Cheese is a rather general term describing curdled milk or cream. "Cheese" just the word is enough to create a tempting feeling, couldn't you just have one toasted cheese sandwich now? It can never go down bad! The demand for cheese is attributed to its great taste, versatility, convenience, and nutrient content. Everywhere you go across the country, everyone seems to love cheese. But due to high fats and calories some people avoid cheese.
Now here comes the good news for cheese lovers. For individuals monitoring or reducing fat in their diet, many reduced fat varieties of cheeses are available. Also, individuals can include cheese in a fat reduced diet by making dietary trade-offs, for example, by balancing higher fat foods with lower fat foods. Cheese has many health benefits. Lets check them out...
Benefits of Cheese:
Consuming cheese may stimulate the flow of saliva, which has caries reducing properties.
Milk proteins in cheese have been demonstrated to neutralize plaque acids through their buffering capacity.
Individuals who are lactose-intolerant can safely consume aged cheeses, which contain little or no lactose.
Cheese appears to prevent acid demineralization and enhance re mineralization of tooth enamel.
Types of Cheese:
Hard Cheese: These cheeses have been aged for a long time, causing them to loose a lot of humidity and become hard and have a strong flavor. Hard Cheese is mostly used in sauces, toppings (i.e. on pizza or pasta), and in soups. The most famous hard cheeses are Parmesan, Romano and Swiss.
Soft Cheese: They are soft, smooth and creamy texture. Soft cheese includes brie, bleu, Roquefort, mozzarella, and muenster. These cheeses generally pair well with fruit or meats, or can be used as breakfast cheeses in an omelet or as pasta fillings. They are usually mildly flavored and very high in moisture.
Semi-soft Cheese: These are slightly stronger in flavor and cover a wide range of uses. Co-jack cheese, a blend of Colby and Monterey jack, is one of the most popular. This allows the sharper flavor of Colby to be combined with the milder jack cheese, and also melts better than plain Colby. Semi soft Cheese is used to prepare pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups, and fondues.
Firm Cheese: This is an all purpose cheese. This is commonly used as a topping (i.e. baked potato), in sauces, salads, sandwiches, and as a snack. Brick, Cheddar, Colby, Gouda, Marble, and Provolone are famous firm cheese available in the market.
Fresh cheese: At the beginning of the making process, all cheeses are considered fresh cheeses, as they are neither fermented nor ripened. We often refer to this as the "infant" stage, because they haven't aged yet. The cheese is rindless and of a bright white color; its texture is soft, granular or smooth, and creamy and velvety, according to the cheese. Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Ricotta are fresh cheese.
|Processed Cheese: This is made from regular cheese and sometimes other unfermented dairy ingredients, plus emulsifiers, extra salt, food colorings. Many flavors, colors, and textures of processed cheese exist. the most recognizable variety of processed cheese is sold under the name American cheese.|
Preparation of Cheese:
How to shop lower-fat cheeses, here's what the label will tell you:
Storing of Cheese: For optimum flavor, allow cold cheese to warm for 30-minutes before eating. Cheese can be placed on counter top during warming. Never store cheese with heavy, strong smelling foods. Cheese will absorb the aroma of what is around it. Soft cheeses should be wrapped in wax paper but not plastic wrap. Cheese's high nutritional value and its beneficial roles in health make this food an important dairy food to include in a healthful diet.
(Sources: essortment.com, wisegeek.com, saskschools.ca, nationaldairycouncil.org, recipes.howstuffworks.com)