Friday, 11 May 2012

How to cut cheese: ways, types and tools

Cheese is one of the products we love, because is the perfect partner for the Spanish Ham (but red wine as well). As you know, there are so many varieties and sometimes is difficult to know how cut and serve each one properly.

First of all, a bit of History about cheese:

Cheese is one of the oldest foods of mankind. The ancient Greeks believed it had healing properties. Attila ate cheese made from mare’s milk. And the Romans, great cheese manufacturers, extended its consume and tradition around the Empire.

Throughout History, man had devises several ways to make cheese, different tastes and textures. Nowadays, many cheeses are made using traditional methods, but the process has been improved thanks to technical developments.

Cheese is only the remaining solid matter when you remove milk serum, by pressure or cooking. All cheeses are made from milk, whether cow, goat, sheep (really good in Spain) even donkey. You know that famous Cleopatra’s story, don’t you?

Well, and how to cut cheese?
Cheeses have different shapes and sizes, and it’s not easy to know how to cut each type. To avoid unnecessary waste and make each piece more appetizing, it’s interesting to use a proper technique for each one.

-    Soft cheeses (round or square), and the moldy, have to be cut into small pieces.
-    Cylindrical cheeses are cut in two parts.
-    Those roll or bar-shaped have to be cut into individual slices (thicker or thinner, depending on the guests).
-    If it’s a ball, first split in half, then cut a hexagonal piece, and from this you can make slices.

Ok! It seems easy. But, what about tools for cut cheese?

All cheeses can be cut with a knife (obviously), but according to their consistency and texture is more appropriate to use a special cutting tool.

-    The extra hard cheeses can’t be cut into sliced, it’s better to break them. Is necessary a small short knife. The tip should be applied to the cheese and as a lever to cut it down.

-    For cutting large cheeses is used a strand wire. First crust is marked for strand wire slides easily.
-    Moldy semi-rigid, which normally are brittle, are also cut with a strand wire. Tip: cut it right out of the fridge (the hotter, the softer).
-    To slice moldy rigid, cream or roll cheese, use the bow. In this case, the strand wire is fixed in a carrier.
-    Hard cheeses can be cut with a palette knife. But they are small normally, so if is a large cheese, use a big knife with a wide blade.

-    There are special knifes with two tips, for small pieces and soft cheeses. With this tool you can serve directly to the plate. Tip: normally dull knives cut better than the sharp. If heated slightly (eg by soaking in hot water) the blade will slide by the cheese as it was butter.

-    The ‘girolle’ is a tool with a wood round base and a blade attached to a shaft at its top, which allows to make rosette-shape pieces.

-     Graters are useful for skim hard and extra hard cheeses. For rigid is better to use small holes graters, to make thin strips. For semi-rigid is more appropriate to use large holes graters, resulting larger cheese strips. To grate cheese, electric grinders can also be used.

 We hope have helped you to know more about cheese. We recommend one of the best Spanish cheeses: Pago LosVivales. Cheeses of sheep milk, from tender to very cured, they are a tasty and really high quality delicacy. Remember: you can eat just cheese, or with Spanish Ham and a good red wine

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