Real Cheese Matters

Below is a list of the common cheeses that you will find used in the recipes on the HomeMade Macaroni website. Each has a brief description of the flavor of the cheese as well as the origin of each type of cheese.

American Cheese

American Cheese is smooth, with light, yellow or orange color. The cheese is usually cut into square slices and it does not separate when melted. It has a mild taste. It is produced in the United States. American Cheese is made from cows milk and has a semi-soft texture.

Asiago Cheese

Asiago Cheese is made in the region of Vicenza and Trento in Italy.
It is a traditional, farmhouse and creamery, unpasteurized, hard cheese.
Asiago Cheese is made from cow’s milk.

A long and slow maturation process creates a fruity, slightly sharp cheese with a compact, granular interior full of small holes.Matured over 2 years, it becomes intensely flavored. Asiago Cheese be grated and used as a condiment. It has a hard texture.

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese is a white cheese with blue veins and sometimes crumbly interior. Originally produced in France, it is now made in many countries around the globe. Blue Cheese is made from cows milk.

This cheese generally has tangy, piquant, spicy or peppery flavors and a hard texture. Use in salad dressings, with cream cheese for spreads or to add a memorable taste to a macaroni and cheese dish.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar Cheese is the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world.
Cheddar Cheeses were originally made in England, however today they are manufactured in many countries all over the world.

Fully cured Cheddar Cheese is a semi hard,natural cheese.
Normally, the color of Cheddar ranges from white to pale yellow. Some Cheddars, however, have a color added, giving the cheese a yellow-orange color.

Cheddar Cheese is always made from cow’s milk and has a slightly crumbly texture if properly cured. Cheddar Cheese gets a sharper taste the longer it matures and is generally matured between 9 and 24 months.

Unlike other well known cheeses, Cheddar’s name is not protected so it has been used and abused by many producers around the world.

Colby Cheese

Colby Cheese is a traditional, creamery, semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk. It was named after the town in Wisconsin, USA where it was first made.
The texture of Colby Cheese is soft and springy, with a sweet and mild flavor.

Colby has a higher moisture content than Cheddar and feels more elastic.
It is sweet, rather than savory and ripens in four months. Colby must be consumed shortly after purchase or it will dry out and lose its flavor.

Colby Jack Cheese

Colby Jack, is an orange and white marbled cheese produced from a mixture of Colby Cheese a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk and Monterey Jack, also a semi-hard cheese made from cows milk. The cheese has a semi-hard texture and originated in the United States.

The flavor of Colby-Jack ranges from mild and mellow, to lightly sweet, to sharp and tangy. This cheese is very popular with Mexican dishes and works well in homemade macaroni dishes that focus on Mexican spices and flavors.

Cottage Cheese

Snow-white cottage cheese which is produced in United States, Britain and many other countries is a creamy, lumpy cheese.
It is an acid curd cheese made from cows milk, has a soft texture, and ripens in one or two days.

Cottage Cheese can be used in place of Ricotta Cheese. There are homemade macaroni recipes that call for the use of Cottage Cheese as one of the primary cheeses in the recipe.

Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese is a modern, fresh cheese made of cow’s milk with a soft, smooth texture. It is universally produced. It is an acid curd cheese, but unlike Cottage Cheese, it requires a starter culture of bacteria.

It is generally mild and velvety. Cream Cheese is perfect for cheesecakes and baking and adds a mild taste to macaroni and cheese.

Emmental Cheese

Emmental Cheese is produced in the central cantons of Switzerland. It is a traditional, unpasteurized, hard cheese made from cow’s milk, with a hard, thin rind that is covered by paper with the producer’s name on it. The aroma is sweet with tones of fresh-cut hay. The flavor is very fruity, without a tone of acidity.

Emmental Cheese has walnut-sized holes and is considered to be one of the most difficult cheeses to be produced because of the complicated hole-forming fermentation process. This cheese is occasionally used in macaroni and cheese recipes.

Feta Cheese

Feta Cheese is one of the most famous cheeses in Greece. It is soft in texture, but crumbly with some fissures. Pure white, it has a milky fresh acidity. Feta was originally made with either ewe’s milk or a mixture of ewe’s and goat’s milk, but today most feta is made with cows milk and tastes of little besides salt.

Some people are put off by the strong salt content but the salt is intended only as a preservative and is not supposed to overpower the taste of the cheese. Feta can be soaked in fresh, cold water or milk for a few minutes or longer, if desired, to make it less salty.

It is used in some of the macaroni and cheese recipes and also in a number of the macaroni salad recipes found on this site.

Fontina Cheese

Genuine Fontina Cheese comes from the Val d’Aosta region of Italy in the Alps near the French and Swiss borders. It is made from cows milk and is semi soft in texture. Fontina is dense, smooth and slightly elastic. The straw-colored interior with its small round holes has a delicate nuttiness with a hint of mild honey.

When melted, as it frequently is, the flavor is earthy with a taste of mushrooms and a fresh acidity. Fontina ripens in about three months and is the primary ingredient of Italian fonduta. Fontina Cheese matches well with the wild mushroom macaroni and cheese recipe.

Gorgonzola Cheese

Gorgonzola Cheese is a traditional blue cheese that is soft in texture. The greenish-blue penicillin mould imparts a sharp, spicy flavor and provides an excellent contrast to the rich, creamy cheese.

Gorgonzola is made in the northern Italian village, according to which the cheese has its name, either from unpasteurized or pasteurized cows milk to which the mould is added.

Gorgonzola ripens in three to six months. Its color ranges from white to straw-yellow with an unmistakable marbled green or bluish-green mould.
The taste ranges from mild to sharp, depending on age.

Gorgonzola is excellent in macaroni salads and is occasionally used in macaroni and cheese dishes.

Gouda Cheese

Named after the Dutch town of Gouda, just outside Rotterdam, Gouda Cheese accounts for more than 60% of the cheese produced in Holland. Made from cows milk Gouda Cheese is a traditional creamery cheese that is semi hard in texture.

The flavor is sweet and fruity. As time passes, the taste intensifies and becomes more complex. Mature Gouda Cheese is coated in colored wax which provides a stark contrast to the deep yellow interior.

Gouda Cheese melts well and can be used in macaroni and cheese or macaroni casserole recipes.

Gruyere Cheese

Gruyere Cheese is named after a Swiss village. It is traditional unpasteurized cheese made from cows milk that has a hard texture. The natural, rusty brown rind is hard, dry and pitted with tiny holes.

The cheese is darker yellow than Emmental but the texture is more dense and compact. Slightly grainy, the cheese has a wonderful complexity of flavors – at first fruity – later becomes more earthy and nutty.

The cheese is salted in brine for 8 days and ripened for two months. Curing lasts from 3 to 10 months. A longer curing period produces a better cheese.

This cheese is occasionally used in macaroni and cheese recipes.

Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey Jack Cheese was developed by a Californian Scot, David Jacks. It is made in the United States from cows milk and the texture ranges from from semi soft to semi hard.

Monterey Jack’s consistency depends on its maturity. Most softer varieties are aged for one month, while grating Jack is aged for upwards of 6 months.

Older Monterey Jack Cheeses are smeared with oil and pepper to maintain softer rinds. Monterey Jack has a buttery, bland taste and melts easily.

This type of cheese works very well in macaroni and cheese recipes.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese originated in southern Italy. Originally made from water buffalo milk, Mozzarella Cheese is now made from pasteurized cows milk. It is soft in texture and light in flavor.

This type of cheese is occasionally found in homemade macaroni and cheese recipes.

Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano)

Named after an area in Italy, Parmesan is one of the world’s most popular and widely-enjoyed cheeses. Cows milk is used it the making of Parmesan Cheese. It is hard in texture and is generally grated or slivered.

After manufacture, the cheese is salted in brine for a month, then allowed to mature for up to two years in very humid conditions.

This type of cheese is often used as a topping for homemade macaroni and cheese or macaroni casseroles.

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano, made in Italy, is a traditional, unpasteurized, hard cheese made from cow’s, skimmed milk. It has a sticky, hard, yellow to orange rind. It is hard in texture.

The aroma is sweet and fruity, the color fresh yellow and the taste – fruity, like pineapple. Parmigiano Reggiano’s flavor is unmistakably piquant.

Primarily, a grating cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano is a great topping for pasta dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, macaroni casseroles or macaroni salads.

Pepper Jack Cheese

Pepper Jack Cheese is a derivative of Monterey Jack cheese. Made in the United States from cows milk, Pepper Jack Cheese is semi-soft and open textured with a slightly tart flavor. As the name says, it includes pepper which makes it spicy in taste.

Pepper Jack Cheese is often used as an alternative cheese in macaroni and cheese dishes where a “bit of heat” is desired.

Queso Quesadilla Cheese

Queso Quesadilla Cheese is a smooth, soft, mild white cheese originating in Mexico.

This cheese, made from cows milk, is a family favorite because it melts easily to make your favorite homemade macaroni dishes rich and creamy.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta Cheese originated in Italy and is a traditional creamery cheese, soft in texture, made from cow’s milk.

Good Ricotta Cheese should be firm, not solid and consist of a mass of fine, moist, delicate grains, neither salted nor ripened. pure white and wet but not sticky.

It is white, creamy and mild and is primarily used as an ingredient in lasagna although some macaroni and cheese recipes specify Ricotta Cheese.

Swiss Cheese

Swiss Cheese is made from cows milk and has a firmer texture than baby Swiss Cheese. It is an American imitation of the Swiss Emmental Cheese.

It is known for being hard in texture, shiny,and pale yellow with large holes. The flavor is mild, sweet and nut-like. The taste of the cheese is very mild.

It can be used in macaroni and cheese recipes calling for a mild white cheese or substituted for Emmental Cheese.

Tillamook Cheddar Cheese

Tillamook Cheddar Cheese is an American Cheese that is made from cow’s milk and is named for the region in Wisconsin where it was first made.

The cheese is made using milk that has been heat-treated rather than pasteurized, a process that allows some of the bacteria essential for producing top quality Cheddar Cheese to be retained.

According to its texture, Tillamook Cheddar ranks among hard cheeses. Tillamook Cheddar Cheese is either white or annatto-coloured and is sold in blocks.

Tillamook Cheddar Cheese is a cheese that could be grated and baked in many of the macaroni and cheese recipes listed on this web site.

Velveeta Cheese

In 1928, Kraft Phenix Cheese Corporation introduced Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese, made from cows milk, in the United States and Canada.

Velveeta Cheese was unique due to its creamy taste, soft texture, and smooth meltability. It makes an excellent choice for stove top macaroni and cheese recipes.