Why Doesn’t Feta Cheese Melt?
After spreading feta cheese on your homemade pizza or stuffing it in your grilled cheese sandwich, have you ever wondered why it does not melt?
Well, you must know that not all types of cheese melt, and feta cheese is one of those that do not melt. Due to its high water content and extremely high acidity, feta cheese does not flow as freely as other types of cheese, and it remains resistant to melting.
For instance, in every 100 grams of feta cheese, 19% consists of acids, like pantothenic acid, responsible for its unique taste.
Also known as vitamin B-5, Pantothenic acid contributes to the resistant melting nature of feta cheese since it has an extremely high melting point.
Similarly, in every 150 grams of any feta cheese, 83 grams is pure water, making its water content equivalent to the amount of water you should take in a day to remain healthy.
Its water content has plenty of calcium, which also contributes to why feta cheese does not melt.
Can You Heat Feta Cheese?
Generally, when you heat other types of cheese like cheddar or mozzarella, they become flowy and stringy, ideal for use as a delicious sauce for many dishes.
However, when you heat feta cheese, it simply becomes incredibly soft but does not fully liquefy as other cheeses do.
This is because when you heat feta cheese, its high acid content dissolves the calcium that usually holds the cheese together.
Its water content evaporates, and the protein bonds tighten and continue to solidify. In turn, the moisture evaporates, leaving none inside the cheese to allow it to liquefy completely.
As a result, feta cheese does not melt and maintains its shape as you continue to heat it.
Can Feta Cheese Melt In The Oven?
Although feta cheese does not melt, some recipes demand the use of melted feta cheese. Luckily, there are some proven ways that you can use to make feta cheese look melty.
One of these methods is by putting it in the microwave and heating it on medium heat.
Due to its high water content, feta cheese can melt, or rather, become softer. First, bring the feta cheese to room temperature for approximately 20 minutes.
But, do not allow fresh cheese out at room temperature for more than two hours.
Next, crumble it up into small pieces and place the crumbled pieces in the oven on medium heat. The smaller the crumbled pieces of feta cheese, the faster and easier they will melt in the microwave.
Small pieces allow the heat from the oven to penetrate faster for melting.
Then, leave it to nuke in the oven at 15-second increments or until it begins to disintegrate. By starting with medium heat, you avoid clumping up the cheese and separating its fat.
You can opt to add a splash of starch, like milk, corn, or flour, to hasten the process for a creamy and smooth sauce. Stir it consistently to achieve the desired texture.
However, if you choose to melt your feta cheese in the oven, it is advisable not to heat it in its original storage container.
This is because most of these plastic containers cannot withstand high temperatures as they are ideal for use once.
By putting such containers in the oven, you risk them melting or warping, which could result in the presence of harmful chemicals on your feta cheese.
As a result, ensure that you use microwave-friendly containers when melting feta cheese in the microwave.
What Other Methods Can You Use To Melt Crumbled Feta Cheese?
If you do not want to melt your feta cheese using your oven, there are several other ways to melt crumbled feta cheese.
If you are looking to make an artisanal Mediterranean grilled cheese sandwich with different types of cheese, including feta cheese, you are in luck.
By mixing feta cheese with other types of cheeses that easily melt, like mozzarella, gouda, or muenster cheese, you will achieve that stringy and soupy deliciousness you want.
Another method you can easily melt crumbled feta cheese is by double boiling it. This process involves placing a pot or container with crumbled feta cheese over another pot of boiling water.
Add a minimal amount of whole, 2%, or skim milk into the pot with feta and stir it up constantly until it attains your desired consistency for the feta cheese sauce.
You can also opt to add water if you would like to thin out your feta cheese sauce more or cornstarch if you want to thicken it further.
After all this, you will have your bowl of melty feta cheese ready for dipping, pouring, or scooping away.
Is Feta Cheese Healthy?
Made from sheep and goat’s milk, feta cheese is one of the oldest cheeses known to the world, popular for its slightly sour and salty taste and rich aroma.
This soft and white-colored cheese is full of nutrients, including calcium, saturated fat, proteins, and sodium.
However, it has lesser fat content than other types of cheese, making it more preferable for moderate consumption and easy digestion.
Furthermore, feta cheese is also a good source of minerals and vitamins, like riboflavin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
As a result, this cheese aids in maintaining healthy skin, a healthy nervous system, and optimum energy production. Due to its high calcium content, it also helps in increasing bone density and preventing osteoporosis.
Other benefits of eating feta cheese include weight management, improved gut health due to their probiotics, and lowers’ risk of developing diabetes. In addition, it also aids in managing existing blood sugar-related conditions.
On the other hand, feta cheese also contains high sodium and saturated fat content, potentially harmful to your health.
Some of the potential risks include increased blood pressure, which could lead to other chronic issues like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
Due to its high levels of calcium and phosphorus, feta cheese could also lead to weakened bones, especially among people with kidney disease.
Furthermore, unpasteurized cheeses like feta can be pretty harmful to pregnant women. This is because such cheeses have Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium responsible for causing mild flu-like symptoms among adults, and can be very harmful to unborn babies.
Feta cheese also contains a naturally occurring substance found in fermented and aged foods, tyramine. Conditions like severe headaches, blood-pressure spikes, and heart palpitations are often linked to this substance.
Which Other Cheeses Do Not Melt Easily?
There are a variety of cheeses that do not melt, most of them being white cheese. Some of them include paneer, ricotta, cottage cheese, Halloumi, Quark, Queso Blanco, Blue Cheese, and Mascarpone.
Although most of these are white cheese, there are a few exceptions.
Mozarella is a white cheese that melts quite easily. This is because it consists of rennet and not food-grade acid.
Rennet refers to an enzyme found in an unweaned calf’s fourth stomach. Using this enzyme to make cheese facilitates the growth of an entire culture of bacteria within the cheese.
As a result, upon heating cheeses made from this enzyme, it alters their protein structure, allowing them to melt.
Other examples of white cheese that melt include Camembert, Brie, and other moldy white-looking cheeses considered aged cheese.
Once you subject them to high heat, they will readily melt and attain a stringy appearance.
Although it is not an actual type of cheese, pre-shredded cheese is also known to melt rarely. This is because of the treatment of the shreds using a non-stick powder prior to its packaging.
The treatment is mainly done to prevent the pre-shredded cheese from balling up into one big chunk when packaged.
However, it also ends up ruining the chance of the cheese ever melting or from melting properly. In turn, you end up with small chunks of cheese on your dish, which may prevent everyone from enjoying your dish.
Thus, many culinary experts advise against buying pre-shredded cheese as it is likely to ruin your dish’s look and texture.
It is advisable to buy real Parmesan cheese and melt it into your pasta or grating it, if necessary. The process is not time-consuming, and you are sure to get salty and melty cheese on your dish.
Cheese is an incredible dairy product and a staple in many dishes all over the world. Now that you know that feta cheese does not melt and why you can proceed to make your preferred dishes by choosing the ideal cheese type for them.
Remember, there are also a variety of dishes that you can make using feta cheese and other non-melty cheese.
From grating it over pasta dishes and salads, to simply eating it without cooking along with melons and other firm fruits, like pluots and plums, the list of recipes is endless.