Damn It, Let’s Waffle Some Cheese

Cheese can be a source of comfort, especially if it’s sticky, melted, and eaten through some kind of carbohydrate-rich delivery system. There are many ways to melt cheese, but none of them are as fun as waffles, and I think everyone can have a little fun (and comfort) right now.

The waffle iron melts, but it also crunches, creating a fricot-like outer layer or, in the case of brie and other similar cheeses, tempering a more earthy, bolder rind with a slight browning. It’s also a calming process of sorts: a soothing hiss followed by a deliciously pungent scent and finally a satisfying cross-pattern that whispers, “You did it, champion, you achieved something.” (I’m great at social distancing; actually, I love it.)

But not all cheese waffles are good. I cooked nine (9) different cheeses and, as you would expect, the low moisture samples were the best. Mozzarella, oaxaca, and feta were whiny and greasy dishes, but brie, paneer, halloumi, bread cheese, parmesan reggiano, and curd cheese were excellent.

For skinned cheeses like brie, it’s important to choose something that stays firm enough at room temperature (lest one of those French guys cry a lot and completely lose their temper the moment you take it out of the fridge). Chilling the cheese ahead of time is also helpful, as you want to melt the brie as the zest is browning, but don’t melt it enough to spread throughout the waffle iron. Waffle brie is similar to baked brie, except that the waffle brie has handy little waffle dimples that collect honey, which is a pretty big improvement.

Paneer, halloumi, and bread cheese are deliciously squeaky cheeses that hold them together for as long as you need them, forming great crusts that can be as dark as you want without melting in all places. This was to be expected as they are very good at grilling too. These waffle cheeses are great for tacos.

The curd is slightly different. At first you think they’re going to go the mozzarella route and grease all over the place, and that’s a little more. But then everything calms down and a crust forms on the outside of the melted flattened curd, creating a more chewy and plump friko variety, similar to fried curd, only without breading. This is a very good appetizer.

Parmesan makes a great cover for mashed potatoes , but you can toss a few crumbly chunks right into your waffles for a thicc piece of Frico. The longer you waffle it, the crisper it becomes, but it can be fun if it becomes soft and supple in the center.

Medium heat is best for all of these cheeses. Simply cut them into slices or planks, place in a waffle iron and waffle until they are melted and browned to your liking. This happens pretty quickly – in some cases, less than a minute, so watch it and don’t go away. As soon as the cheese becomes waffle, eat it right away. Fresh is best and you deserve the best right now.


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