Up to now, we have been talking about so-called natural cheeses, made by curdling milk and ripening the curds. Process cheese, by contrast, is manufactured by grinding one or more natural cheeses, heating and blending them with emulsifiers and other ingredients, and pouring the mixture into molds to solidify. Process cheese is a uniform product that does not age or ripen like natural cheese.Thus, it keeps very well. It is usually mild in flavor and gummy in texture.
Because of its melting quality and low price, it is often used in cooking. However, it is not as good a value as its price implies. Because it is relatively flavorless,you have to use much more of it to get the same flavor as from a smaller quantity of sharp cheddar.
In addition to its price and keeping qualities, its chief advantages are that it melts easily and that its blandness appeals to many people who don't like more flavorful cheese.
American cheese usually refers to process cheese, although some people use this name for cheddar. In the United States, most process cheeses are made from cheddar, while European process cheeses more often contain Swiss-type cheeses. Among them is a process cheese called Gruyère, which bears little resemblance to true Gruyère.
Process cheese food and process cheese spread contain a lower percentage of cheese and more moisture than a product labeled simply process cheese. Cold pack or club cheese, on the other hand, is not heated and pasteurized like process cheese but is simply ground and mixed with flavorings and seasonings to a spreadable consistency. Some brands are fairly flavorful.
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