You might ask, are all cheese not the same? Well, cheese has a common characteristic, but all of them have a unique difference that makes them different. The difference might depend on a lot of factors.
Cheeses are differentiated by the mode of preparation, the type of ingredients used, the flavors, the places they are being produced, and the maturation period. Some cheeses have similarities more than others, and others are different from others.
This article will examine the differences and similarities between Mozzarella, Monterey Jack cheese, and Wisconsin Brick cheese.
One common factor among these three types of cheeses is that they are commonly used here in the US for many recipes and cuisines and can sometimes be substituted for each other.
You will find a more detailed description of each cheese below.
We can trace the beginnings of mozzarella cheese to the Southern part of Italy in Naples. Originally mozzarella cheese was made from the creamy milk of water buffalos; these days, you can find mozzarella being made from both cow and goat milk.
This cheese gotten from the milk of water buffalos had to be consumed faster and could not spread out of southern Naples because of its short shelf life.
This short shelf life was because it was not made from pasteurized milk. But with the advancement in technology regarding refrigerating, you can store this milk for a longer time.
With new ways of packaging like vacuum-sealed plastic packages that can contribute to a longer shelf life, this cheese could be exported to many other countries. It is one of the most commonly used cheeses here in the US, and some companies produce them here.
2. Monterey Jack Cheese
While the mozzarella cheese has an Italian background, Monterey Jack cheese has a Spanish background, and it is commonly used in Spanish and Mexican cuisine.
This cheese was first made in the 1700s around the Monterey region by Franciscan monks of Spanish origin.
This cheese was later purchased by a businessman Jack in large quantities and shipped out of the California area to other regions.
He took advantage of the cheese’s business value, and the cheese came to be associated with him because of the name.
Some others associate the name of the cheese with the house jacks used to put a lot of pressure on the cheese during the formation period.
The individual families who made this cheese are called Jack cheese because of the tool used and not the person. The families associated with these were also of Spanish origin.
Although this cheese has a Spanish influence, it is genuinely American cheese. Initially, it was made in the Monterey region of California, but it is made in other parts of the country as well.
You will find some called Sonoma Jack cheese, and this is because it is made in Sonoma County also in California.
3. Wisconsin Brick Cheese
This is cheese boasts as another original American cheese made in the state of Wisconsin. The earliest beginnings of this cheese can be traced back to the 1800s, and the local cheesemakers gave it the name of brick cheese because of the method of preparation.
During processing, bricks were used to press the cheese curds. The bricks were used to weigh down the cheese before the cheese went into a brine. Also, the brick name is given to the cheese because of the shape that it comes in.
The aging period of the brick cheese can change the cheese. The young brick cheese is fresh, and it has a mild flavor. And the young brick cheese has a pale yellowish color. The aged brick cheese has a more complex pungent and tangy taste.
As the brick cheese gets older, it resembles Limburger cheese in smell and taste. Limburger cheese which has a Belgian root has a robust stinky smell that can sometimes be uncomfortable. The Wisconsin cheese has a less pungent smell than the Limburger cheese.
Characteristics of the three kinds of cheese
1. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese has a semi-soft and moist texture, and it is spongy as well. It has a fresh and milky taste; also, it has a mild, bland taste. The fresh taste from this cheese is perfect for your tomato salad.
There are usually two types of mozzarella produced here in the States, low moisture and high moisture mozzarella. The low mozzarella cheese has moisture of less than 50 percent, while the high mozzarella cheese has more than 50 percent moisture.
The difference between both is that the high moisture mozzarella is produced more for the commercial market, and it has a longer shelf life. The low moisture mozzarella is fresher and is more perishable, and you cannot keep it for too long.
Mozzarella cheese usually has a white color, but there might be some variation. The cows’ diet can influence the color’s outcome; sometimes, you can find a yellowish Mozzarella cheese.
To make mozzarella cheese, you first pasteurize the milk by heating the milk at 72-degree Celsius. By doing this, you improve the quality and flavor of the cheese. The second step is homogenization. The aim at this level is to reduce the fat molecules in the milk by breaking them down.
In this way, you prevent the cheese from separating as creamy, and the milk is integrated. This process helps your cheese to avoid fat leakage when you are baking with the cheese. In the third stage, you cook the cheese, and the aim is to reduce the moisture content present in the cheese.
The fourth stage is stretching the cheese, which helps you give the cheese that unique physical attributes that separate it from all the other cheeses. The fifth stage is salting your pasteurized milk. This helps to give your cheese a whole new flavor rather than being bland.
2. Monterey Jack Cheese
This cheese has a smooth semi-soft texture with some small irregular holes in it. It has a bland taste similar to mozzarella cheese, but it is a little bit more flavorful. You can recognize jack cheese by its pale ivory color, which makes it unique.
Monterey Jack cheese has similarities to cheddar cheese because of its mild nature, and this resemblance springs from the similar methods used to make both kinds of cheese. This cheese is made from whole, partly skimmed, or skimmed cow milk.
The cow or goat milk is heated at 90-degree Fahrenheit to produce this cheese and stirred well for all parts to be equally heated. It is covered and allowed to ferment between thirty to forty-five minutes. Rennet is added to the heated milk, and you allow it to sit for forty-five minutes.
When you are allowing the milk to set, it will form into a firm curd. Using a steel knife, cut the curd ½ inch cubes, and let this sit for ten minutes while it is still being heated. Place the curds into a cheese pot and put the pot into a sink with hot water at 100-degree Fahrenheit. Boil the water at this heat temperature.
The curds are stirred frequently but gently to avoid them from joining together. This process is carried out for thirty minutes and lets the curd rest for five minutes. Pour the whey at the top until you have just enough to cover the curds.
The curd is heated for another thirty minutes, and you need to keep stirring it gently to prevent the curds from joining together. After this, the curds are poured into a cheesecloth-lined colander. This is the moment when the cheese is being flavored either with salt or pepper.
The cheese is placed into a plastic cheese mold, and the cloth is pulled up at every side. After this, you apply five pounds of pressure on the cheese for fifteen minutes.
After fifteen minutes, pour the curds into another cheesecloth and apply ten pounds of pressure for ten more hours. After this, remove the curds and dry them for two to three days until they become smooth and dry. The cheese is then waxed and allowed to age between one to four months, depending on your preference.
The different types of Monterey Jack cheese depend on what flavor is added and how long you keep it to age. There is a version of this cheese called the Pepper Jack cheese, and this is because of the pepper added to it. There is another version called the Colby-Jack cheese, which comes from adding Colby cheese to Jack cheese.
The Dry Jack, another version of this cheese, is allowed to mature for six months. It has a deep-yellow gold color, and it has a texture close to that of well-aged cheddar cheese. The cheese is best for those times you want to grate your cheese because of its firmer texture or eating it just that way.
3. Wisconsin Brick Cheese
Wisconsin Brick cheese is a semi-soft cheese; it is mild and has a little bit of nuttiness. It has a sweet flavor when it is young, and this changes as it ages. The color of brick cheese can range from pale yellow to white.
Because of its soft attributes, this cheese can stick to your knife while cutting. To make this cheese, you begin by heating it in a non-reactive pot at 88 degrees Fahrenheit between eighteen to twenty minutes. The time here is shorter to enable a slow acid development which will produce a sweet cheese. You have to place the milk in a pot or sink of warm water
Secondly, you coagulate the milk with rennet, the milk sits still for about thirty minutes, and the rennet begins to coagulate your curd.
The milk will begin to thicken after the first 15 minutes, but it is better to allow it to sit for thirty minutes for you to be able to see the curd.
When the curd has coagulated, cut then into ½ inch and reset it for two to three minutes allowing the curds to heal. Rest the curd again and stir it gently for five minutes; this will stop the curd from joining together. As the curd begins to become firm, it will separate from the whey.
The next stage of preparation is cooking the curds. The heat is increased from 88degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The aim of this is to dry up the curds, and it is heated for forty-five minutes. Stirring the curd gently while cooking it will separate it from the whey.
The next critical stage is removing the whey and washing the curd; this allows for a slow acid production necessary to make a sweet cheese. When the curds settle, remove twenty-five percent of the original milk. Coldwater is added to the curd so that its temperature can drop to 85 degrees.
The curds are cooked until they become firm and that all moisture has been taken out. When there is too much moisture, the cheese develops acid and a pastry texture.
The next stage is the pressing and the molding stage. This is the point where the earliest brick cheese farmers used bricks to mold their cheese.
Saturated brine is used to salt the cheese after the pressing and molding stage. The cheese is set in the brine for close to ten hours. The final stage is the aging stage; the milder brick cheese needs only two days of curing with brine before it is wrapped up and put in cold storage.
The more pungent and aromatic aged brick cheese is kept in the curing room for ten days, and the cheese is washed with a light brine for each of those days. Then it is packaged and stored at a cold temperature of forty-two-degree Fahrenheit for two to three months which Is the correct ripening time.
1. Mozzarella Cheese
You can use mozzarella cheese as a cream sauce for different recipes. All you need to do is puree the cheese together with olive oil, and you can use it on your vegetables. It adds freshness and flavor to your vegetable meal. You can also add it to your tomato salad, giving it a delicious and flavorful taste.
One of the best ways to use mozzarella cheese is for making your pizza; actually, it is the perfect cheese for your pizza. First of all, its water, oil contents, and elasticity bring the consistency you might be looking for when making your pizza.
Mozzarella cheese does not collect grease on your pizza while you are cooking it. Hence it prevents your pizza from being too greasy. You do not have to struggle about how it will turn out when you use it on your pizza because it cooks nicely and gives your pizza a flavorful taste.
If you are hoping to make Mexican cuisine and you can’t get jack cheese, you can use mozzarella cheese as substitutes for a lot of Mexican cuisine like enchiladas.
2. Monterey Jack Cheese
This cheese is another excellent option for you to use on your pizza. This is because it melts nicely and efficiently on your pizza. It does not leave a pool of grease on your pizza, just like the mozzarella cheese. So you can use this as a substitute for your mozzarella cheese on a pizza.
Secondly, this cheese is widely used for a lot of Mexican cuisines because of its flavor. You can use it for nachos, tacos, quesadillas, or your chicken tortilla soup. You can also use jack cheese as a substitute for mozzarella when preparing pasta.
Jack cheese is also a substitute for parmesan cheese, and you can use them for your snacks like crackers. It can also be used for your macaroni, casseroles, shepherd’s pie, and your mashed potatoes.
3. Wisconsin Brick Cheese
This cheese is one of the best cheeses you can use for your pizza; it is the best substitute for mozzarella cheese when making your pizza.
It is more flavorful, and it melts perfectly without problems. You can also consider this cheese when making your sandwich because of its incredible flavor; it goes well with pickles on your burger.
If you go to the mid-western part of the country where it is prevalent, it is served with corn polenta. You slice the cheese very thinly and melt it under the polenta, and you serve this with tomato sauce. It is tasteful and delicious.
You can also use this cheese for any of your potato recipes or when you are cooking your macaroni cheese.
Health benefits of the different cheeses
When it comes to the three different kinds of cheese’ health benefits, they seem to have a lot in common. First of all, mozzarella cheese has the least calorie content among all three, which means that it also has the least amount of saturated fats. So, if you are looking for less fat and calorie content, mozzarella seems to win the day.
Mozzarella cheese has an antioxidative effect on the body; it reduces blood pressure and absorbs Vitamin B and calcium. It helps prevents cancer and also gout. There is a fair amount of protein and calcium, which benefits your gums and teeth’ health.
Wisconsin Brick cheese, just like mozzarella cheese, also boosts the immune system and improves the body’s metabolism. It aids those who have sleeping issues with better sleep, and there is a fair amount of calcium which strengthens tooth health.
Monterey Jack cheese has a low amount of calories, although it is higher than mozzarella cheese, and it contains a fair amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and sodium.
Recipes for the different Cheeses
These three different kinds of cheese have unique flavor, taste, and texture, so it would be natural to be suitable for some cuisine or recipes more than others. In case you are wondering which recipe or cuisine best suits each cheese, I will give you a list of what goes best with each cheese.
- Mozzarella cheese sticks are one of a kind, and there are delicious. If you want to try your homemade mozzarella sticks, you can check out this blog. You will get to know all about mozzarella sticks and how to make them from the comfort of your home.
- Mozzarella stuffed garlic rolls are another cuisine that uses mozzarella cheese. to make your homemade mozzarella stuffed garlic rolls check out this blog
- Chicken mozzarella pasta with sun-dried tomatoes; mozzarella blends well with pasta, and the flavor is just amazing. If you ever want to try this out, you can check out the following blog for more instructions.
Monterey Jack Cheese
- Cheese Enchiladas; if you are craving some Mexican food and want to try it out, jack cheese will be the perfect cheese for your enchiladas. Check out this blog for more content on how you can make this at home.
- Creamy Monterey Jack Queso; if you are looking for a sauce to make at home for your snacks during bonding with friends or on game nights, this creamy sauce made from jack cheese is the best for your snacks. Check out this blog to get the simple recipe for this sauce.
- Chile Relleno Casserole; is one easy meal that you can make either for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Monterey Jack cheese is one of the main ingredients for this recipe, and you should check it out if you are ever interested in making your homemade casserole
Wisconsin Brick Cheese
- Detroit Style Pizza; brick cheese is very popular in the Detroit area and is commonly used in their pizzerias. If you would like to make a Detroit-style pizza with brick cheese, you can check out the following blog.
- Creamy Brick Cheese Spread; if you are looking for something creamy to accompany your bread rolls or your snacks, you could give it a try. Especially if you are vegan and looking for a vegan option, you need to check this out.
- Spicy Cheese Bread; if you want an exciting experience eating your bread, then you might want to spice things up with an addition of jack cheese to your bread. Check out the following blog to see more details on how you can achieve this.
Knowing the different qualities of different cheeses can give you a better eating experience. With the differences that you have learned about these three kinds of cheese, I am sure that next time you are about to cook or bake, you will know which one best suits your recipe.