Cheese is loved by almost everyone and can be either the main character or a background ingredient in a surprisingly large number of dishes and recipes. While cheese is generally loved, there are many different types of cheese, which can leave people overwhelmed and confused when their recipe calls for a certain type that they have never used before. Parmesan is a very popular and tasty cheese that is called for in a lot of dishes, especially pasta dishes. What a lot of people question, is whether parmesan can melt or not.
Table of Contents
- Does Parmesan Melt?
- What Is Parmesan Cheese?
- Is Melted Parmesan Good?
- FAQs On Melting Parmesan
Does Parmesan Melt?
First of all, parmesan definitely does melt. Or at least, more specifically, genuine parmesan does certainly melt.
You might sometimes notice that when you melt parmesan cheese, it will be very stringy and clumpy. Other times you can make your parmesan cheese melt with ease.
There is a very good reason as to why you cannot always consistently melt parmesan cheese. This is because of the type of parmesan you are trying to melt. Genuine parmesan will melt very easily ad consistently with little to no lumps.
The type of parmesan that does not melt properly is going to be the counterfeit or pre-shredded parmesan that you can buy from stores. They are coated in cornstarch which stops any pieces from sticking to each other. This cornstarch also affects how the cheese acts in terms of texture. This effect is much more noticeable when you are melting the cheese.
Sometimes the parmesan might not even be parmesan, and is just marketed as “pizza cheese”. It might be mixed with other cheeses, like mozzarella.
Melting Point Of Parmesan
The melting point of parmesan is surprisingly low. The ingredient rennet is an enzyme that makes milk curds melt very easily under relatively high temperatures. The average temperature that melts parmesan is around 180 degrees F.
Parmesan cheese melts at around 180 F. Yet softer cheeses can have an even lower melting point of around 130-140 F. Because of how easy it is to melt, parmesan is great for thickening a sauce in any dish as well as adding a delicious salty flavor to it.
Parmesan cheese adds an umami flavor to a dish too which makes it taste meatier and more flavorsome. It can be really easy to liquefy parmesan cheese so that you do not have a bunch of clumps and lumps in your sauce.
What Is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese is a granular hard cheese that is made from cows’ milk and is typically aged for an entire year. There are many different varieties of parmesan that can be purchased from supermarkets. These are mostly going to be packs of grated parmesan cheese that differ in strength. You can also very easily find blocks of parmesan that are ready to be used in any way that you see fit.
The blocks of parmesan cheese are really useful for making sure you have freshly grated parmesan cheese whenever you want it. The pre-shredded parmesan that you find has a starch coating that stops it from sticking to itself, which can really ruin the consistency of a dish you are using it in (such as pizza…read my blog about that!). It is always best to use freshly grated cheese when possible. However, bags of grated cheese are much more affordable and easier.
Similar to the restrictions on Scotch whiskey, Parmigiano-Reggiano must be made in Italy authentically before being labeled as such. In the USA and UK, anything labeled as simply parmesan does have the potential to be legit but is more commonly just an imitation due to the restrictions.
How Is Parmesan Made?
The saying “perfection requires no change” is very applicable to the creation process of parmesan cheese. The process is still incredibly similar to the original process that was used almost 9 centuries ago.
The first step is introducing bacteria to cows’ milk. Typically, the cows’ milk will be skimmed or semi-skimmed so that it does not have as much fat in it. The precise bacteria that is introduced to the milk is called thermophilic lactic acid. After being heated, the mixture has another ingredient known as rennet added. Rennet can be harvested from lambs or calves while their diet still consists of exclusively milk. Vegan rennet can also be made and is made from a mold, however, there is no mold found within the final product.
The mixture will begin to curdle once the rennet is added and this will begin the next step of the process. The curd is broken into tiny pieces that are similar in size to a grain of rice. These pieces are then strained through a cheesecloth or a muslin. After being strained, this is then placed in a cheese mold or a wheel before being immersed in a salt brine for just under a month. This immersion is what gives the parmesan its signature salty flavor that a lot of people enjoy.
After being brined, the wheels are then placed in an aging room for a year, or three. This is typically anytime between 12-36 months. During this process, the wheels are turned and cleaned almost weekly. This aging process not only helps with the grainy texture but also helps further develop the flavor profile of the cheese.
Is Melted Parmesan Good?
Parmesan cheese, especially freshly grated parmesan cheese, is so good. It is one of the most important cheeses for a lot of pasta dishes and other similar dishes. Whether it is grated parmesan cheese, shredded parmesan cheese, or ground parmesan cheese it is always going to improve a dish more than you can imagine.
As you probably know from other types of melted cheese, the finer the pieces are will mean the easier it is to melt. So finely grated cheese will be a lot easier to melt than large pieces. Parmesan cheese melts easily regardless, but it is still best to get it into the smallest pieces possible beforehand.
To summarize, melting parmesan cheese has a lot of benefits. These include making a meal taste nicer, as well as thickening a sauce that it is added to.
FAQs On Melting Parmesan
Does Kraft grated parmesan cheese melt?
Kraft grated parmesan cheese does melt, but it can be inconsistent and clumpy at times. This is very common in a lot of pre-grated cheeses as they are coated in a starch covering that stops them from sticking to other pieces of cheese. While it is practical for this one purpose, the starch ruins the consistency of the cheese. This is especially noticeable when the cheese is melted.
Does Romano cheese melt?
Romano cheese does melt, very similar to parmesan. While the cheese does melt, it is not always consistent. The already shredded or grated variants of this cheese will be coated in a starch covering to percent any pieces from sticking to another, this is practical and works but it also ruins the texture of the cheese. This is not too noticeable most of the time but when the cheese is melted, it can result in the cheese being clumpy, lumpy, or stringy. To get the best results, it is ideal to use fresh cheese and grate it yourself.
Does vegan parmesan cheese melt?
Yes! Vegan cheeses, including parmesan, do melt. The ingredients removed and changed do not prevent this cheese from melting. The actual melting points might be lightly different but other than that, they will still act very similarly. If you buy a vegan cheese that is already grated for your convenience, it may melt very inconsistently. This is due to the cornstarch that is coating the pieces as a preventative of them sticking together.