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Why string cheese twine?

Illustration: Libby McGuire
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We are told not to play with our food, but I would immediately be wary of anyone biting cheese string sticks instead of pulling out their creamy tendrils. (Yeah I said, creamy tendrils.) The greatest joy of eating cheese from string comes from this action, peeling and slow flavor. So what about string cheese that creates these cords?

"The chain cheese is mozzarella, with just a little extra step to make sure you get those pretty fine strings or those hairs as my kids call them. It's lost to me, though, because I just took the cheese stick and eat it, "says Chad Galer, a Dairy Science Scientist at the National Dairy Council, which I'm now wary of. because of its non-spinning methods. But he seems to know his cheese.

Galer tells me that stretching mozzarella creates some protein structure. The way the cheese is pulled and shaped creates different protein alignments. That's why a mozzarella brick tears differently than a mozzarella ball. When cheese makers aim to create string cheeses, they heat them to a higher temperature than other forms of mozzarella, which allows the proteins to bind closely. Then the sticks are brined with salt water, which helps to create a smooth texture.

"You warm it up to about 170 degrees and you pull, stretch and kneel together so that this alignment of proteins causes the formation of fine hairs," says Galer. "You lay it in a rope, and then cut those sticks."

There are sticks that do not look like mozzarella and that look like cheese to fry, but they tend not to be tied as well and are usually labeled "cheese sticks". have a legal definition and must also include the type of cheese: partly skim mozzarella, reduced fat mozzarella, etc. Oh, and those Kraft Twists who say they're both mozzarella and cheddar? Even half of the yellow cheddar is mostly mozzarella, with a little mixed cheddar and dye. Because of the cheddar making, it does not peel like the cheese does, which requires mixing it with mozzarella.

Photo: Crystal Cartier (Getty Images)

Baker Cheese of St. Cloud, Wisconsin, claims to have invented chain cheese in the early 1970s, when one of the Baker family members realized that cutting mozzarella into shorter sticks instead of the turning into a ball or rope, would produce what was considered revolutionary at the time. time: individual cheese, the size of a snack. They sold well in bars. Today, Baker Cheese still boasts its "48 hours from farm to finish" freshness, which is actually another defining feature of the category as a whole.

Fresh cheese comes off better than aged cheese because the matrix that binds fat, protein and moisture breaks down over time. According to the US Dairy Export Council, "after three to four weeks, the cheese can be" soupy "and the strands are short and weak." That's why Galer says that the milk meant for making string cheese could arrive at a factory 48 to 72 hours after departure. product, then becomes cheese in a day.

"It's probably in a week or two at your grocery store, maybe even less in some cases," he says.

He added that the expiry date of string cheese would not necessarily be dangerous, but it might not separate as well as it should – which, unless you ask the weird ones, is everything.

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