Following a gluten-free diet is not an easy one for people that are sensitive to gluten. Imagine being asked to avoid a food you like, that can be pretty difficult.
If you are a lover of cheese and you are gluten intolerant or you have celiac disease then you may be wondering if cheese is gluten-free.
The good news is; cheese is naturally gluten-free. Well, all dairy products are gluten-free only that a few of them may have been contaminated by gluten during production.
Cheese is a beloved dairy product that is enjoyed by everyone. It is made from pressed curds of milk, firm, elastic, and soft in texture.
Cheeses are made using milk that has been pasteurized, a high-temperature method that destroys bacteria.
Cheese plays a special role in several different cuisines. It can be used in the preparation of many dishes. Not only that, cheese adds flavors to dishes such as pasta, sandwiches, and even pizzas.
It can also be used when making soups, toast, snacks, and many more dishes. And this is why a lot of people can’t do without cheese.
Cheese and gluten
Gluten is a small amount of protein that “glues” food together. But you may want to know if cheese is gluten-free? Cheese does not typically contain gluten. Gluten is found in food that is made up of wheat, rye, barley, and triticale and these are not common ingredients in cheese.
Different types of cheese exist and most of them are gluten-free. If you are gluten sensitive or you have celiac disease then you have to avoid foods that contain gluten. This is because it can cause an immune system reaction, inflammation of the digestive system, fatigue, and rashes.
However, plain, full-fat cheeses which have no flavorings or other extra ingredients have no trace of gluten. It turns out that processed cheeses can have a bit of gluten as a result of cross-contamination.
You must look at the labels for ingredients that may have been used in making processed cheese. Sometimes, producers add ingredients to cheese for flavor and some of these flavors may contain gluten.
Flavors that may be added to cheese that contain gluten include add in wheat or starch, malt or malt vinegar, vegetable gum, artificial color or flavors, natural colors or flavors, thickeners, and even emulsifiers.
You should double-check the ingredients used in making the cheese to make sure it does not contain any of the mentioned.
Cheese and cross-contamination
As earlier said, cheese does not contain gluten but cross-contamination with other gluten-containing ingredients is possible during production.
Packaged cheese, similar to any other packaged food processed in a facility that manufactures other gluten food is at risk of contamination.
The ingredients in different brands of Ricotta cheese, American cheese, queso, and cottage cheese differs. Some producers of these different brands may add hidden ingredients during production and this may contain gluten.
Asides from double-checking the ingredients when you purchase cheese, you can call the manufacturer to properly ensure there is no gluten-containing flavor or ingredient during processing.
Furthermore, you should avoid eating cheese at restaurants and cafes because this may present a risk of cross-contamination with gluten. If you must, ask that yours should be prepared especially without any trace of gluten as you are on a gluten-free diet.
Various types of cheese are less likely to contain gluten than others. Any processed cheese is most likely to contain gluten as a result of cross-contamination during production.
A natural gluten-free substitute for cheese is avocado. Although it cannot exactly serve every purpose as cheese, it can add a creamy texture to dishes such as salad or sandwiches.
Some brands of cheese that are most likely to be gluten-free includes;
It is important to check the label for the ingredient when purchasing any of these cheeses to ensure that no gluten-containing ingredient was used during production.
Tips for Gluten-free cheese recipe
A great way to entirely avoid gluten in your cheese is not only by purchasing gluten-free cheese but also by making recipes that do not contain gluten when preparing your cheese.
This is because aside from buying gluten-free cheese, you may want to also avoid flavors and ingredients that contain gluten when making your cheese recipes.
When making your sauce, soup, queso, macaroni, or any other food using cheese, a simple recipe is recommended to avoid any flavor or ingredients containing gluten.
If you are a lover of macaroni, you can try making gluten-free cheese and macaroni.
Another gluten-free cheese recipe you can try is the truffle mac and cheese recipe.
Avoid artificial flavors or colors, wheat or starch, malt vinegar, emulsifiers, or even thickeners when making a recipe with cheese because they all contain gluten.
If you are using the cheese as a topping ensure also that gluten is not contained in any of the ingredients.
Most cheeses are gluten-free, only a few may contain wheat or any other ingredients that are made from gluten.
If you are gluten intolerant or you have celiac disease, you should check the labels of the cheese brand to ensure it is free from gluten.
You can buy a variety of cheese that are gluten-free as mentioned in this article.