Dairy

Dairy

This category includes milk and cream, cheese, eggs, and cultured milk products, like yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream.

Comte
Comte
This excellent French cow's milk cheese dates from the time of Charlemagne. It has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, much like Gruyère. It's a very good melting cheese.
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corsu vecchio cheese
corsu vecchio cheese
This sheep's milk cheese comes from Corsica.
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cotija
cotija
This is a sharp, salty white grating cheese that softens but doesn't melt when heated. Cacique is a well-known brand. Look for it in Hispanic markets.
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cottage cheese
cottage cheese
This simple, mild cheese was traditionally produced in Europe's "cottages" from the milk left over from butter making. It's versatile, easy to digest, and a good source of protein. It's sold with either large or small curds, and with fruit or chives sometimes added. Use it within a few days after purchasing and discard if mold appears. It's best served chilled.
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Coulommiers
Coulommiers
This soft-ripened French cheese resembles Brie and Camembert.
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cow's milk cheese
cow's milk cheese
Cow's milk cheeses are creamier than goat or sheep's milk cheeses.
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cream
cream
Creams vary according to the amount of butterfat they have. Lightest of all is half & half, which is half milk, half cream and weighs in with a butterfat content between 10.5 - 18%. It can't be whipped, but it's nice with coffee, or on cereal. Light cream = coffee cream = table cream is richer at 18 - 30% fat, but it still can't be whipped. Light whipping cream = whipping cream (with a butterfat content of 30 - 36%) and heavy cream = heavy whipping cream (with at least 36% fat) are heavy enough to whip, and aren't as prone as lower-fat creams to curdling in sauces. The higher the butterfat content, the less beating is required to get whipped cream. Europeans go for even heavier creams, like double cream (with a butterfat content of 42%), extra-thick double cream, and clotted cream = Devonshire cream, which is often spread like butter over scones. Look for clotted cream in large supermarkets, but (perhaps luckily) the double creams are very hard to find. You can buy ultra-pasteurized versions of these creams, but they tend to have a burnt milk taste and don't whip as well.
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cream cheese
cream cheese
An American favorite, cream cheese is a terrific spread for bagels and nut breads and a key ingredient in cheesecake and other desserts. It comes in low-fat and nonfat versions; these work well as spreads but compromise the flavor and texture of cheesecakes. Cream cheese made without stabilizers is also disappointing in cheesecakes, though it makes for a more acidic and flavorful spread. Store in the refrigerator. Unopened foil-wrapped commercial cream cheese is good for about a month after the "Best when used by" date on the carton. Once opened, you should use it within 10 days. Throw it out if mold appears.
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crema
crema
Cremas are the Hispanic version of sour cream. This category includes crema mexicana, which is similar to crème fraîche; crema centroamericana, which is a bit thicker and sweeter than crema mexicana; crema media, which is like whipping cream; crema Mexicana agria, which is thicker and more acidic than crema Mexicana and often used for savory dishes; and crema salvadoreña, which is thick like sour cream. Look for it in Mexican and Central American grocery stores.
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créme fraîche
créme fraîche
This slightly sour thick cream doesn't curdle when it's heated, so it's ideal for making cream sauces. It's also used for appetizers and as a dessert topping. To make your own: Warm one cup heavy cream to about 100°, then add one or two tablespoons of sour cream, cultured buttermilk, or plain yogurt (make sure you buy a brand that contains active cultures). Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for at least nine hours before refrigerating.
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Danish blue
Danish blue
Danish blue is rich and creamy, but it's considered inferior to Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Stilton.
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Derby cheese
Derby cheese
Includes: Derby Sage cheese (pictured), which is flavored with sage.
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double cream (42% fat)
double cream (42% fat)
This isn't available in the United States.
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double-crème cheese
double-crème cheese
These soft and semi-soft cheeses contain 60-74% butterfat, making them rich and creamy. They're not quite as decadent as tripe-crème cheeses, which have at least 75% butterfat.
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dry jack
dry jack
This is aged jack cheese.
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duck egg
duck egg
Compared to chicken eggs, these are larger, higher in fat and more colorful, though they have a slightly fishy flavor. They're sometimes contaminated with bacteria, so make sure you cook them thoroughly.
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Edam
Edam
This has a red wax coating.
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egg yolks
egg yolks
Higher in fat, but increasing the egg yolks in a baked good often makes it moister and more flavorful. Egg yolks make wonderful thickeners--imparting both a rich flavor and velvety smooth texture--but they're tricky to use. You can't just whisk them into a simmering sauce--they'd curdle on contact. Instead, you need to "temper" them by adding some of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, whisking the mixture together, and then adding it to the sauce. To prevent the yolks from coagulating, you need to keep the sauce below 190°, although this rule can be broken if the sauce has a lot of flour in it. Finally, never cook sauces with egg yolks in aluminum pans or they'll turn gray.
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Emmental
Emmental
This Swiss cheese is riddled with holes and has a mild, nutty flavor. It's an excellent melting cheese, and a key ingredient in many fondues.
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Epoisses
Epoisses
This well-regarded French cheese is a member of the washed-rind or "stinky" family of cheeses, but it's a bit more subtle than Limburger, Livarot, or other siblings. It's a little runny when ripe. The rind is edible--taste it to see if you like it.
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Esrom
Esrom
This Danish cheese is semi-soft and only slightly pungent. It's a great melting cheese and a popular ingredient in casseroles.
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evaporated milk
evaporated milk
This is sold in cans, and comes either whole or nonfat. Don't confuse it with sweetened condensed milk, which has lots of sugar and is not a good substitute. While evaporated milk is sometimes called condensed milk, most recipes that call for condensed milk are referring to sweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk is sold with varying amounts of butterfat, ranging from whole evaporated milk with about 8% to skim evaporated milk with about 0.5%. To reconstitute evaporated milk, combine it with an equal amount of water.
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Explorateur
Explorateur
This soft, creamy French cheese is rich and complex.
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farmer cheese
farmer cheese
This mildly acidic fresh cheese is made by pressing much of the moisture out of cottage cheese. Some varieties resemble a very dry, crumbly cottage cheese, while others have can be sliced. It's primarily used for cooking.
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feta
feta
This salty, crumbly cheese is common in Greek cuisine. It's often stored in brine; if so, you might want to rinse it before using to remove some of the saltiness. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
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Fiore Sardo cheese
Fiore Sardo cheese
This is an Italian sheep's milk cheese. It's a bit crumbly.
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fontina
fontina
This well-regarded cheese is mild but interesting, and it's a good melter.
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Fourme d'Ambert
Fourme d'Ambert
The French claim to have been making this moist blue cheese since the time of the Ancient Romans. It's cheaper and milder than many blue cheeses.
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fresh Hispanic cheese
fresh Hispanic cheese
Hispanic cooks like their cheese bland and salty, the better to complement their spicy sauces. They also want cheese to hold its shape when heated. Monterey jack, the standard substitute for Hispanic cheeses, tends to ooze out of chiles rellenos and enchiladas when baked. Authentic recipes call for panela or queso blanco, which soften but don't melt when heated. Hispanic fresh cheeses often keep better than other fresh cheeses--some can be stored for months in the refrigerator. Varieties: Best for topping casseroles or bean dishes: queso fresco. Best for fried cheese recipes: queso para freir, queso blanco, queso panela. Best for filling casserole dishes like enchiladas: queso panela, queso blanco. Best for salads: queso panela. Best for tacos and burritos: queso panela. Best for refried beans: queso panela.
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fromage blanc
fromage blanc
This usually has the consistency of thick yogurt. It's expensive and hard to find, but very tasty and relatively low in fat. It makes a great topping for desserts.
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fromage frais
fromage frais
This is the French term for "fresh cheese." This category includes fromage blanc, Petit-Suisse, and chevre frais.
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gamonedo
gamonedo
This expensive Spanish cheese is made from the milks of cows, sheep, and goats. It's smoked, giving it a very complex flavor. It is made from mixture of cow, sheep and goat’s milk.
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gervais
Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
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Gjetost
Gjetost
This tastes a bit like caramelized American cheese.
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Gloucester
Gloucester
This orange cheddar-like cheese comes from England. Varieties include Single Gloucester, which is ripened for only two months, and Double Gloucester, which is more highly regarded and flavorful. Huntsman cheese contains layers of Gloucester and Stilton.
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goat cheese
goat cheese
Goat's milk lends cheese a tangy, earthy, and sometimes barnyard flavor. Varieties include chèvre, Montrachet, Mizithra, Chaubier, Humboldt Fog, Chabichou, Banon, and Bucheron.
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goat cheese (fresh)
goat cheese (fresh)
Don't confuse this mild fresh cheese with aged goat cheese, which is less common and more flavorful. Fresh goat cheese is like fromage blanc, only made with goat's milk. There are several varieties, including Montrachet and cabecou, which is soaked in brandy. Goat cheese is usually vacuum-packed, though many connoisseurs seek out the more perishable but tastier paper-wrapped cheeses at specialty shops.
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goat's milk
goat's milk
This comes with varying percentages of butterfat. You can buy it fresh, or as powdered milk, canned evaporated milk, or UHT milk packed in aseptic containers. Fresh is best for drinking and delicate desserts, the other kinds pick up an unpleasant caramelized flavor when they're heated for packaging.
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Gorgonzola
Gorgonzola
Italian Gorgonzolas are creamy and mild, while domestic versions are sharper and more crumbly. A Gorgonzola dolce (DOLE-chay) is young, creamy, and mild, while a Gorgonzola naturale = mountain Gorgonzola is aged until it's firmer and more pungent. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Some Gorgonzola cheeses can be frozen successfully, others become crumbly (but still usable in salads). For best results, first cut the cheese into small (1/2 pound) chunks, and wrap each chunk in an airtight package. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use the cheese soon after it's thawed.
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Gouda
Gouda
This Dutch cheese has a mild, nutty flavor. Varieties include smoked Gouda, the diminutive baby Gouda, and Goudas flavored with garlic and spices. Goudas are also classed by age. A young Gouda is mild, an aged Gouda = medium Gouda = mature Gouda is more assertive, and an old Gouda = very aged Gouda is downright pungent.
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Gourmandise
This is a creamy, mild French cheese.
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Grana Padano
Grana Padano
This is just like Parmesan, except that it's made in a different part of Italy.
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