Why it Works: The Melt Factor
Considering the wide variety of cheese available, it’s amazing that they all start as milk. Although some cheeses are made from milk other than cow’s, the main flavor differences between cheese varieties are due to the type of bacteria used and the way it is fermented or aged. Aging also affects how cheese cooks. In general, the drier a cheese the better its melting characteristics. Fresh cheeses, like creamy fresh mozzarella, usually resist melting. The very best melting cheeses are hard cheeses (like Cheddar) and very hard cheeses (like Parmesan, if grated finely). To ensure a good melting texture and prevent separation, keep cooking temperatures low and cooking times brief.