A Little Cooking Spray Makes Grating Cheese Easier Than Ever

If your recipe calls for shredded cheese, buying it from the store already grated is definitely the easiest option. Unfortunately, pre-shredded and pre-grated cheese doesn't always yield the best taste or texture especially compared with the fresh stuff. It's loaded with additives that effectively prevent the cheese from sticking together, but also cause it to melt poorly. This can easily be avoided by grating your own cheese.

The caveat to grating your own cheese, in addition to it being time-consuming, is that it can be messy and wasteful. Especially if you're grating a lot of it, cheese tends to stick to the metal and eventually builds up on the grater. At the start, you'll have nice clean shreds, but the stickier the surface of the grater gets and the more clogged it becomes, the clumpier the shredded cheese will be. Luckily all you have to do is spray the grater with cooking spray beforehand. When you grate your cheese, it'll glide on smoothly instead of sticking to the grater.

How much cooking spray to use on a cheese grater

You don't need to douse your cheese grater in cooking spray in order for it to become nonstick. Cooking spray whether you're using it on a pan or on a grater is meant to be applied as a thin layer. If you use too much of it, it starts to have a chemical taste because cooking spray isn't just oil, it also contains other additives. Instead of spraying on a very thick layer, spray a thin layer on both the inside and the outside of the grater. If you notice your cheese starts to stick, you can always add more as you go.

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If you don't have any cooking spray or want to completely avoid that chemical taste, regular cooking oil works just as well. Simply use a basting brush and manually coat the grater with the oil. Neutral oils like avocado or canola oil will also ensure the flavor of the cheese remains largely unaffected.

Does it work with soft cheese?

While cooking spray does a great job at making a grater nonstick, it doesn't have any effect on the cheese itself. That means soft, high-moisture cheeses like fresh mozzarella will still be just as difficult to grate if you just spray the grater with cooking spray. With these types of cheeses, it's not necessarily the sticking to the grater that's the problem, it's also that they're not very sturdy.

To effectively grate soft cheese, cooking spray will still come in handy, but you'll need to take a slightly different approach. In addition to spraying your grater, freeze your cheese as well. The freezer will firm up your cheese while the cooking spray will take care of the sticking issue, and you'll be able to grate it without it falling apart or clogging the grater. If you're grating a firmer cheese, however, the cooking spray alone should work just fine.

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