Despite what is commonly thought, hard cheeses like parmesan can indeed melt! Melted parmesan is an essential element in various pasta dishes such as spaghetti carbonara or a deliciously crispy chicken parmesan.
Cheese is one of the most popular dairy products that is enjoyed in various dishes across the world. Parmesan is a type of cheese that has aged for a long period. It is often grated or shaved on dishes to add more flavor.
Parmesan cheese is a classic topping for soups, sauces, steak, and pasta. Because of its sharp flavor, it is also used to make cheese sticks. By nature, it is a hard cheese as compared to other types such as cheddar.
Does Parmesan Cheese Melt?
Parmesan Cheese does not melt like other types of cheese, but it can melt. It depends on the type of parmesan you are using and whether it’s fresh or not. Parmesan cheese melts if you are using freshly grated rather than whole. Packaged parmesan is harder to melt.
With cheese like Mozzarella and Cheddar, we are used to getting it melted with a little bit of heat. But that is not the case with parmesan cheese. It is high in fat and has low moisture, so it does not turn into liquid at high temperatures.
Types of Parmesan Cheese
Let’s take a look at some common types of parmesan cheese and how you can melt it.
Freshly Grated Parmesan
If you want melted cheese, freshly grated parmesan is great. You can get a parmesan cheese block and grate it yourself at home. It is one of the most cost-effective types of cheese and the most delicious. You can use it in pasta, lasagna,
Pre-grated parmesan is easy to use for sure and it is less expensive, but if you want the melt, it’s just not going to happen. This type of cheese is usually clumpy and it does not melt well. That’s because of the starch in it that is used to prevent the cheese from sticking together, or because it’s low-quality.
Ground parmesan looks like powder. And honestly, it tastes like powder too – which is not good at all. The texture is close to sawdust and it does not melt at all. So, make sure to avoid it at all costs.
Shredded parmesan is a lot like pre-grated cheese, so it does not melt. It is a bit bigger than grated cheese with flakes. Flakes are coated in starch to make sure they don’t stick together. This prevents it from melting. It is mostly used in salads.
Why Doesn’t Parmesan Cheese Melt?
As you know now that parmesan cheese melts but not like other types of cheese. It is because parmesan has low moisture and it contains more salt and milkfat. Parmesan has about 30% fat and 30% moisture. So, it’s hard to break it down and melt it into a liquid.
But that does mean it does melt. Parmesan is slower to melt, and when it is heated, the moisture evaporates, leaving solid fat content. This causes the cheese to become oily and clumpy in a few cases. It turns your food greasy, especially when the cheese you are using is of low quality.
Considering all that, freshly grated parmesan melts the best. Pre-grated parmesan at supermarkets is not good for melting because it contains cellulose and rennet which makes it almost impossible for the cheese to melt.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what temperature does parmesan cheese melt?
Aged parmesan melts at about 180-200F. It takes approximately two to three minutes to melt under high heat. You can also melt it at low heat, but it will take longer.
Does Parmesan Cheese melt on Pizza?
Parmesan cheese does melt on pizzas and is a common topping because of its flavor and nutty taste. However, do not expect it to become stringy like mozzarella.
What type of parmesan cheese melts the best?
Different types of cheese melt differently. but Italian parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) melts better as compared to cheaper cheese. It is, however, slightly expensive.
Will parmesan cheese melt in soup?
Parmesan cheese is dry and it does not really melt in soups. Your best bet is to add a piece of ring into the broth to add flavor or you can add parmesan cheese on top of the soup. If you want melted cheese in the soup, you can use another type of cheese instead.
Why won’t my parmesan cheese melt in my Alfredo sauce?
Try adding the sauce slowly as you stir the pasta and liquid to make sure the cheese melts evenly, and there are no clumps.
In conclusion, Parmesan does not melt like regular cheese. That is due to its high-fat content and low moisture. However, that does not mean that it cannot melt at all. Parmesan can indeed melt if you use freshly grated one as opposed to the whole.
Make sure to use high-quality freshly grated Parmesan in your recipes to get a smooth silky texture.