It may not be as popular as mozzarella, ricotta, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, but Asiago cheese is certainly a popular Italian cheese. Fresh Asiago cheese has a mild milky flavor with a light acidity and sweetness. Aged Asiago cheese is pungent and nutty. The longer Asiago cheese is aged, the sharper it becomes. Asiago cheese is covered in this article, including how it’s made, how it’s used, what texture Asiago cheese has, and whether it melts.
What Is Asiago Cheese?
Originally made on the Asiago Plateau, Asiago cheese is an Italian cheese variety made from cow’s milk. Among the most traditional producers of Asiago cheese is the Veneto region. As this cheese has been produced since 1000 BC, it is not surprising that it has received the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) certification in Italy. This certification indicates that Asiago cheese has been made in traditional methods.
While the United States and Australia also produce Asiago cheese, if you want to get authentic Asiago cheese, make sure the wedge has the DOP label. Check out this video from Murray’s Cheese to learn more about Asiago cheese’s origins.
What Is The Texture Of Asiago Cheese?
The texture of Asiago cheese can range from semi-soft to hard, depending on how long it has been aged. The rind of Asiago cheese is thin and edible, and the cheese is soft and creamy when fresh. Asiago cheese gets harder and crumblier as it ages. Asiago cheese that has been aged longer is known as Asiago d’allevo, which translates into aged Asiago cheese.
How Is Asiago Cheese Made?
Making authentic Italian Asiago cheese requires a great deal of thought and technique. As noted above, there are two types of Asiago cheese.
In the Italian tradition of making Asiago cheese, the milk for making fresh Asiago cheese should come from cows that have grazed on grass on the Asiago Plateau’s lowlands.
First, fresh Asiago cheese is made by heating milk, adding enzymes to achieve curdling, and pouring the curds into cheese molds. Fresh Asiago cheese is then dry-salted and then brine-cured. Asiago cheese is aged for about a month, during which it develops a semi-soft texture with irregular holes.
In addition to whole milk, aged Asiago cheese is made with skim milk. Another thing that distinguishes aged Asiago cheese from fresh Asiago is that the milk should come from cattle who have grazed grass at higher altitudes. When the milk curdles, the curds are transferred into molds after they have been heated with rennet and coagulated.
The cheese is then salted and aged for at least six months. Some types of aged Asiago are aged for 15 or more months. Aging Asiago cheese enhances its tangy, nutty flavor and makes it crumblier.
What Does Asiago Cheese Taste Like?
Depending on how long it has been aged, Asiago cheese has a sharper flavor profile. Aged Asiago cheese is nutty and tangy. We recommend getting fresh semi-soft Asiago cheese if you enjoy mild-flavored cheeses. Fresh Asiago has a mild taste that is slightly acidic and sweet.
What Does Asiago Cheese Smell Like?
Fresh Asiago cheese has a mild floral and milky smell, but as it ages, the smell becomes deeper and richer. It is most likely that your Asiago cheese has gone bad if it smells bad.
Does Asiago Cheese Melt Well?
The texture of fresh Asiago cheese is semi-soft, and it melts nicely. Aged Asiago isn’t good for melting. It’s hard and dry. It’s better to grate it as a garnish rather than melt it.
What Is Asiago Cheese Used For?
Asiago cheese has many uses due to its mild flavor and texture. Aged Asiago cheese has a sharp flavor, so be aware of that when using it.
Here are some of the best uses for Asiago cheese:
The nutty taste of Asiago cheese pairs well with dry red wines. Some full-bodied white wines are also good with Asiago cheese. And if you don’t drink wine, you can eat it with crackers or bread.
You can use fresh Asiago cheese to make creamy cheesy soup or shred aged Asiago on your soups right before serving them.
You can use Asiago cheese to make any of your favorite pasta dishes, including four cheese pasta, chicken alfredo, and lasagna.
In order to create a richer cheese flavor, you can pair Asiago cheese with mozzarella cheese, which melts quite well.
The mild milky flavor of Asiago cheese makes it perfect for both hot and cold sandwiches. You can use it in any sandwich you like or make the all-time favorite grilled cheese sandwich with it. Add slices of prosciutto to your Asiago grilled cheese sandwich to make it more Italian.
A great way to use Asiago cheese is to make dips. A baked Asiago cheese dip is particularly good.
The nutty and sharp flavor of aged Asiago cheese is particularly delicious in salads containing nuts and fruits.
What Cheese Tastes Like Asiago Cheese?
A real Italian Asiago cheese may be quite expensive and is not one of the most popular cheese varieties. Here are some options you can consider if you want a cheese variety that tastes like Asiago cheese.
The best substitute for Asiago cheese is Parmesan cheese, which has a similar flavor and texture to aged Asiago cheese. You should not use parmesan in recipes that call for fresh Asiago cheese since it is milder and milkier. Parmesan is very similar to aged Asiago in terms of texture, as both are hard, grainy, and crumbly. As an alternative to Asiago cheese, you can grate parmesan cheese on top of pizzas and pastas.
In spite of the fact that Pecorino Romano is made from sheep’s milk, it has a flavor profile similar to aged Asiago. There is a possibility that Pecorino Romano cheese is saltier than Asiago cheese. It can be used on pizza, pasta, salads, soups, and so on.
As an Asiago cheese substitute, Grana Padano is another well-known Italian cheese. This cheese is aged for at least nine months, giving it a rich, nutty flavor similar to aged Asiago. Grana Padano has a hard texture similar to aged Asiago.
It is recommended to use white cheddar if you are looking for a fresh Asiago substitute that is widely available and not too costly. When using white cheddar in recipes that call for fresh Asiago cheese, choose a mild version. White cheddar melts well and can be used in almost any recipe that calls for fresh Asiago cheese. Mild white cheddar is particularly good for sandwiches.
Provolone is an Italian cheese with a semi-soft texture that can be substituted for fresh Asiago cheese. Dolce is a sweet and mild variety of Provolone cheese that can be substituted for fresh Asiago cheese. Compared to aged Asiago, Provolone Piccante is a sharper variety of Provolone cheese.
How To Store Asiago Cheese
You can keep Asiago cheese in its original packaging as long as it is intact and fully protects it once you bring it home. Alternatively, place the cheese in an airtight container, a zip-top bag, or wrap it tightly with food wrap to prevent it from drying out.
How Long Does Asiago Cheese Last?
When stored properly, fresh Asiago cheese lasts around two weeks in the refrigerator. Aged Asiago cheese can last up to four weeks.
How Do You Know Asiago Cheese Is Bad?
Asiago cheese should be discarded if it has developed a dark color, off-putting smell, and dry texture. If you spot mold on a block of Asiago cheese, cut off the moldy part and eat the rest. Discard all Asiago cheese if you notice mold on it.