1. re: gaffk

                        I'm not sure you disagree. Reread my comment.

                        1. re: tommy

                          Ah, you wrote "wouldn't" I read "would"--hate when that happens. Sorry . . . I gues I should have written: "I agree tommy" :)

                        2. re: gaffk

                          While there are some definite differences (pre-grated seems to be thicker grain, but obviously it depends on your cheese grater), and thinking about it, it must be treated somehow so that it doesn't smoosh together.

                          But looking at the cheddar I've got here, it's really not dusty or anything. It's certainly possible that pre-grated cheeses are processed differently in America than they are in the UK. Never having had American, I can't say, but it doesn't sound quite the same.

                          Fresh parmesan and powdered parmesan are still a million miles apart though

                        3. re: tommy

                          Agree. And pre-grated cheese has a preservative called natamycin (along with the anti-caking agent), and I swear I can taste it.