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Metlted Cheese - Flavor?

While there are usually good things happening with melting cheese - I find that in almost all cases (save blue at least) flavor is pretty much eradicated.

I use a sharp cheddar from Somerset, England with a great 'bite' and when used for a melted cheese sandwich or on a 'cheeseburger' it becomes almost totally neutered.

The same seems to be true for parmesan, aged gouda, mature emmenthal, etc.

Yet the net seems to be filled with raves for how melted cheese has infinitely better taste than 'un' . something I don't agree with at all.

And this does call into question - for me at least - the big deal about the whole 'au gratin' deal in cooking.

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  1. I hardly ever do melted cheese on my sandwiches. I toast the bread and then put the cheese.

    1. While I do like a good grilled cheese sandwich or mac'n'cheese, I generally find that UNmelted cheese has way more flavor, yes. For instance, if I'm having a bowl of chili, I don't want the cheese melted, but put on at the end or, even better, on the side, so that I can add it to each bite and actually taste it. Melty is nice and all, and sometimes a large lart of the point (eg, GC sandwich), but it just tastes so much..... more..... when it isn't. I hear you.

      (But then, of course, you have to practice not sounding like an ass/weirdo when you ask your waitperson to please not melt the cheese, etc.....)

      2 Replies
      1. re: juster

        Agreed!
        However, I think melting cheese is a great use of bits of multiple leftover cheeses. Like into a cheese sauce, rarebit, fondue...
        But you could also make a cheese ball I guess...

        1. re: iheartcooking

          I'd actually forgotten about cheese fondue - which I like and find tasty. But now on thinking about it. I too use all the bits and pieces of cheese which has been doing some super-ageing - so it by itself is already tastier - (less likely to totally degrade).

          But then there's all the other stuff - wine, mustard, lemon, nutmeg - and whatever else 'extra' - it might even be that those things bring out or retain some of the 'cheese taste.'

          In any case I think the thing to be remembered is that there is - for many - something good texture-wise about MELTED cheese - this could give a hint as to why something like Velveeta sells :-)

      2. I have found that I like melted cheese best once cooled down.

        1. I'm with the OP - cheese loses something of its flavour when cooked. To my tastebuds, it's most noticeable with hard cheeses with a usually sharp taste - a West Country Farmhouse Cheddar or Parmesan, for example.

          1. I agree it loses some flavor when it's very melty but if you let it cool slightly to wear it's still melted somewhat it seems to have more flavor.

            1. I agree with everything except the gratin bit. Yes, a gratin should be breadcrumbs... but there's something magical about a broiled, toasty cheese layer on top of just about anything. It may lose the original flavor, but the transformation is what makes pizza, pizza and also what makes kids want to eat their broccoli or cauliflower (even old kids).

              3 Replies
              1. re: MplsM ary

                Not sure what you mean by disagreement re gratin. 'Gratin' does mean bread crumbs but almost always combined with cheese:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratin

                I can well imagine that the melted cheese texture is what 'sells' it - but I would surely think any cheese with moderate or strong taste would lose much of it.

                Pizza is topped with mozzarella - and I sincerely doubt anyone notices any real TASTE from the mozz - it is, I believe, all about the texture of the 'goo.' When other cheeses are also used (quattro formaggio, etc.) it's hard to really get the other flavors - save the blue and/or gorgonzola which are that strong they survive.

                1. re: jounipesonen

                  Actually, "gratin" does not mean cheese at all. it is all about running the dish under the broiler/salamander to get a "char" on it. Americans turned it into "cheese."

                  I disagree with all cheese losing its flavor when melted. Just try melting some aged Comte.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Yes - gratin doesn't have to mean 'cheese' - but that's why I referred to the Wiki article where empirically it does seem to include cheese in most instances.

                    Thanks for the tip re aged Comte - hope it's the exception :-) !!

              2. While I tend to agree that I would rather have gouda/cheddar/etc unmelted, I have found that partially melting those blah Bries sold in supermarkets does make them more palatable. 10 seconds at full power in the microwave does it.