No good pasta dish is complete without a sprinkling of cheese on top to tie the dish together. That cheese has to be Parmesan, of course. But one question that all cheese lovers want to know is how meltable a cheese is. So, does Parmesan cheese melt?
Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese so will require more heat to begin melting. However, freshly grated parmesan cheese does melt nicely if given time. Processed blocks of parmesan are extremely difficult to melt without burning the cheese.
What Is The Best Parmesan Cheese To Melt?
The secret to getting parmesan cheese to melt quickly and easily is freshness. A newly opened block of cheap parmesan cheese will be much easier to melt than a 2-week-old Parmigiano-Reggiano.
This is because the longer parmesan is exposed to oxygen, the harder it becomes, making it very difficult to melt.
So, what if you could get your hands on the freshest parmesan cheese products? Which one would be the easiest to melt?
Parmigiano-Reggiano parmesan cheese is always best when served fresh and most Italian restaurants will have fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano on hand to provide their customers with the best experience.
The creaminess of the unprocessed, natural cheese means that it is one of the most straightforward parmesan cheese varieties to melt when fresh.
However, Parmigiano-Reggiano can be pretty expensive, so most people buy cheaper pre-grated parmesan cheese instead.
As the name would suggest, pre-grated parmesan cheese has already been shredded before it is packaged and sold, making it hard to retain the cheese’s freshness.
That is not to say that you wouldn’t be able to melt pre-grated parmesan, simply that it may not create a smooth, aesthetic cheese melt like other pre-grated cheeses.
Ground parmesan is even less fresh than pre-grated parmesan and will likely have different powders added to the mix to add bulk. Being such a processed version of parmesan means that ground parmesan is unlikely to melt well at all.
If you can get it to melt, it will probably taste odd and could ruin your dish.
The best and cheapest way to ensure you can melt parmesan cheese is to buy a block of parmesan and grate it yourself when ready to use it. You can combine it with easy-to-melt cheese varieties such as cheddar or mozzarella.
Then wrap the block back up tightly and store it in an airtight container to keep the cheese fresh for as long as possible.
Parmesan can become grainy when melted if it’s heated too quickly or at too high of a temperature. It’s best to melt it slowly and at a low temperature.
How Long Does Parmesan Cheese Take To Melt
Though parmesan cheese is a variety of hard cheese, it can melt when given patience and when cooked at the right temperature. Of course, the freshness of your parmesan will affect how quickly you can get it to melt.
Freshly treated parmesan will melt quickly. Some very high-quality parmesan will only need a little heat to melt into the perfect gooey puddle, making them the best contenders for adding some sharpness to your cheese sauce.
You may find that the parmesan you thought was high quality becomes clumpy as it melts.
This means the cheese is not as great a quality as it should be, but if you constantly stir and agitate it for 10 minutes, most of that lumpiness should melt away.
Good quality parmigiana cheese can melt at heats as low as 82C, which is about the heat of a pasta sauce as it starts to cool down. You will only need to wait a minute or two for the cheese to properly melt and incorporate into your dish at this heat on the stove.
If you want to use your oven to melt parmesan cheese, you will have to consider the heat the oven creates. The oven’s intense heat means that parmesan cheese will start to melt quickly but may also burn.
This is because parmesan cheese has next to no moisture, so can only melt and break down so much before it begins to burn.
That is why people melt parmesan into a sauce instead of trying to melt it alone.
Stirring in a splash of cream, milk, or even a mild broth can help Parmesan melt smoothly. The added liquid provides some extra moisture to compensate for the low moisture content of the cheese.
When Does Parmesan Melt?
Most cheese varieties you are used to melting have a fairly low melting point. Mozzarella has a melting point of 60°C, and Cheddar melts at 63°C. So, where does Parmesan stack up?
|Cheese Type||Melting Point (°C)|
With it melting at a higher temperature, you may think using the grill (or broiler) would be best. But this is not the case. You must use a low, slow and steady approach to avoid burning the cheese before it melts.
You need to give the cheese time to read its melting point.
Melted Parmesan is commonly used in dishes such as fettuccine Alfredo, risotto, mac and cheese, and many types of gratins.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.