Granular cheese

Granular cheese

Infobox Cheese
name = Granular cheese


othernames =
country = None in particular
regiontown = None in particular
region =
town =
source = Cows
pasteurised = Possibly
texture = Granular, usually hard
fat =
protein =
dimensions =
weight =
aging = Minimum: 2 months
Usual: 12 months
certification = N/A

Granular cheese, also known as stirred curd cheese, is a type of cheese produced by repeatedly stirring and draining a mixture of curd and whey. It can refer to a wide variety of cheeses, including the grana cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano "(at right)" and various others. Many types are commonly used in the production of processed cheese, especially American cheese, which by law must consist of Cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, cheese curd, or granular cheese. [http://www.ams.usda.gov/standards/Bulkamer.pdf United States Standards for Grades of Bulk American Cheese] ]

Food and Drug Administration standards

In the United States, the FDA mandates certain qualifications for something to be called granular cheese. The maximum allowed moisture content is 39 percent, and the minimum allowed milkfat content is 50 percent by weight of the solids. Regular granular cheese must either use pasteurized dairy products or be cured for at least 60 days at a temperature of at least 35 °F. Either cows' milk or cream may be used as the main ingredient. Other permissable ingredients include clotting enzymes such as rennet, coloring, calcium chloride as a coagulation aid, enzymes used in curing, hydrogen peroxide, and agents used to protect against fungi. [http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/FCF133.html Code of Federal Regulations: Title 21--Food and Drugs Part 133 Cheese and Related Cheese Products] ] The name granular cheese can encompass many types of cheeses; for example, Parmigiano-Reggiano and many types of Cheddar cheese are granular cheeses, although the latter is often produced by cheddaring. [http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tasting.asp?tastingid=59&bdc=708&extcode=N07EF3BO1 Cook's Illustrated - Supermarket Cheddar Cheese Fails to Excite Tasters] ] [http://imt.miracosta.edu/Showcase/125midterms/B1/parmigiano.html Chad's Parmigiano Cheese Page] ]

Granular cheese for manufacturing must meet all of these standards except that it does not need to be cured, nor do the dairy ingredients used need to be pasteurized. This is the type of granular cheese most commonly used for processing.

Production

Although granular cheese can technically be created using any method that achieves the designated standard for physical and chemical properties, there is one method that is generally used. First, the milk or cream may be warmed and treated with hydrogen peroxide and catalase, producing water and oxygen gas.cite web | title = Catalase: An Enzyme at Work| work = Science Education Outreach | url=http://crystal.uah.edu/~carter/enzyme/catalase.htm | accessdate=2007-02-11] Then, a lactic acid-producing bacterial culture is added, and the product is treated with clotting enzymes to form a semisolid mass. This mass is cut, stirred, and heated to separate the curd and the whey. Increasing the amount of time between cutting and heating will increase both the final moisture content and the milkfat content of the cheese, thereby increasing the yield.Riddell-Lawrence, S. and C. L. Hicks. "Effect of Curd Healing Time on Stirred Curd Cheese Yield." "Journal of Dairy Science" 70.10 (1988): 2611-2617.] There follows an alternating cycle of draining of the whey and stirring. After most of the whey has been drained, the curd is salted, drained, and pressed into the desired form. The remaining product may be cured if the original dairy products were not pasteurized. A common method of curing is to dry the cheese on racks for about a week, then to wax it and place it in coolers until the time of consumption.

Taste

Granular cheese has a flavor many describe as rich and tangy. Although unpasteurized granular cheese is ready to eat after 60 days of curing, it has a very mild flavor unless aged further to increase sharpness. The cheese is usually sharpest after 12 months of aging, after which it is usually sold. [http://www.vtcheese.com/members/frogcity/frogcity.htm Frog City Cheese - Vermont Cheese Council] ]

References


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