How to make string cheese?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to make string cheese?” and will discuss why string cheese is stingy.

How to make string cheese?

To make string cheese, heat the fresh mozzarella to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just hot enough to re-align the milk proteins naturally present in cheese. The distinctive string-like texture is created when the cheese is cooked and stretched. The stretched structure of the string cheese was proven by microscopic analysis. Light microscopy and electron microscopy revealed that stringiness is associated with a uniform longitudinal orientation of the protein matrix (1).

Making Strings of Cheese by stretching

String cheese has a characteristic structure which allows the cheese to be torn in one direction like crab meat or scallops. It reveals a firm texture when chewed. The product is marketed in the form of sticks which have been obtained by cutting Mozzarella curds. Manufacturing of string cheese is similar to that of Mozzarella cheese except that the cheese is stretched (elongated) in hot water to form ropes which acquire a fibrous structure, all oriented in one direction (1).

Creating string cheese is all about stretching. The 30-minute Mozzarella Recipe or the Traditional Mozzarella Recipe may be used to make mozzarella cheese, depending on your preference. Make sure the curd is at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit before stretching the cheese.

·         Pick up the curd mass and poke a hole in the center, forming a donut-shaped donut hole.

·         The doughnut should be stretched into a large loop.

·         Make four “ropes” of cheese by folding the loop in half and stretching it again.

·         Stretch and fold it again.

·         When you have a long mass of thin ropes or threads, keep stretching and folding. A huge roll of “cheese sticks” may be made when the strings are at the required thickness.

Make a roll of string cheese

·         Fold the cheese into a 10- to 12-inch-long lump for the big roll.

·         Alternately twist the ends.

·         To secure the ends, poke them back into the cheese mixture. If you like, you may construct a braided knot out of it by doubling it over.

Make string cheese sticks

·         Make a half-inch-wide cheese roll out of the cheese for the cheese sticks.

·         Sticks that are 6 inches long may be made using this material.

·         Each stick may be given a little twist before being sealed with a single pinch.

·         A dry spot is ideal for setting the cheese sticks.

·         Make it simple to carry or store the sticks by putting them in tiny containers.

What Causes the Stringy Texture of String Cheese?

String cheese is made by heating fresh mozzarella to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the modern era. Cheese’s natural milk proteins can be realigned at this temperature. A characteristic string-like texture can be achieved when cheese is stretched after it has been heated.

Did you know that string cheese was not always made in the way we know it? Since Wisconsin is the cheese capital of the United States, it is no surprise that string cheese made its way to the United States. Pizza restaurants bought large slices of cheese from a company called Baker Cheese.

They manufactured such wonderful mozzarella cheese that they were inundated with requests for bulk orders of snack-sized portions. The company, on the other hand, concluded that selling whole mozzarella cheese balls as a snack was not an option. Baked cheese discovered that if you roll the strips of mozzarella into a log shape before cutting them into thin slices and soaking them with salt brine, you will get perfectly-sized strings of cheese. They took the food to a nearby tavern, where it was a tremendous hit.

Natural ingredients such as milk, culture, and rennet, which is an enzyme used to make the milk curdle into thick curd, make string cheese one of the best things about it.

Mozzarella curd was traditionally hand stretched in hot water. Today, the vast majority of mozzarella is stretched in a machine called a stretcher (or cooker). Typically, the stretcher consists of a vessel that contains circulating hot water at approximately 72°C (160°F) and one to two stainless steel augers. The augers push and knead the mozzarella curd through the machine, aligning the curd protein to generate a fibrous texture in the cheese. Following the stretching step, the curd is put into a mold or form. Food-service forms usually hold either 2.7 or 9 kg (6 or 20 lb), while forms for retail cheese hold up to 0.45 kg (1 lb). Additionally, small tube-like extruders are used for the manufacture of string cheese (3). 

How String Cheese Differs from Mozzarella Cheese?

However, even though string cheese is made entirely of mozzarella cheese, it is still distinct from the softer and smoother fresh mozzarella in its texture and flavor. The main difference between fresh mozzarella and string cheese is that fresh mozzarella is preserved in water or brine, while string cheese is dried. In addition, fresh mozzarella can’t be stored for lengthy periods, and it melts poorly. So, to summarize, string cheese is nothing more than a stretched-out kind of mozzarella. It implies that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating it as a snack.  

Structurally, during the heating and stretching stage of mozzarella cheese manufacture, fat globules form channels between the protein strands and allow protein fibers to align and separate, giving mozzarella cheese its stringiness. This stringiness is extenuated during manufacture of string cheese as the hot cheese is extruded through a long, narrow die that further aligns the protein fibers parallel to each other. This allows the characteristic thin strings of cheese to be easily peeled from sticks of string cheese (2).

The quality of string cheese is evaluated from the amount of fibrous material noticeable when the cheese is torn. We refer to this quality as “stringiness”. Stringiness is more important to string cheese than shredability and meltability; these two latter properties are important to Mozzarella cheese. Stringiness is conventionally judged by graders , who tear each sample several times with fingers, examine them visually , and note the amount of the fibrous material and its thickness. Cheese with copious amounts of fine fibrous material on the torn surface is given a high rating (1).

Is it possible for string cheese to get melted?

You can eat it that way. Because it has a low moisture content, this cheese will string rather than pool. String cheese may be used safely as a topping for pizza, lasagna, mac n’ cheese, and any other dish that calls for a cheese that dries and gets very stringy (like mozzarella). Mozzarella cheese, including string cheese, with the properties of a higher fat content, higher moisture level, lower salt content and a lower pH will tend to have a softer chew, a more complete melt, more stretch and more free oil when baked on a pizza (3).

As a general rule, it’s a blend of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. This kind of string cheese may be eaten either in its original shape or by ripping the cheese strips apart. String cheese also has a low moisture content. It’s a good post-workout snack, but because of the high-fat content, limit your intake.

There are several ways to include it in your diet. The cheese softens rather than entirely melting in certain toppings, like Parmesan.

Other FAQs about Cheese that you may be interested in.

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Does vegan cheese melt?

What can I substitute for queso fresco?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How to make string cheese?” and discussed why string cheese is stingy.

References

  1. Taneya, S., et al. Structure and rheology of string cheese. Food Struct, 1992, 11, 7. 
  2. Oberg, E. N., et al. Increasing stringiness of low-fat mozzarella string cheese using polysaccharides. J Dairy Sci, 2015, 98, 4243-4254.
  3. Chen, C., Wolle, D., Sommer, D. 2008. Mozzarella. In: Clark, S., Costello, M., Drake, M., Bodyfelt, F. (eds) The Sensory Evaluation of Dairy Products. Springer, New York, NY.