8.3 Cheese Cookery and Varieties


  • To apply principles of cheese cookery from previous labs in preparing various cheese dishes.
  • To identify the distinguishing characteristics of a variety of cheeses and cheese products.

Laboratory Problems

  • Prepare various cheese dishes using mild, sharp, and process Cheddar cheeses.
  • Taste a variety of cheeses.


Prepare each of the  dishes according to the recipes below, using mild, sharp, and process Cheddar cheeses.  Weigh cheese for each recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese

⅔ cup uncooked macaroni 3 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups water 2 tbsp dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. butter
White Sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk 1/8 tsp salt

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until almost tender. Drain and rinse with hot water. Prepare white sauce: Melt butter in saucepan.  Blend in flour and salt; remove from heat. Add milk, stirring to blend; return to heat and stir gently while heating quickly to a full boil. Remove from heat. Wait 45 seconds, and blend cheese into sauce. Stir in macaroni. Place in 1-pint baking dish. Melt 1 tsp butter, mix with crumbs, and sprinkle over top. Set baking dish on wire rack in pan of hot water and bake uncovered at 350°F for 30 minutes.


Cheese Rarebit (Rabbit) on Melba Toast

Melba Toast 1½ tsp. flour
1½ tsp. butter ½ cup milk
¼ tsp. dry mustard 2 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
dash cayenne

Prepare Melba toast.  Make white sauce from butter, mustard, cayenne, flour and milk. Melt butter in saucepan.  Blend in flour and seasonings; remove from heat.  Add milk, stirring to blend; return to heat and stir gently while heating quickly to a full boil.  Remove from heat.  Cool 45 seconds; blend in cheese.  If necessary, heat the rarebit in a double boiler before serving.  Serve immediately over Melba toast on a warmed plate.

Melba Toast

Trim crusts from two slices of bread.  Cut into rectangles or triangles as desired.  Place on baking sheet and bake at 300°F until a delicate brown and crisp all the way through, approximately 20-25 minutes.


Characteristics of Standard Product:

Flavor Texture
Distinctive cheese flavor, typical for type of cheese.

Smooth, well-blended sauce of uniform consistency.

Some graininess expected from less-ripened cheese.

Evaluate appearance, flavor and texture of each product:

Product Mild Cheddar Extra Sharp Cheddar Process Cheddar
Macaroni and Cheese
Cheese Rarebit on Melba Toast

Natural Cheeses and Cheese Blends

Record Observations of Various Cheeses and Cheese Blends

Note distinguishing characteristics and compositional differences.  Sample cheese with cheese crackers, if desired.

Type Name % Fat*,** % Moisture* Distinguishing Characteristics Sensory Qualities
Soft, unripened Cottage 4 80 Acid coagulated (small curd)
Cream 35 54 Acid coagulated
Neufchatel 23 62 Acid coagulated
Firm, unripened Gjetost 30 13 Goats’ milk, whey cheese 44% lactose
Mozzarella 22 50 Stretched curd
Soft, ripened 1-2 months Camembert 24 52 Mold and bacteria ripened
Limburger 27 48 Yeast and bacteria ripened
Semisoft, ripened 1½-4 months Havarti 36 42 Cows’ or buffaloes’ milk, enzyme coagulated, small openings (‘eyes’)
Feta 21 55 Sheep’s milk, stored in salt brine, open texture
Muenster 30 42 Yeast and bacteria ripened
Firm, ripened 1-12 months or more Cheddar 33 37 Bacteria ripened
Colby 32 38 Open texture, bacteria ripened
Edam 28 42 Bacteria ripened
Gouda 27 41 Bacteria ripened
Provolone 27 41 Stretched curd smoked
Swiss 27 37 Gas forming bacteria ripened
Ripened 5 months to 2 years Parmesan 26 29 Very hard, granular, must be grated
Romano 27 31 Very hard, granular, must be grated
Blue-vein mold-ripened 2-12 months Blue 29 42 Blue mold cheese from cow’s or goats’ milk
Roquefort 31 39 Blue mold cheese from ewes’ milk, made in Roquefort, France
Process Cheese Blends:  Process Cheese is made by grinding or mixing together by heating and stirring one or more cheeses of the same or different varieties.  An emulsifying agent is then blended into the mixture.  Small amounts of acid, cream, water, and spices or flavorings may be added.

Analysis:   £ 40% moisture, ³ 32% fat for process Cheddar cheese

Example: Deluxe American Process Cheese

Cheese Food is made the same way as the cheese (process or cold pack) except that milk, skim milk, cheese whey or whey albumin, or their concentrates, may be added, as well as acid, water, spices, or flavorings.

Analysis:  £ 44% moisture,  ³ 23% fat.


Process Cheese Spread is made the same way as process cheese food except that it may contain stabilizers, more moisture, and less fat, and must be spreadable at 70°F.

Analysis:  £ 44-60% moisture, ³ 20% fat for process Cheddar Cheese.

Example: Cheese Whiz

Cheese products that do not meet any of the standards listed above may be labeled “imitation cheese” or “cheese products”.

Example: boxed Velveeta

* From Composition of Foods.  Dairy and Egg Products;  Raw, process and Prepared.  agr.      Handbook No. 8-=1, 1976. pp. 1-33

** Cheeses labeled “reduced fat” must, like any other food, contain at least 25% less fat than that standard for the cheese.



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Basic Scientific Food Preparation Lab Manual Copyright © 2023 by Iowa State University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.