Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard pale-yellow to off-white, and sometimes sharp-tasting cheese originating in the English village of Cheddar, in Somerset. Cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese. Cheddaring refers to an additional step in the production of Cheddar-style cheese where, after heating, the curd is kneaded with salt, then is cut into cubes to drain the whey, then stacked and turned. Strong, extra-mature Cheddar, sometimes called vintage, needs to be matured for up to 15 months.
The cheese is kept at a constant temperature often requiring special facilities. The strong flavour develops over time, with a taste diverse enough that food packaging will usually indicate a strength using adjectives such as mild, medium, strong, tasty, sharp, extra sharp, mature, old, or vintage, and may also indicate the maturation period. Cheddar cheese is naturally white, but is usually colored yellow with annato seed.
Grated Cheddar Cheese
This requires grating the cheese slabs in a hand held grater. This grated cheese is fine in texture and is used for making baked dishes like au gratin or casseroles.
Shredded cheddar cheese
Pass the cheese through a shredder and separate the thin slices into shreds with fingers. Alternatively, you may buy packaged shredded cheese.
Chopped cheddar cheese
Place the cheese slab on a chopping board and chop it into small pieces. Can be finely chopped or roughly chopped or chopped into big chunks as per recipe requirement.
Sliced Cheddar Cheese
You may place the cheese in a slicer or slice the cheese in thin or thick slices with a sharp knife, as per the recipe requirement.
Cheddar cheese cubes
Turn the block of cheese on its side and make a series of slices. Lay the tofu or cheese slices on top of each other and make a series of lengthwise slices, (½ inch slices for smaller cubes, 1 inch slices for larger cubes. Make a series of ½ inch or 1 inch crosswise cuts through the cheese and it will fall away into cubes.
Low fat Cheddar Cheese
Are the ones which have reduced fat content 1-2%. It can be chopped, sliced, grated, shredded and cut into cubes as per recipe requirements.
Sharp cheddar cheese
Sharp cheddar is simply an aged piece of cheese, probably six to nine months old, while extra-sharp cheddar is likely one-and-a-half to two years old. The sharper the cheddar, the more tangy and complex it will taste. It can be chopped, sliced, grated, shredded and cut tinto cubes as per recipe requirements.
How to select
Cheddars vary in flavor depending on the length of aging and their origin. As cheddar slowly ages, it loses moisture and its texture becomes drier and more crumbly. Sharpness becomes noticeable at 12 months (old cheddar) and 18 months (extra old cheddar). The optimal aging period is 5-6 years; however, for most uses three-year-old cheese is fine and five-year-old cheddar can be saved for special occasions. Cheddar cheese should not be too crumbly or dry with the color being relatively uniform. Check the expiry date and look out for any discoloration or moldy spots. opt for varieties that provide no more than five grams of fat per ounce.
· It is a popular cheese for snacking on its own or with crackers. It is especially flavorful in melted dishes such as soup and sauce recipes
· A few dishes which use cheddar cheese are mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie,macaroni and cheese, casseroles, etc.
· Cheese tastes superb between toasted wheat breads with cucumber and tomato slices.
· Cheddar cheese can be added to omelettes, pizza, soufflés, au gratins, fondues, etc.
· Cheddar cheese balls and poppers are also popular.
· Cheese makes a delightful pairing with fruits such as apples, pears and melons. Serve as appetizer or dessert.
How to store
All cheeses, regardless of variety, should be well wrapped and kept in the warmest section of the refrigerator. (The refrigerator door is often one of the warmest spots). As storage life is related to the moisture content of the cheese, the softer the cheese, the shorter amount of time it will keep fresh. In general, firm and semi-firm cheeses like cheddar will keep for two weeks.
· Regardless of the type of milk used to create it, cheddar cheese is a concentrated source of the nutrients naturally found in milk, including calcium. The one nutritional drawback of reduced-fat cheeses is that they are usually higher in sodium than full-fat natural cheeses.
· Cheddar Cheese also contains a large amount of other essential nutrients such as phosphorous, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin A
· It is a dense source of high quality protein.