Processed Cheese

This one came completely as a bolt from the blue. Anyone would love to tell you that they saw this coming, but I would be lying if I did. I grew up, as perhaps others did, eating a particular brand of cheese in India. To me, that name was synonymous with cheese. I do not think I tasted any other till I was well in my teens. Therefore the affront was palpable when suddenly Research showed up claiming that it was not even cheese. It was a cheese product. The word product made all the difference. It meant something made from cheese. Technically, if you put lots of cheese on a pizza, the pizza could then claim to be a cheese product. I am joking, but let us learn more.

The primary difference between natural and processed cheese is the whey and emulsifiers. In processed cheese, the whey is retained, and emulsifiers are added along with salt, flavour, and even heaven forbid colour. This combination allows the cheese to have consistency. It also allows an even spread when put on your pizza. Processed cheese may also contain preservatives and additives. So much so that the Food and Drugs Department does not even allow processed cheese to be labelled cheese. Processed cheese was first produced in the last century. It has now become a mainstay in our diet.

Natural cheese, on the other hand, is made by removing water from milk by adding bacteria, lemon juice or vinegar. The flavour develops as it ages. It contains very few ingredients and is essentially milk. Examples of natural cheese include Swiss, Havarti, Gruyere, Parmesan, Gouda, Cheddar, Feta and Goat Cheese.

How do you tell the difference? It is the ingredients stupid! Cheese that is made from a bunch of stuff is not cheese. It is a cheese product. Like Pizza!