Ah, the world of ingredient substitutes. From time and time again, people of the kitchen tend to experience the annoying problem of not having the right ingredient in the tabletop.
In normal cases, we can immediately find these "missing" foodstuff by going to our nearest stores and markets. But there are instances where we can't simply do this. A good example is when the item that you are looking is completely unavailable.
Just recently, I've seen a lot of people searching for Gruyere cheese substitute. Perhaps this phenomenon is just a manifestation that this ingredient has increasing demand, but is currently met fully because of some circumstances we can only guess about.
If you are among those people that have been baffled about the potential alternatives for this particular cheese variant, then I suggest that you read on. You are quite fortunate that I know the tastes and textures that can replicate the ones possessed by Gyure.
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What Is Gruyere Cheese, Anyway?
Before I get to our topic, I have to discuss first what Gruyere cheese is. After all, by knowing its nuances, flavors, and uses, you will be able to deduce what ingredients come close to it. Of course, that's the very method I used in finding the alternatives for this cheese.
Specifically, Gruyere is considered to be a variation of the Swiss cheese. One of its notable characteristics is that melts smoothly even in light heat. Honestly, it is quite delectable to what this cheese interact with steamy recipes and delicacies.
The cheese is manufactured with cow's milk as its base. Based on my research, the curing period for this cheese takes around six months or more than that.
Despite its appealing nature, Gruyere is still known as an exceptional table cheese. When I say "table cheese," this refers to all cheese that you can consume in slices. A good example is the type of cheese that you use in your sandwiches or any platter that require cheese slices.
Keep in mind that Gruyere is a melting cheese. In fact, I know some cooking aficionados that see this as one of the two primary cheese variants that are used for making the ever-sumptuous fondue dish. The other cheese is called the Emmental, which is something that I will highlight separately in my next blogs.
Interestingly, I was told that you could actually mix Gruyere with Emmental to create the sumptuous Croque monsieur. The latter is a French grilled cheese sandwich that you can see in most Parisian bistros.
Meanwhile, here is a great sandwich recipe that uses Gruyere.
General Characteristics Of A Gruyere Cheese
Originated in Switzerland, the Gruyere cheese has distinct characteristics that make it stand out from the rest of its kind. Even if it is a melting cheese, the composition of Gruyere is actually firm. It has a pale yellowish color, which somehow resembles other cheese.
When tasted, the Gruyere emanates a deep and creamy feeling in your mouth. If you have a trained tongue, you can easily identify that this cheese has a nutty cheese. Of course, same as a block of Swiss cheese, Gruyere features small holes on its body. These holes or "eyes" have been formed due to the release of gas bubbles while the cheese is being made.
However, when compared to other Swiss cheese, it is notable that Gruyere has smaller holes. Perhaps you can use this as a way of determining if a particular cheese is Gruyere or not.
Gruyere Cheese Substitute
I already gave a preview about the nature of this cheese. Now, it is time that I will go to the part that most of you are searching.
Right from the start, let me tell you that not all cheese can be a substitute of Gruyere cheese. As what you have read, this cheese has a distinct set of traits and tastes, which makes it different and unique. Many hold this particular assumption on their mind. As a result, they just get whatever they grab on the shelves and hope that the dish they make will have the same impact as when the Gruyere cheese.
But of course, we all know that's simply not the case. Cooking and food preparation still incorporate science. Unless you are simply lucky that you have got the right ingredient by just guessing, finding an excellent alternative to Gruyere is definitely not easy.
But don't fret yet. After all, I am here to elaborate some of the tested-and-proven alternatives to Gruyere. Here are some of them:
Of course! If you want the best substitute for Gruyere, you should get the cheese that comes close to it. Emmental, or Emmentaler for some, is indeed one of the top alternatives you have for this specific cheese. It also originated in Switzerland, which makes it the ideal candidate if you need the flavor of Gruyere right away.
Primarily, the firmness of Emmental is almost the same as Gruyere. The way I see it, Gruyere is slightly softer than Emmental. But then again, I think that others feel the opposite. Regardless of that detail, it is undeniable that you can use Emmental as a table cheese.
Similar to the manufacturing of Gruyere, Emmental is also derived from cow's milk. It has a chemical-free composition, which makes it great for traditional Parisian delicacies. If you are planning to make tarts, bruschetta, ravioli, pastries, and fondues but doesn't have Gruyere in your kitchen, I really recommend that you put the Emmental in action. It is a great melting cheese and contains the richness in flavor that you usually experience when eating Gruyere.
One of the distinctions between Emmental and Gruyere is the size of the holes. Like I've said earlier, the holes in the body of Gruyere is small. On the other hand, it is pretty evident that Emmental has large eyes. Fortunately, this particular difference between these two cheese doesn't affect their interaction with food. In fact, I can only taste a little variation as to when Emmental is used in delicacies instead of Gruyere.
The curing time of Emmental is two (2) to eighteen (18) months--depending on the variant that you get. It is moderately priced, too. Currently, its cost per pound is approximately $14 to $18.
2. Raclette Cheese
Whenever melting cheese is discussed, Raclette cheese always comes in my mind. After all, this specific cheese is also a Swiss variant. And just like any other Swiss cheese, it can also go with various Swiss delicacies. You can do this by melting Raclette and scraping the liquified cheese to the plate or the delicacy where you want to use it.
Raclette is actually a French term. It refers to the act of scraping. The aging time of this cheese ranges from three (3) months to six (6) months. Most of the time, Raclette cheese is used as a pair for white wine and other types of warm beverages. The main reason is that it has unlikely interaction with cold drinks and even water. When you drink a glass of cold water with the cheese, the latter will become hard in the stomach. As a result, indigestion usually sinks in.
When the dish is warm, you can always use Raclette as a substitute for Gruyere. It can produce the same kind of richness and creaminess on the food. The scent is pretty neutral, so it doesn't really catch the attention of sensitive noses. Flavor-wise, Raclette somehow resembles Raclette.
The traditional way of using Raclette cheese is through melting it in an open fire. Today, the preparation for this cheese has been so simple already. You can just use non-stick electric grills to do the work for work. It is great in melting, which is one of the reasons why a significant number of gourmets favor it as a substitute for Gruyere. It is used on pizzas, pasta, lasagna, fondues, and sandwiches.
Typically, Raclette cheese cost an average of $18 to $20 per pound. It is slightly more expensive than Emmental.
Here is a good way to use Raclette cheese with the use of potatoes!
3. Appenzeller Cheese
It has to be indicated that the Appenzeller cheese is typically coated with a special brine that contains cider or wine. Therefore, the resulting flavor of the cheese varies from one type to another. Accordingly, the older the wine that was used in the brine, the creamier this cheese gets. That's something that I want you people to experience by yourselves.
The Classic variant of the Appenzeller cheese has an aging of 3 to 4 months. Meanwhile, the Surchoix is cured for 4 to 6 months at least. The last variant, the Extra, has a natural aging period of 6 months to a year. Each of these three Appenzeller variants comes in different colored labels (silver, gold, and black, respectively).
Interestingly, Appenzeller can also be produced through the use of organic milk. It is called the Appenzeller Bio. There is a lot of commercialized version for this particular variant, so I suggest that you check it out. It is said that the Appenzeller has a spicy tang and considered to be spiciest among all the Swiss cheese. Well, if you are planning to make your sandwich to have an extra punch, I do suggest that you use Appenzeller instead of Gruyere.
Today, Appenzeller cheese has a commercial price that starts on $24. It can go as high as $32, depending on the variant.
4. Jarlsberg Cheese
Another option that you can have for a Gruyere cheese substitute is the Jarlsberg. It has a semi-soft body, which is something that you can distinguish right from the start. It is a perfect pair for snacks and sandwiches that require the extra creaminess of Swiss cheese.
Unlike most of the alternatives here, Jarlsberg cheese did not originate in Switzerland. Instead, it was incepted in Norway, which is still a cow milk-rich country. Needless to say, this one is made from cow's milk and offers a delectable melting trait. There are large holes on it, which is pretty similar to Emmental. The flavor has the same sweetness and nuttiness of Gruyere. However, it does not overwhelm your tastebuds. Instead, it remains mild and provides balance to the food that you are eating.
Jarlsberg cheese can be used in various delicacies--primarily in snacks and sandwiches. Others are using this said cheese for baking purposes. It goes well with wine and beer, too. It can be considered as an all-rounder for Parisian delicacies. Among all the substitutes for Gruyere here, I do recommend that you should try this first. The flavor and character that it adds to the food are almost similar to Gruyere cheese.
It has an entry-level price, too. With a price tag that doesn't exceed $14 per pound at most, this one offers the most cost-efficient alternative to our beloved Swiss cheese.
5. Comté and Beaufort Cheese
Lastly, I do want you to try the Comté and Beaufort. They are French cheese that has been manufactured and processed from cow's milk that has not been pasteurized. Several gourmets that I know told me that this particular cheese could serve as a replacement for both Gruyere and Emmental. Since all of these variants are mountain cheese, they exhibit exceptional smoothness in melting. Comté and Beaufort can be utilized in souffles, fondues, pasta, and pizzas.
It is pretty interesting to know that the French AOC regulations in France have a strict mandate that this particular cheese should only be made from French Simmental or Montbeliarde cattle.
As you can see here, the Gruyere cheese has a myriad of alternatives. Obviously, they only come in the form of cheese. Other ingredients cannot compensate for the flavor and succulent appeal that the Gruyere can induce on the food. Only specific variants of Swiss cheese are capable of matching its pallette. Luckily, these cheese variants are not hard to find. They can be easily be bought in nearby markets.
At this point, you will never have to worry anymore if Gruyere is not present in your kitchen. You have several alternatives that you can choose and can still get the same outcome!
Do you know other great Gruyere cheese substitute? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!