The ideal weekend supper is mac and cheese. Not only is it simple to make, but it also has mouthwatering flavor. The kind of cheese you use is critical, although, as the dish just contains macaroni and cheese. It must be the ideal balance of creamy, savory, affordable, and nutritious. This type of cheese selection can be challenging, but don’t worry; we’ve covered all you need to know about buying cheese for mac & cheese.
What to Look for When Purchasing Cheese for Mac and Cheese
The dish should have a slight salty and sweet flavor as well. A strong, tart cheese should be included in the mixture. Because Mac & Cheese doesn’t have a lot of seasonings, bland cheese will result in an unappealing dish. Chefs claim that sharp cheddar cheese has the best flavor for mac and cheese. Many cheeses that melt easily have dull flavors. This is particularly true with young, excessively processed cheeses. Stick with matured cheeses because they have a diverse flavor profile. Aged Gouda, Parmesan, and even Brie are some excellent aged cheeses.
2. Ability to Melt
For mac and cheese, the cheese you use must be exceptionally creamy and melt smoothly. It will be challenging to eat the cheese if it is thick and doesn’t melt because the macaroni doesn’t have any additional sauce. Although aged cheeses may taste better, they are difficult to melt. This is why a combination of cheeses is frequently used to make mac and cheese. Some of these provide flavor, while others give you that irresistible gooeyness. Sharp cheddar is ideal for melting. This is why sharp cheddar must always be included in cheese combos.
When selecting the best cheese for Mac and Cheese, cost is still another aspect to take into account. Since mac and cheese is a common dish, the cheese needs to be affordable and conveniently accessible. Once more, sharp cheddar is ideal because it is inexpensive and simple to find in a nearby store or even online retailers.
Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and pepper jack are a few additional excellent, affordable cheeses. A good cheese that is utilized in many meals, such as Mac & Cheese, is parmesan. Depending on the brand you want, it could be pricey. However, most stores in the USA have it readily available.
4. Expiry Date
Do you frequently prepare mac and cheese to the point that you purchase cheese in large quantities? Or are you the one who stores cheese in the freezer for too long, causing it to lose flavor and maybe become hazardous? Whatever it is, make sure to carefully read this.
The fact is that not all cheese keeps for very long. Professionals claim that since mold can quickly infiltrate soft cheeses, they are the first to go bad. Hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan can last well for approximately 4 months in the refrigerator and for about 8 months in the freezer. The cheese should not be opened in either of these circumstances.
When the cheese has gone bad, mold can be a huge clue. However, mold is purposefully introduced for flavor to blue cheeses. Put cheese through the smell test if you have any doubts about its safety. It would be best to throw anything away if it smells different from how it typically does. Wrap the cheese tightly in plastic to prevent spores from coming in contact with it, which will help the cheese live longer. Additionally, the exterior of the cheese shouldn’t have any cracks.
5. Nutritional Value
A lot of calories and fat can be found in a mac and cheese. Obesity and other issues can result from eating Mac and Cheese frequently. Even so, you can always go with a low-fat, low-calorie cheese if you don’t want to give up on your favorite dish.
The finest option is mozzarella. It has a high protein to fat ratio and less fat overall. The calorie content of mozzarella per 21 grams is 62.6 kcal, 4.98 g protein, and 4.28 g fat. However, always use béchamel sauce if you wish to add mozzarella. When mozzarella melts, it becomes stringy rather than creamy.
Types of Cheese for Mac and Cheese
1. Sharp Cheddar
Pros: Sharp cheddar has a good flavor, melts easily, and is widely accessible.
Cons: Zero downsides. Any Mac & Cheese would benefit from using sharp cheddar.
Pros: Similar to sharp cheddar, mozzarella is affordable, readily available, and has a great flavor.
Cons: When melted, mozzarella is stringy though melts easily. It requires béchamel.
Pros: Gruyere melts quickly, tastes nutty, and is not very pricey.
Cons: It’s possible that not all supermarkets offer gruyere.
Pros: The flavor profile of parmesan is fantastic, and it melts extremely well.
Cons: Parmesan of high caliber is pricey. Additionally, inferior cheese won’t melt as quickly.
5. Aged Gouda
Pros: Aged Gouda has an amazing flavor.
Cons: The cheese can be expensive, is difficult to get, and doesn’t melt well due to its low moisture content.
Pros: Ricotta cheese is a smooth, readily melted cheese.
Cons: Ricotta is expensive, rare, and has a very mild flavor.
7. Gorgonzola (Blue Cheese)
Pros: Gorgonzola has indeed an intense flavor profile.
Cons: Gorgonzola is pricey, not always accessible, and not all varieties melt. Gorgonzola Dolce, which is extremely difficult to find is the perfect blue cheese for melting.
A non-tasty batch of mac and cheese is the one thing to despise for sure. What a terrible way to waste such a great idea! Aside from a cooking mishap like overcooking the noodles, the biggest mistake people make when preparing mac and cheese at home is choosing the wrong kind of cheese to begin with. The flavor and texture of the sauce greatly depend on the variety you select.
A flavorful, inexpensive cheese that melts readily is necessary for a decent Mac & Cheese. If money is tight, you can create Mac and Cheese using only sharp cheddar. Another crucial ingredient in the recipe is the béchamel sauce. While it may take some time, it ensures that all the cheeses melt and combine to form a single, really gooey sauce.