You’ve heard there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but how many people really know these types of skills anymore? Slicing cheese may sound like a task that is going to be harder than it happens to be, but we’ve got great tips and tricks for you.
Who Cut The Cheese?
Laugh all you want, but when it comes down to preparing sliced cheese that comes in a block is a matter of knowing your cheese. All cheese has a different hardness based on the type of cheese you buy. Softer cheese is easy to cut, yet doesn’t always give you uniform slices while harder varieties will need delicate control. Let’s look at some of the most basic methods for slicing a perfect cheese slice every single time.
Determine Your Cheese Hardness
There is a big difference if you’re attempting to slice Brie or Camembert versus slicing Cheddar or Gouda. It all comes down to moisture content that will show you how hard or soft your cheese happens to be. Not every block or chunk of cheese needs to be perfect slices you make for a sandwich. Perhaps you just want to make simple snack portions for a party, picnic, or appetizer.
For softer cheese, you want to stick to a sharp knife that will cut through the cheese with a nice clean edge. Harder cheese will also require a sharp knife but is not limited to special gadgets that have cutting wires or attached blades.
Gadgets Vs Knives for Cheese
No matter what kind of gadget you see being sold for slicing cheese, make sure that you are using it properly. The biggest promise that a gadget will be misleading is that it works on all types of cheese. This isn’t true because softer cheese might be pulverized into a mushy and malformed disaster otherwise. Semi-hard and hard cheese is best for slicing gadgets that have a cutting wire attached.
Don’t be stupid and try using a mandolin. Not only does cheese have surface tension, but you also need a wire that can cut through cheese according to the wire tension too. Using a wire cutter with a roller attached is a simple solution that allows the cheese to stay in one place while the wire slips through it. The same applies to a cutting wire attached to a wooden cutting board. The cheese will stick well to the cutting board while the wire slices through.
If you use a knife while cutting cheese, make sure your knife is clean and freshly sharpened. Use a honing rod, kitchen knife sharpener, or anything that will keep your knife edge aligned and sharp. No matter if you have soft or hard cheese since sharp knives will never fail you for cutting slices, blocks, wedges, or strips. It won’t hurt to wipe your knife off onto a soft washcloth or moistened kitchen paper towel.
This keeps each slice nice and clean, especially with soft cheese that can deposit more cheese particles or cream onto your blade.
Slicing through cheese is a matter of hand control and allowing the knife to do its job. Don’t force the knife if the blade is sharp enough. Let the gravity and weight of your arm do most of the work for you. The rest depends on the density of your cheese to resist being sliced sooner than you would like. All cheese is similar to wax, as it can deform and even crack if you use too much blade pressure.
If you’re making special shapes such as cheese balls, blocks, and cubes, or cheese sticks, there are special methods for each of them. If you want to make it easier to pick these up you can use toothpicks poked into the balls or cubes. You can also use extra thin pretzel sticks stuck into the cheese so the entire snack is 100% edible. Perhaps this isn’t as attractive for a cocktail party, but kids will love the novelty of cheese on a stick they can also eat!
Using a melon baller is a neat way to scoop cheese if you’re using semi-soft cheese but isn’t great for hard cheese. You’ll need to have a cup of warm water to heat up your scooping tool. Each cut needs to start at one end and come out the other so you have one solid piece. Dunk and clean your scooper each time for the best results. This works great if you decide to make deep-fried cheese balls
Making Cubes And Diced Blocks
Take a block of cheese and measure how thick you want your first slice to be. Bite-size is always best so nothing thicker than -inch is recommended. First, cut your slab into a 1/2 -inch slab so it can be sectioned into half-inch sticks. To make cubes, turn the stick 90-degrees toward you so you can cut evenly spaced -inch cubes. To make smaller cubes or diced cheese bits, reduce the thickness and repeat the process according to that thickness.
This is great if you like to have finger foods and will appeal to everyone at the snack table. Determine the thickness and stick to that for each slice. Don’t go thicker than -inch per piece so they resemble thin-cut fries. This can be easier if you have a wire cutter attached to a cutting board but a handheld cheese cutter works just fine if it’s adjustable. Then, you slice the same thickness from each slab to get uniform cheese sticks.
Extra Safety Tips
If you’re the kind of person who likes to freeze your cheese to make it last longer, be sure to let it defrost before cutting it. Frozen cheese is extremely dangerous to cut when it’s in a solid form. You can cut yourself all too easily because of the amount of pressure it takes to cut through it. Put it into the fridge for half a day so it’s unfrozen and won’t be a burden to cut right away.
If you’re going to do any deep frying of cheese, look for a cheese that will hold up better under this kind of heat. Grilling cheese is best for this kind of deep-frying since it won’t turn into goop. For that matter, choose a cheese that’s semi-hard if you don’t like grilling cheese. Not to say that you can try mozzarella cheese if you’re putting a batter over it first. This kind of cheese can be a mess. so be careful whenever frying it in hot oil.