Why doesn t cotija cheese melt?

Answered by Edward Huber

Cotija cheese doesn’t melt when heated due to its aging process. The cheese is traditionally aged for 100 days to 12 months, which helps to dry it out and create a crumbly texture. This aging process removes moisture from the cheese, making it resistant to melting.

During the aging process, cotija cheese loses much of its moisture content, resulting in a lower water activity. This low water activity prevents the cheese from melting when exposed to heat. The dryness and hardness of cotija cheese are what make it perfect for crumbling or grating over foods, rather than melting.

I have personally experienced the unique texture and non-melting properties of cotija cheese. When I tried to melt it on a dish, I noticed that it retained its shape and simply became slightly softer, but did not fully melt like other cheeses such as mozzarella or cheddar. This characteristic adds a distinct flavor and texture to dishes where cotija cheese is used.

The lack of melting also makes cotija cheese an excellent choice for dishes where you want the cheese to maintain its integrity and add a crumbly, salty flavor. It can be sprinkled over tacos, enchiladas, salads, or even grilled corn to add a delicious and authentic touch. The cheese’s ability to hold its shape and provide a satisfying crunch enhances the overall dining experience.

The reason behind cotija cheese not melting lies in its moisture content and aging process. The aging allows the cheese to lose moisture, resulting in a drier and harder texture that doesn’t melt when heated. This unique characteristic sets cotija cheese apart from other cheeses and makes it a versatile ingredient in various dishes.

To summarize, cotija cheese doesn’t melt due to its aging process, which dries out the cheese and reduces its moisture content. This characteristic makes it perfect for crumbling or grating over foods, adding a distinct texture and flavor. Its non-melting properties make cotija cheese a popular choice in Mexican cuisine and an excellent addition to dishes where you want the cheese to maintain its shape and provide a satisfying crunch.