Thursday, January 31, 2013

a Gooey Ham and Cheese Sandwich

A Gluten and Lactose Free Sandwich

What other kind is there?! This was another win, made from Udi's multi-grain gluten free bread and raw cow's milk cheddar cheese.  With a light toast and mustard, this was extremely satisfying. The light chewiness of Udi's bread will never cease to amaze me.

Ham and gooey cheese sandwich on a brown plate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guide to Lactose Free Cheeses

If any of you are a cheesehead like me, the sight and aromas of a luscious cheese shop probably bring you close to tears, right?  Well, weep no more. After hours of research and personal experimentation to verify, there are now many options to choose from. So many, that I recently had the strange experience at Trader Joe's of having too many cheeses to choose from.

Here's my cheese journal of what works for me:

Goat or sheep milk

Cheeses made from these animals are generally safe. Any specialty cheese shop will carry many of these varieties. Look for styles of cheddar, gouda, feta, mozzarella, brie, and blue cheese made from goat or sheep milk. There are two varieties of goat cheddar that strangely don't agree with me (Trader Joe's and Woolwich), so always try anything new on a day off, just in case.

Swiss emmentaler and gruyere

Unique from Belgium or French varieties, Swiss emmentaler/gruyere is the only variety of emmentaler made from raw, unpasteurized cow milk.

Parmeggiano reggiano

Yup, that's right - make sure to get this exact variety, made with unpasteurized cow milk, and go crazy dressing up your (gluten free) pasta again! 

Raw, unpasteurized cow milk

 I suspect this critical ingredient is what renders swiss emmentaler, gruyere, and parmeggiano reggiano lactose free. Apparently pasteurization kills the active enzymes in milk that help digest the troubling lactose. Yay for french onion soup again!

Aged cheeses? 

While I've been told by several cheese mongers that the aging process kills the lactose, traces may still remain, and I've had mostly no luck tolerating aged cheeses. I've tried ones aged a few months to a couple years, finding none that are safe. Beware of relying solely on the "aged" characteristic to render a cheese "lactose-free".

Happy tasting and eating, y'all!