Why Gruyère Is One Of The Best Cheeses To Cook With

cutting a block of Gruyère
cutting a block of Gruyère - Ventdusud/Getty Images

Have you ever created a melty grilled cheese or attempted homemade mac and cheese only to be left pining for a creamier texture or a saltier, richer flavor? This may be due to your cheese choice. Not all cheeses are created equal, especially when it comes to cheeses that can take the heat, or more importantly, become even better when cooked. From a croque-monsieur to a potato gratin, Gruyère is known for being incorporated into many delicious French dishes. But what makes Gruyère cheese so fantastic for cooking and melting?

Gruyère's versatility allows it to be taken from the cheeseboard to the fondue pot. It can handle high temperatures and unlock whole new layers of flavor when cooked. When it melts, it melts evenly, without leaving a pool of fat behind. This is due to the high water-to-oil ratio that is perfectly balanced in Gruyère. That extra water helps it to maintain a thick, creamy texture, allowing for that irresistible elastic cheese pull that everyone loves.

Read more: French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life

All About Gruyère

stack of Gruyère cheese
stack of Gruyère cheese - Barmalini/Shutterstock

Although popular in French cooking, Gruyère is a type of Swiss cheese. It is a traditionally unpasteurized cow's milk cheese that originates from the French-speaking Swiss town of Gruyères, with an aging process ranging anywhere from five to 18 months. Gruyère can be easily distinguished from other cheeses by its pale yellow appearance and its salty, nutty, and sweet taste. Occasionally, it may have small holes, similar to other Swiss cheeses.

It tastes milder and grassier (due to the diet of the cows that produce it) when it hasn't aged for long. As for texture, Gruyère is considered a firm cheese. As it ages, its flavor becomes more rich and it takes on a crystallized texture. This is not different from other cheeses, such as Gouda, which tend to become stronger and contain more distinct salty notes as they age. This makes younger Gruyère most suitable for cooking, as the aged Gruyère is complex enough in flavor to eat as is.

Recipe Ideas For Cooking With Gruyère

melted Gruyère on French onion soup
melted Gruyère on French onion soup - zi3000/Shutterstock

Gruyère is known as the go-to for fondues. But don't limit your Gruyère love to just that. For homemade slow cooker French onion soup, grated Gruyère makes for the perfect topping when finished off under the broiler. Just keep a close eye on your dish, and remove it from heat when the cheese is bubbling with a golden-brown color. In this application, Gruyère makes for the perfect cheesy complement to savory, rich French onion soup.

Gruyère is also perfect in countless egg recipes, like omelets, frittatas, and quiches. The savory, melty Gruyère pairs perfectly with sweeter omelet ingredients like onions and corn. And who doesn't love the starchy, rich combination of cheese and potatoes? Gruyère becomes your potato's best friend in a gratin or as the base for a creamy sauce with scalloped potatoes. If Gruyère stretches a little too far beyond your budget, there are a few affordable Gruyère substitutes to look out for as well. But purchasing real Gruyère is more than worth it. This will help you to achieve the creamiest, meltiest result.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.