We all love eating cheese, but how much do we know about the process of making it? Today, let’s explore why cheese is aged and what this process does.
Aging cheese is sometimes called ripening. Some say that this is the most important part of the cheesemaking process because it gives each cheese its distinctive characteristics.
How does the cheesemaking process start?
Cheese is made by culturing milk, adding rennet and then separating the curds from the whey. These curds make cheese and are usually salted to start the process.
We eat some cheeses, such as ricotta and mozzarella, when they are young and unripened. However, most cheeses are aged for varying lengths of time.
Why are cheeses aged?
Cheeses are aged in order to transform the texture and intensify the flavor. The microbes and enzymes contained within the cheese react to the temperature and moisture of their environment, creating the different cheeses that we know and love.
What happens whilst a cheese is aging?
Over time, the cultures that were added to the cheese will grow and eat the lactose in the milk, changing it into lactic acid. Lactic acid gives cheeses their sharpness and tanginess.
There is also a process known as proteolysis, where the long protein strands created when the rennet was added begin to break down. These are responsible for the flavors that we experience in aged cheeses such as gouda and parmesan. If a cheese is smoky or nutty, it is because of the proteolysis.
This proteolysis also creates the gooey texture found in camembert, brie and limburger cheese.
Who is in charge of the aging process?
The person who looks after the cheese and decides how it is aged is known as an affineur.
Where are cheeses aged?
This all depends on the cheese and the desired effect of the aging.
Cheeses have historically been ripened in caves. Caves have a cool temperature and a high humidity, which allows the cheese to ripen without losing too much volume. Cheese is also very porous and so it takes on flavor from its surroundings. Aging in a cave allows the cheese to develop a strong, nutty flavor.
Some cheeses will be aged in a refrigerator or in a cool space such as a cellar. The affineur will make careful choices about the humidity and temperature involved to create the final product.
What about blue cheeses? How are they ripened?
Blue cheeses, such as Danish Blue and Stilton, have Penicillium cultures added to them. Tiny holes are made in the cheese to allow the air to reach the cultures. This encourages the blue/green veins that we recognize to form.
Can I age cheese that I have made at home?
Yes, you can. We recommend reading as much as you can about the cheese you are making before doing so. Some cheesemakers have had success using a wine refrigerator or spare refrigerator to age cheeses.
So, now you know about the cheese aging process! Do you have other questions about cheese making? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!
We know that our customers love cheese! We’re always looking for new ways for you to serve it, but we also know that creating a cheeseboard is a real joy. You can serve a cheeseboard as a fun appetizer or instead of dessert. It’s quick to prepare and you can even ask your guests to bring along a favorite cheese!
There are so many ways to make your cheeseboards unique and impress at any dinner party. The huge variety of crackers, fruit, chips or nuts that you can serve makes this a great dish to help you stand out.
Today we’re sharing some ideas for pickles which can be made to accompany your cheeseboard. Some take longer than others, but they are all delicious additions to your table.
1. Same day pickles
Throwing a last minute dinner party? These pickles can be rustled up in no time and are sure to wow your guests.
They are best eaten on the day that they are made.
You will need:
1 large cucumber
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tbsp white sugar
A handful of dill leaves
- Cut the cucumber into long thin ribbons. This is easily done with a potato peeler or you could use a spiralizer.
- Cover the cucumber with salt for 15 minutes.
- Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the cucumber using a paper towel
- Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl
- Add the cucumber
- Leave it to infuse for as long as you can, but they will be delicious straight away!
2. Pickled grapes
You’re used to serving grapes on your cheeseboard, but you probably haven’t tried pickling them. You need to make these a few days before eating, and they should keep in the fridge for a week*.
You will need:
1 bunch seedless grapes, removed from their stems and cut in half
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 whole cloves
- Mix the vinegar, sugar, spices, and cloves together in a saucepan
- Bring to the boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the grapes.
- Pour the grapes and vinegar into a sterilized jar. Leave the lid off until they have cooled.
- Once cooled, place a lid on the jar and refrigerate.
3. Shisler’s Private Label
Sometimes you just don’t have time to make pickles. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our delicious private label pickles. We’re sure you’ll find some that will complement your cheeseboard amongst our selection. Choose from:
So, there you have it. Three ways to add perfect pickles to your cheeseboard. Eat them with aged cheddar for a great, tangy combination.
What are your favorite pickles? Do you have a fabulous go-to recipe? Let us know in the comments!
*Always check pickles that you have kept before eating them to make sure that they are still safe to eat.
If you’re anything like us here at Shisler’s Cheese House, you love entertaining. We’re always looking for great new ways to share food and fun with our friends and family.
If you haven’t had a Raclette dinner party yet, then today we’re here to tell you why this might be your next big hit.
What is Raclette?
Raclette (ra-klet) is a semi-firm, salted cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, but is today also produced in the French regions of Savoie and Franche-Comté.
The term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning “to scrape”. Raclette cheese is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates.
What is the history of Raclette?
Raclette is mentioned in medieval writings and was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese.” Traditionally, the Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them into the mountains. They would cook it by the campfire and scrape it onto bread.
How can we enjoy it at a dinner party?
These days, you don’t have to go into the mountains or start an open fire to enjoy Raclette around the dinner table. Electric table-top grills with small pans make the job of melting the cheese easy and fun. Each guest fills their small pan, known as a coupelles, with cheese and melts it before adding it to their plate.
What should it be served with?
This is where you can let your imagination run wild! Anything that you think might be delicious with cheese could be tried, but there are some classics that are essential for a Raclette party:
- Small boiled potatoes
- Sliced vegetables including carrots, peppers, celery, mushrooms and any other favourites
- Sliced fresh bread
- Meats or seafood
Whilst the cheese is melting in the coupelles, guests can cook their meat or seafood to their liking on the top of the grill. They can even throw the vegetables on to cook them slightly or crisp the potatoes up. The beauty of this is that everyone can select what they would like to eat and how they would like to eat it.
You can also serve apple slices, to cut through the sweetness, and other treats that you might usually serve with cheese.
Could I serve other cheeses?
What drinks should I serve with Raclette?
A white wine is a great choice to pair with Raclette. A Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Pinot Grigio would all work well. You could also serve a light wheat ale or a fruity Pinot Noir for red wine lovers.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab some supplies and you could be hosting the dinner party that will have all your friends hoping for a second invite!
How do you serve your Raclette? What are your top dinner party tips? Let us know in the comments!
It’s one of the nation’s favorites: the grilled cheese.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve tried a lot of grilled cheeses. You’ve probably already decided whether you like to butter your bread on both sides (we’re firmly in the yes camp!). You might have found your favorite cheese or chosen the ultimate bread. Well today, we’re going to show you how to take your grilled cheese to the next level with some clever additions and changes.
1. Add fruit
We absolutely love a sweet and savory combo! Adding fruit to your grilled cheese is an incredible way to add sweetness. You might want to choose a cheese based on the fruit that you’re going to use. Blueberries with mascarpone, peaches with gouda, apple butter with pepper jack, and strawberries with mozzarella are all great combinations. You could even create a Hawaiian pizza inspired grilled cheese with ham and pineapple.
2. Go for different bread
You might have found your favorite loaf, but that doesn’t mean you need to always reach for it. Have you tried brioche bread for your grilled cheese? It gets an incredible caramelization from its high sugar content. You could also try bagels! Even croissants work really well. Donuts and pound cake are an extra decadent addition to a sweet grilled cheese. Trust us, get creative and try a different bread for your grilled cheese this week.
3. Add pickles and relishes
Some of you will be purists who want the cheesiest grilled cheese that they can find, but we’re pretty partial to a good pickle in our sandwiches. It cuts through the richness and will pack a flavour punch at the same time. A spoonful of mustard can also work wonders with the right cheese.
4. Top it with a fried egg
Whether you like yours over easy or sunny side up, you won’t be sorry that you topped your grilled cheese with a fried egg. It does mean that you’ll have to use a knife and fork to dig in, rather than picking it up, but that’s a small sacrifice to make for the perfect combination of bread, melted cheese, and oozing egg yolks.
5. Go wild
We know that there’s a combination that you’ve dreamed of but haven’t dared to try. Now is the time! You want a mac and grilled cheese? You got it! Want to put crushed up pretzels inside? It sounds like a great idea! You want to grill chocolate and cheese between slices of cake? Go for it!
However you make your grilled cheese, we want you to love it. Pop into Shisler’s Cheese House to pick up your favorite cheeses and condiments.
Tell us about your grilled cheese inspiration in the comments!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about those ingredients that we take for granted, like a simple maple syrup. Our pure amber maple syrup is tapped and processed right here in Ohio’s Amish Country. It’s available in 8oz. and 16oz. sizes so you can stock up for home or buy some as a gift.
It’s also so delicious that we know it’s not just for pancakes. Read on to find our great ideas for enjoying our maple syrup.
1. Add it to your oatmeal
If you want to add maple syrup to your breakfast, but you don’t want to eat pancakes every day, try it on top of your oatmeal. Add blueberries for extra freshness.
2. Use it to roast vegetables
Carrots and parsnips are deliciously sweet when combined with maple syrup for roasting. You can also add it to roasted tomatoes before making a salad for that lovely caramelization. It’s also great with Brussel sprouts; that’s certainly one way to get everyone eating them!
3. Stir it into your coffee
If you love those flavored, syrupy coffees from the store then now you can create them at home with a drop of maple syrup.
4. Drizzle it over ice cream
An easy way to make ice cream into a dinner party dessert.
5. Make granola
Before baking your favorite granola ingredients, add some maple syrup. You’ll get crunchy clusters filled with sweetness.
6. Add it to your applesauce
When you make applesauce, add a dash of cinnamon and a little maple syrup. You can keep your special ingredient a secret or share it with the world!
7. Use it as a glaze
Mixed with mustard, maple syrup is a fantastic glaze for salmon or pork. Simply brush it on before it goes in the oven.
8. Use it as a marinade
Whilst it makes a great glaze, it’s an even better marinade. Use it for chicken or turkey before you fry it. You’ll get crisp, caramelized parts and tender meat that is sure to please a crowd.
9. Add it to your salad dressings
You might be used to adding honey to your salad dressings, so why not try maple syrup for sweetness next time?
10. Use it in your jam recipes
You need to be careful when adding extra sweetness to jams, but if you’re making a fiery chili jam then a little maple syrup can do wonders for the flavor.
11. Make popcorn with it
If you love a movie night with homemade popcorn, then this is going to revolutionize it. Pour maple syrup onto hot popcorn and let it glaze all of the kernels. You could even add crispy bacon bits for true indulgence!
12. Use it in cheesecake
We’re pretty sure that we don’t need to convince you why this is a good idea! You could add it to the cheesecake mix or use it as a glaze on the top.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our ideas for using maple syrup without always thinking of pancakes. How do you use your syrup? Let us know in the comments!
As regular readers will know, we’re huge fans of sharing fantastic cheese recipes with you.
If you’re needing some fresh to pep up your January, there’s nothing better than our homemade mozzarella. It’s ready in just 30 minutes and you can make it at home. Even better, once you’ve made some delicious mozzarella, you get to eat it!
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day after it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week in the fridge.
Derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania, mozzarella is the diminutive form of mozza (“cut”) or mozzare (“to cut off”) derived from the method of working. The term is first mentioned in 1570, cited in a cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, reading “milk cream, fresh butter, ricotta cheese, fresh Mozzarella, and milk”.
You probably already have some favorite mozzarella recipes, but we hope our ideas will inspire you to make some cheese today.
1. On a pizza
We know this isn’t a new idea, but if you’ve never made pizza at home then now is definitely the time to give it a go. Pizza dough is really easy to make and if you get yourself a pizza stone you will be able to enjoy the crispy base you love without even leaving the house.
You only need a little mozzarella, to stop the dough from becoming soggy, and then you add your favorite toppings. You could even put some mozzarella on the edges of the pizza and roll over the dough to make your own stuffed crust. Invite your friends over for a pizza party and they’re sure to marvel at your homemade cheese.
2. In a fruity salad
Whilst you might always think of having mozzarella in a Caprese salad with tomatoes, its creaminess is the perfect accompaniment to a salad with fruits.
Combine mozzarella with figs and green beans, oranges and arugula, or peaches and basil for a great pick-me-up salad. All of these will go perfectly with ham or bacon. Get creative and try your own combinations, too.
3. In a burger
No, we don’t mean in a bun with your burger, we actually mean in a burger. This is another recipe to try at home if you’ve never had a go before. Patties can be made simply out of ground beef, bread crumbs, an egg and salt and pepper. But next time you make them, roll a small piece of mozzarella into the middle. When they cook, the cheese will melt inside and will ooze deliciousness with every bite.
Make sure to fill your bun with your favorite salad and relishes for real perfection.
If you’re looking for a wine pairing for mozzarella, a fruity Sauvignon Blanc will work perfectly with the mild freshness of the cheese. If you prefer red wine, the cherry flavors of Sangiovese or Chianti would work well.
Let us know what you make in the comments! We’d love to hear your ideas for using mozzarella.
We know what you’re thinking. Surely, you can’t have chocolate and cheese? But we’re here to tell you that at Shisler’s Cheese House, you can, in fact, have both!
Our chocolate cheese is made from a local recipe and all locally produced ingredients combining fine chocolate fudge with premium cream cheese. The result is the perfect smooth and creamy balance of sweet chocolate and mild cheese.
This could be a perfect gift for that food lover in your life who has everything and is always on the hunt for new flavors to try.
We’re also sharing several different ways to really enjoy this here on the blog today. We’re sharing sweet ideas, but we’d love to hear from you if you enjoy this in a savory dish!
1. As a delicious snack
Our chocolate cheese is perfect for those mid-afternoon sweet cravings. Some of our customers even like to enjoy it with peanut butter. We love it as a movie night treat with our popcorn! It’s also delicious when paired with nuts, especially almonds. It can be easy to get bored when we eat the same snacks all the time, so try something new today.
2. Baked into brownies
If you love cheesecake brownies, this is a little bit of a cheat to make them even more quickly and easily than usual. Fold some chopped up chunks of chocolate cheese into your favorite brownie mix for a cheesecake style swirl. You’re sure to impress at the next bake sale with this innovative twist.
3. With a glass of dessert wine
Serve with a glass of sweet Moscato wine after dinner and see if your guests can guess what they are eating! You could even add to the fun by serving other mysterious foods, or give them a clue by creating a whole cheeseboard full of sweet and savory pairings. Add jellies and pickles to really get creative.
4. Grated over cakes and desserts
Instead of a dusting of cocoa or powdered sugar, add the wow factor by grating over a little chocolate cheese. It will look great and add a hint of chocolate flavor to your creations.
5. Grated over hot chocolate
You’ve got whipped cream, mini marshmallows, a chocolate flake, and now… chocolate cheese! This will melt into the top of your hot chocolate for a delicious, creamy effect.
6. In an ice cream sundae
Just as you might add cubes of fudge to your favorite ice cream sundae, you could add chopped chocolate cheese. Be sure to pile it in with plenty of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, brownies, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles. You could even add a cherry sauce for a real pop of flavor.
We hope you enjoyed our ideas for eating chocolate cheese today. We are really excited to offer you chocolate cheese at Shisler’s Cheese House and we hope to see you soon to try it. We challenge you to find your favorite way to eat it and let us know in the comments.
You can even order online right now.
We love sharing recipes with our readers and customers here at Shisler’s Cheese House.
Today, we are going to help you welcome in the New Year with some delicious halloumi recipes.
Last year, we shared a great recipe to make your own mouthwatering halloumi. This is surprisingly easy to make at home. If you’ve shied away from making your own cheese, halloumi is a great place to start. The result is a salty, slightly squeaky cheese that can be grilled or fried to perfection. If you’re missing those summer cookouts, these recipes will pick you up and give you that sunny boost!
Halloumi is best cooked under the grill or in a griddle pan, to get that lovely charred effect that you would achieve on a barbecue in the summer. It can also be baked in the oven with vegetables to add to salads.
If you’re trying to cut down on the amount of meat you eat this year, halloumi can be a great alternative.
What You Need
A thick halloumi slice for each burger
1 red onion
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp harissa paste/chopped chilies (optional)
- Add a small amount of oil to your griddle pan. Cut a thick slice of halloumi for each person and fry them until golden brown.
- At the same time, fry up a sliced red onion over a medium heat. When this has become soft, tip in 1/2 tbsp brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of harissa paste or chopped chilies. You can leave these out if you are not a spice lover, but do add the sugar and let the onions become caramelized.
- Grab your favorite type of bun – we like brioche – and layer your halloumi with the caramelized onions, salad, and your favorite sauces.
The beauty of a burger is that you can customize it to make it your own. Choose your salad; add your favorite pickles; change the spices used to your liking.
Halloumi and Watermelon Salad
This is a really refreshing recipe that is sure to brighten up even the coldest of days.
What you need
1 cup (225g) of bulgar wheat/couscous
10 medium slices of halloumi
1 cucumber, halved lengthways to scoop out the seeds and then sliced
Large bunch of mint, finely chopped
Juice and zest of a lemon
2 cups (450g) watermelon chunks
Salad bowl/large plate
- Cook your bulgar wheat or couscous according to the packet instructions. Set this aside.
- Add a small amount of oil to your griddle pan. Fry your halloumi slices until golden brown.
- Mix the cucumber, mint, and lemon juice and zest with the bulgar wheat or couscous.
- Transfer this to a salad bowl or a large plate. Top with the watermelon, halloumi, and a drizzle of olive oil.
We really hope that you will enjoy these recipes. Halloumi is a really diverse cheese that takes on flavor well, so you could use your favorite marinade How do you like to eat your halloumi? Let us know in the comments!
We want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year and a wonderful 2018!
Naturally, our thoughts have turned to New Year’s resolutions. We’ve compiled a small list of resolutions that we can help you with here at Shisler’s Cheese House. If you’re in need of inspiration for the coming year, then look no further.
If your first thoughts are those of fitness and health, then you may want to head to our Skinny Alternatives section. Here, you’ll find healthy cheeses, sugar-free chocolates, calorie-free dressings and a wide range of snacks to ward off the worst of the post-holiday blues.
We’re firm believers that resolutions don’t all have to be about what you’re going to cut out. That’s why we’ve put together a few other ideas that you might like to try.
Perhaps you want to try some new cheeses that you’ve never eaten before? If you want to learn more about the cheese you eat, read some of our other blog posts that will teach you everything you need to know. You can even subscribe so that our posts hit your inbox as soon as they’re published.
Another idea that we love is to try a new recipe each week. You could head to our Gourmet Foods section for inspiration and dig into your recipe books to try something new. There are, of course, tons of recipes available online and we offer some over on the blog too. You could even use our Weekly Specials for inspiration.
If you’re super busy and find it difficult to make time to cook, you could make a simple resolution to enjoy a home-cooked meal once a week.
However you’re starting 2018, we hope that it’s a prosperous one and we look forward to welcoming you to Shisler’s Cheese House soon!