What is the difference between pre grated cheese and cheese by the block?
The answer is simple: freshness in the final product! Pre-shredded cheese certainly has its convenience but as often is the case convenience comes with trade-offs.
Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, meant to keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag. That also means they don’t melt together as well when cooking. Freshly grated cheese lacks those additives so your Pasta Carbonara will turn out less clumpy and more smooth. Have you ever added pre shredded cheese to a recipe and it turns into a clumpy mess? This could be part of the problem.
A SMALL Step that makes a BIG Difference
Do you see the smooth and velvety texture of this Creamy Saffron Parmigiano Sauce? I used freshly grated cheese to ensure the cheese would melt into the cream properly to create a luxurious sauce that coats the pasta like a dream.
More Reasons …
1) Less expensive.
Grating your own cheese from a block of cheese is definitely cheaper than having it pre-shredded. Minimal time with maximum benefits. Enough said.
2) Hand shredded cheese tastes better.
Maybe you’ll have to do your own taste test but considering the powdery texture of wood pulp coating the outside of grated cheese, I think you’ll agree.
My favorite Products for Grating and Storing
I value my time! If I am grating my own cheese I still want a way to make it worth it in the long run. That’s why I store it in my own container. After I grate my parmigiano cheese I store it in an airtight container and it lasts up to a month (soft cheeses such as mozzarella will only last a couple of weeks). I buy a big block of Parmiggiano Reggiano (Costco has the best deal for the certified brand).
Use a high quality cheese grater. I like to use rotary (hand held with a turning handle) for grating hard cheese. These are 2 Cheese Graters I recommend for cheeses such as parmigiano and pecorino (they also work with soft cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar):
This is the air tight container I recommend for storing parmigiano and other hard cheeses:
1- TightPac America canister I keep this in the fridge and it the cheese is good for at least a month. It usually doesn’t last that long in our house since we use parmigiano on everything!
3- Shredded cheese freezes really well, especially in these reusable bags: Stasher 100% Silicone Food Grade Reusable Storage Bag