Grated cheese is convenient, but did you know that those packets often contain more than just cheese? They often have anti-caking agents and preservatives to extend shelf life and prevent clumping.
Avoid unnecessary additives: A common anti-caking agent is cellulose microcrystalline (460), which is essentially wood pulp. This additive can cause digestive issues like bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea when consumed in large quantities. It’s even banned in baby food in the UK.
Tastes better: Grating cheese yourself tends to have a better taste and texture compared to pre-shredded ones that are affected by the powdery anti-caking agent (460).
Tips for making your own grated cheese
Coat grated cheese with tapioca starch: Use 1-2 tablespoons of tapioca starch per 500g block of cheese. Shake the cheese and tapioca starch mix thoroughly for even coverage before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Freeze cheese: Freezing extends shelf life and works well for most cheeses (cheddar, edam and mozzarella are fine to freeze), especially when you need to grate a large quantity at once. However, freezing can alter the texture. Avoid freezing if you plan to use the cheese on a cheeseboard, in sandwiches, or salads, as it might affect its texture, but will me perfect when melted or in sauces.
Chilling the cheese: Before shredding, place the cheese block in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This step hardens the cheese slightly, reducing smearing and clumping during shredding.