Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Using my dehydrated cheese

I wrote my previous post about dehydrating cheese several days ago but waited about posting it until I’d had a bit more experimenting done.  There are many types of cheese.  In my sleep last night I dreamed I was dehydrating many types of cheeses as experiments.  Strange dream, but why not?  Swiss, Colby, pepper jack, and others?  It’s worth a try.

The commodity cheese (American) cannot be used in the same way as those boxes of dump and cook mac & cheese. That cheese is actually a “cheese flavored” product of some type that is designed to melt when it’s added to hot macaroni covered with oil.  I put some of my dehydrated cheese powder onto cooked macaroni and got a lump of stuff stuck to the stirring spoon.  Not a cheese coating at all.  Even an addition of oil didn’t help.  Apparently adding heat does not help re-hydrate this cheese.

I gave it some thought and remembered even in it’s original form this cheese does better when milk is added to it. Must be the nature of the type of cheese or maybe the type of milk used to make it?  I’m not sure.  In it’s natural form it does melt for a grilled cheese  or is good on a burger but only if it’s sliced very thinly.  For everything else it works so much better when made into a sauce first.  I usually warm it slowly in milk while stirring constantly.

I figured this cheese was dehydrated slowly without heat so it must be re-hydrated slowly without heat.  Worth a try.  I wanted the re-hydrated cheese to be creamy so I put 1/4 cup cheese into a bowl with 1/2 cup of milk then let it set for a couple of hours. This was an experiment and there’s no guide of how much to use or how long it will take.  I used an easy measurement to remember.  1 part dehydrated cheese to 2 parts milk.

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After about 2 hours I had this.  It’s not fully re-hydrated.  It still was quite grainy with dry cheese but it tasted just like fresh.  It sure did soak up the milk.

Survival foods 018I let it set in the fridge overnight and it’s better but it still needed more liquid.  I added 1/2 cup more milk and let it set another 24 hours.  Oops, no photo.  The next day I tasted it and it was just like fresh cheese made into a sauce.  No dried bits in it.  I wanted to see how it reacted to hot pasta but I didn’t want to cook a big pot of macaroni.  I grabbed a packet of ramen noodles and cooked them.  I drained the cooking water off and added some of the re-hydrated cheese.

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Delicious!  It tasted just like fresh cheese made into a sauce.  It coated the noodles nicely and didn’t clump up.  I do like cheese on my ramen once in awhile.  The re-hydrated cheese can be heated after it sets long enough to re-hydrate.  My next cheese experiment will be with cheddar or maybe some mozzarella?  I’m not sure yet.  How about you?  Anybody else trying to dehydrate cheese without heat?

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2 comments on “Using my dehydrated cheese

  1. Sarca
    May 25, 2014

    So, living in Canada, I have heard of “American cheese” but didn’t know what it is until I looked it up – sort of the equivalent of Kraft Cheese slices. We don’t have American cheese otherwise. I can’t imagine dehydrating Kraft slices, at least what I could buy up here; ours is an oil product that tastes like rubber, and I don’t eat it on a normal day, so I couldn’t imagine dehydrating it.

    (Sorry, this is not a criticism on your effort, Anita!)

    I always enjoy reading your adventures! 🙂

    • Na Na
      May 25, 2014

      No offence was taken. American is simply a name of the type cheese. Like Swiss or Colby or Monterrey are names of cheese types. The American cheese is actually a blend of other cheese left overs and fillers. It used to be a blend of Colby and Cheddar but these days it contains milk fats and whey concentrate products. It can’t be called “cheese” anymore. It’s always labeled as “processed cheese” or “cheese product” because it’s not the real stuff.

      Yeah, our Kraft cheese is the same, tastes like rubber. The American cheese I used for my experiment came from our senior commodity food program. That’s food given to low income senior citizens. I knew if my experiment failed it wouldn’t be a big deal to toss it out. I’m considering making my own cheese in the future.

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