Processed cheese, process cheese, cheese slice (UK), prepared cheese, or cheese food is a food product made from normal cheese and sometimes other unfermented dairy ingredients, plus emulsifiers, extra salt, food colorings, and/or whey. Many flavors, colors, and textures of processed cheese exist. Processed cheese has three technical advantages over unprocessed cheese: extended shelf-life, resistance to separation when cooked, and the ability to reuse scraps, trimmings and runoff from other cheese making process. The use of emulsifiers in processed cheese results in cheese that melts smoothly when cooked. Processed cheese normally lacks the range of textures available in unprocessed cheeses; processed cheeses are normally very smooth and medium-firm. Pasteurized process cheese can be made from a single cheese or a blend of several cheeses. Cream, milk fat, water, salt, artificial color, and spices may also be added.
Shredded processed cheese
Pass the cheese through a shredder and separate the thin slices into shreds with fingers. Alternatively, you may buy packaged shredded cheese.
Chopped processed 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.
Processed cheese strips
Cut the cheese block into thin or thick strips as per recipe requirement.
Processed cheese cubes
Turn the block of processed cheese on its side and make a series of slices. Lay the 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.
Grated processed 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.
How to select
Sliced processed 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.
Processed cheese is sometimes sold in blocks, or spray cans, but more often sold packed in individual slices, sometimes with plastic wrappers or wax paper separating them. Processed cheese should not be too crumbly or dry with the colour 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.Culinary uses
· It is a popular cheese for snacking on its own or with crackers. It is especially flavourful in melted dishes such as soup and sauce recipes
· A few dishes which use processed cheese are mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, etc.
· Cheese tastes superb between toasted wheat breads with cucumber and tomato slices.
· Processed cheese can be added to omelettes, pizza, soufflés, au gratins, fondues, etc.
· The 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. Health Benefits
· Regardless of the type of milk used to create it, processed cheese is a concentrated source of the nutrients naturally found in milk, including calcium.
· Inclusion of artificial additives in processed cheeses and the higher levels of salt are however a few subjects of criticism..
· Processed 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.