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Cheddar cheese powder is a common item seen on the ingredient lists of cheese recipes. What exactly is it, what does it contain, and is it a healthy or at least harmless additive to cultured foods?
How is cheese powder made?
Cheese powder is essentially dehydrated cheese. It can be made a number of ways, but the most common commercial procedure is to melt fresh, whole cheese and spray it through a hot dryer, producing a thick, velvety powder that can then be added to popcorn, to breads and sauces, and, oddly enough, to homemade cheese recipes.
Cheese powder is most commonly made from cheddar but can come in Swiss, sharp, and a few other varieties. It is not usually sold on supermarket shelves, but can be obtained through some online cheesemaking supply houses and spice or baking goods shops.
Why use cheese powder?
Cheese powder in cheese recipes is most commonly used for flavor value. Sometimes a cheese (especially one eaten fresh) will taste either bland or pungent, especially in the case of a goat milk cheese, and the addition of cheese powder can really change the flavor.
A high-quality cheese powder usually contains cheese, whey, salt and perhaps an anti-caking additive. Look for cheese powder that is a cooking additive, not one that is specifically for sprinkling over snack foods. Check the ingredient list before purchasing to avoid chemicals and additives.
How do I add cheese powder to recipes?
If you’d like to add cheese powder to a recipe, use it in mesophilic cheeses with short cooking periods. Add the cheese powder to the milk directly after heating the milk and before adding cultures. The general ratio is about ½ teaspoon to 1 gallon of milk.
Depending on the salt content of the cheese powder, it may be necessary to adjust the salt amount in the cheese recipe.
In houses with small children or other picky eaters, it may be a compromise to make homemade cheese a bit more of a flavor-popping by adding cheese powder. Overall, using cheese powder is merely a flavor enhancement practice. Determine for yourself whether using a good quality powder is worth it.
Not Keen on Using Cheese Powder?
Learn more ways to flavor your cheese or try new recipes, like these:
|Cheese Starter Cultures|
|Rennet and Additives for Cheesemaking|
|Cheesemaking Supplies and Books|