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Jan 5, 2011 08:56 AM

Microplane - Issues Grating Parmesan

This past weekend, I was trying to grate a pile of parm using my Microplane (Classic Zester/grater, I believe) and had a heck of a tough time. It took me nearly 10 minutes and some serious elbow grease to grate ~2 ounces of cheese.

Do I need something more coarse? Is the gourmet/professional series any better? For the record, this thing works just fine for citrus zest and cinnamon. Nutmeg can also be troublesome. I can't imagine the thing is dull...I doubt I've used it 50 times.

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  1. The problem here is quantity. They're really best for zesting, garlic, and serving size amounts of parm or other hard cheeses. For nutmeg, get a proper nutmeg grater or use an old school grater that would work way better+faster for a pile of parm. It's a grate tool(couldn't resist)but doesn't do everything well.

    1. I'm so glad to realize I'm not the only one who has a hard time grating p-r with the Microplane. I hate it. I can't believe people are so wowed by this thing. It's literally a knuckle buster: I've drawn blood several times.

      I bought it for grating lemon zest originally, which is also not a load of fun, but I never have to grate as much zest as I do cheese. It's too bad, as I like the size it grates the cheese.

      I've gone back to using my box grater.

      I wonder: do you have a problem using a mandoline, also? I've never liked using those, either. I'm always afraid I'm going to slice off a piece of me.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jay F

        I was terrified by a chirpy sales person at a cookware shop in Toronto pre-Xmas who was pushing a lethal-looking mandoline as superior to a well-accessorized KA food processor. Wondering now if the customer bought it and ended up in an ER Xmas morning minus finger tips.

        I have the old MP design minus handle like it did when it emerged from woodworking tool stores. Like that design over the newer version. They're really not a substitute for a box grater. Over Xmas I got a new old-style all-metal Italian rotary grater that's near-perfect for parm--no big surprise!

        1. re: Kagemusha

          I also use an all-metal Italian rotary grater, but I recently saw a plastic Micro Plane version of the rotary grater. I haven't seen it in person and have no idea how well it works, but it seems like it should be ideal for parm and ramano, especially if you grate large quantities like I do. I grate about a half a kg at a time and store it in a large glass jar, ready for use. The Micro Plane is so sharp, it would seem that a rotary grater version should go through these cheeses like butter.

        2. re: Jay F

          I just got a mandoline for Christmas (Oxo) and haven't taken it for a test drive. I can't wait to try it, though.

          1. re: Jay F

            I have the microplane rasp size one and also, now, the microplane box grater, which is great for bigger jobs, like when you need a pile of shredded cheddar or parm. I like it so much, I gave 5 as Christmas gifts this year. Sadly, I cannot find it for less than $35 .. but, you can order it from BB & Beyond and use your 20% off coupons.

            I have the Benriner mandolin and would never use it w/out my cut-resistant glove...I even use it at times with the box grater because I have managed to draw some blood doing that, too. Let me know if you want to know where I ordered mine. I see that microplane now sells one, too.

            1. re: walker

              I never thought of using a glove with a mandoline, but now that you mention it, I think I did use to see that during the '80s. I'll hold off on getting one now, but where did you get it?

              1. re: Jay F

                This is where I got my glove:


                It was about $25 and free shipping, don't know if that's the same price. (They tell you how to measure your hand to get the right size.


       This is the microplane one from BB & B and it's $14.95, one size fits all.

          2. Microplane comes in different grating sizes. I've used the same one for citrus zest for grating hard cheeses if I want a very fine feathery grating. It should not take 10 minutes and serious elbow power to grate 2 ounces. I have mine for over 5 years and is still very sharp. Is your cheese too hard? I prefer a coarser grating of cheese, so I mostly use the next coarser plane.

            1. I use the box grater. The microplane is better for garlic, citrus zest and nutmeg.

              1. Do you have the long and skinny one? Mine's a paddle. Have had it for the past 3 years and is still going strong. Absolutely a dream when grating PC. If it ever breaks I'll be a repeat customer. Can't live without mine.

                I can see someone complaining about the cheese coming out too fine. Do you think it's a problem?

                1 Reply
                1. re: cutipie721

                  Mine looks like a paddle, too. Here's a pic. It's the second one in from the right, with many tiny rasps.