Q. Is buying pre-shredded cheese culinary sacrilege? If so, is there any way to make grating cheese less of an arduous task? —Lance, Kaukauna
A. In today’s world of convenience, I’m not sure I would include utilizing pre-shredded cheese in the same conversation as other topics I would consider to be “culinary sacrilege.” That said, there are a few cautions to take and observations to make. As vigilant consumers, it is a best practice to be an avid label reader. Many companies add anti-caking agents to pre-shredded cheeses including edible powders, granules, starches and cellulose to help keep the shredded cheese from sticking together. Using natural block cheeses that you grate yourself eliminates these additives from your recipes. Some cheeses, particularly the variety considered hard cheese, grate pretty well whereas cheeses considered soft tend not to grate very well at all. Freezing cheese is generally not recommended; however, at times cheeses will function better for grating when they are very cold, so it is something you may want to consider. The other consideration is your finished product and the purpose of why you are using the cheese. Fresh grated cheese to finish one of your culinary creations might be more important than it might be in your lasagna recipe.