Whether melted in a grilled cheese sandwich, shredded over a Tex-Mex taco, or cubed and added to a charcuterie board, we can’t get enough of this classic cheese. But while we believe all cheese is good cheese, there are a few things to consider when it comes to picking the perfect cheddar for your dish.
What Does Cheddar Cheese Taste Like?
Cheddar cheese is available in a range of varieties, from mild to extra sharp, and comes as either yellow cheddar (which is more of a vibrant orange) or white cheddar.
Mild cheddar, which is aged for the shortest period of time, is creamy and buttery with a nutty flavor and a slight tang. Cheddar that’s aged longer, such as medium or sharp cheddar, gradually loses its creamy quality and develops a sharper, tangy flavor with a rich nuttiness and palpable saltiness.
There’s no difference in flavor between white and yellow cheddar, as the annatto coloring used in yellow cheddar is the only distinction between the two.
How Cheddar Cheese is Made
As with most cheeses, the process of making cheddar starts with coagulating raw milk with rennet. The resulting curds are set, cut, cooked, and drained of whey.
What sets cheddar apart is the cheddaring process. The curds are cut into loaves and stacked on top of each other to press out any excess moisture. The dried curds are then milled, salted, and pressed into molds. From there, the cheese is aged anywhere between two months (for mild cheddar) to over a year (for extra sharp cheddar).
Cheddar Cheese Uses
Mild cheddar cheese is a great melting cheese and a perfect fit in grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese pizza, or fondue. Smooth and creamy young cheddar cheese is the secret to our velvety rich Vermont mac and cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese, meanwhile, is great for adding a more pronounced cheesy tanginess. It’s a key ingredient in our broccoli cheddar soup and shrimp and grits. The mature cheese doesn’t melt as well as younger cheddar due to its lower moisture content, so add hot water or broth to create a more silky and creamy texture.