June 2, 2014

Cheese 101: Natural vs. Processed Cheese

Arla Dofino Cheeses

Working with Arla Dofino has given me the best education on cheese. I’ve always loved (LOVED!) cheese and done my best to buy only the highest quality cheese I can afford for my friends and family. Naturally, this means avoiding processed cheeses since they are known for not being as healthy. However, up until now I didn’t really know why processed cheese wasn’t so good for me.

Many moms, like myself, are choosy about the milk they give their families, but I find it surprising that not as many are concerned about the cheese they serve. It makes sense that we should be aware of what’s in the cheeses just as much as the milk we are putting on the table.

Arla Dofino is one of our favorite household cheeses now because their cheeses are made with a few, natural ingredients, and taste great because of their attention to quality. But what does this all mean, exactly? Here is the skinny:

Natural cheeses like Arla Dofino feature:

1) Hormone-free milk from cows is transported from family dairies directly to Arla’s cheese-making facility. The milk is pasteurized and small amounts of cheese culture, salt, and microbial rennet are added. This is all. This is essentially what you’d do if you were making cheese with a DIY kit at home.

2) Natural cheese can be formed into all shapes and sizes. In Arla Dofino’s case, the cheese is formed into blocks and rounds. The rounds are dipped in actual wax (not plastic – which is the case for a lot of cheeses) for packaging.

3) These cheeses are then aged to perfection in a refrigerated place until they are shipped, via refrigeration truck, to a store. You can find Arla Dofino cheeses in the deli section of your favorite grocery store.

 

Cheese Platter

Most processed cheeses feature:

1) Pasteurized milk with many ingredients added, such as:

  • Sodium citrate (flavor and preservative)
  • Sorbic acid (preservative)
  • Apocarotenal (artificial color)
  • Loads of salt

2) The cheese is then shaped into any size like individually wrapped slices, cans, tubes or boxes.

3) Once the cheese is formed, it isn’t aged. It’s sent straight to the store and is frequently found on shelves, not in refrigerated sections, because the preservatives enable it to be completely shelf stable.

The lesson here for parents like us is to make smart choices at the store. Arla Dofino is the right choice for me because it enables us to fit great food into our life without breaking the bank. Whenever I buy it I am 100 percent sure I am buying natural cheese free of additives for my children, which is reassuring (and much more delicious!) If I am unsure if another brand of cheese is processed I read the ingredients label. If it features ingredients I’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce, I skip it. Not only do I prefer the healthier, natural cheese, I find that any artificial additive can never replicate the true flavor.

Check back for lots more exciting posts from me and Arla Dofino this year. I will have lots of fun sharing healthy ideas, recipes, and cheese tips for your family! Follow them on Facebook as well for even more cheesy tips.

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Arla. I love their brand and their products and believe fully in their mission. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make The Naptime Chef possible.)

Above photographs copyright Arla, used with permission