Cheese slicer recommendations wanted.
May 17, 2020 6:31 AM   Subscribe

I have this very nice cheese. I would like to slice it for grilled cheese sandwiches. However, I have no slicing gadget and would like some recommendations from the field.

An ordinary knife just gives me cheese shards. Ideally, I would like to create nice neat square thin slices like you might get at a deli, but I realize that may not be possible without some large industrial machine.
posted by JanetLand to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Swedish style cheese slice! Essential piece of equipment.
posted by Balthamos at 6:38 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]

If it’s for grilled cheese sandwiches, could you just grate it & pile it on the sandwich instead?
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:39 AM on May 17 [13 favorites]

How hard is the cheese? Quite thin strong string, fishing line or dental floss might mimic the wire in most cheese cutters. Consistent thickness could still be an issue. Grating is my current thought.
posted by beaning at 7:02 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Personally I find the kind romantically described as a "cheese lyre" much easier to use than the Swedish-style kind linked above.
posted by terretu at 7:04 AM on May 17

An ordinary knife just gives me cheese shards.

I have the abovementioned Swedish-style cheese slicer and with certain cheeses (e.g. Dubliner) I still end up with cheese shards, just as I get with a knife. So I can't tell if my cheese slicer isn't sharp enough, or some cheeses just don't easily slice into deli-slice pieces. I would actually like to understand this better myself: is there something about the physics of a cheese slicer that makes it different from a sharp knife?
posted by splitpeasoup at 7:33 AM on May 17

Ah, I found an interesting answer to my own question; posting here in case it's interesting to anyone else:

> Cheese has a relatively high coefficient of friction (though I have been unable to find exact numbers for particular cheeses), and a knife presents a relatively large, flat surface area in contact with the cheese. Consequently, friction between a knife blade and the cheese surface is high. A wire (or a cheese knife with holes through the blade) presents less surface area than a normal knife, and therefore is less impeded by friction.
posted by splitpeasoup at 7:37 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]

If you want to go buy something, I'd get the "cheese lyre" type slicer terretu recommends. If you want to know what you can use that you already have, I think a sharp knife is your best bet.
posted by Redstart at 7:40 AM on May 17

Try leaving the cheese out for a few hours. It will get less brittle and more elastic if it's at room temp, and might be cuttable then.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:42 AM on May 17

If you want to go buy something, I'd get the "cheese lyre" type slicer terretu recommends. If you want to know what you can use that you already have, I think a sharp knife is your best bet.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I want to go buy something.
posted by JanetLand at 8:37 AM on May 17

I love Swedish-style cheese slicer‘s not only for slicing the type of cheese that they work with, which can vary, but also for peeling vegetables. They are great for people like me who have wrist problems because you can pull toward yourself to remove peel, which I find more comfortable than traditional peelers that you use by pushing away. So this type of cheese slicer is a two-fer and I highly recommend it. But it won’t work very well on soft cheeses unless you keep it in the refrigerator with the cheese and slice the cheese when it is cold. I don’t know what to tell you about super-shatter-prone aged Cheddars, however. I just do the best I can.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:10 AM on May 17

This is the slicer I use.

It cuts through almost all cheeses and provides uniform slices.
posted by donpardo at 9:24 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]

I have a wire-type cheese cutter that works wonderfully. Seems like it would work perfectly for that type of "squeaky" cheese (as it's described in the link).
posted by SoberHighland at 10:12 AM on May 17

I use a very thin, very sharp serrated knife on cheese like that and on cheddar and it works perfectly.
posted by fshgrl at 10:40 AM on May 17

Regarding showbiz_liz's post above. Most food writers argue that hard cheeses (for example, parmesan) should be at room temperature for grating. Most semi-hard cheeses (cheddar, gruyere) should be cold. I find that's true. In fact some folks recommend putting a semi-hard cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes or so before slicing.

My family used to have a slicer like the Westmark URL'd above. We used it for blocks of Velveeta. Worked great!
posted by tmdonahue at 12:11 PM on May 17

For grilling cheese (and I've grilled a lot of cheese in my day), I find that grating works better--it melts faster and more evenly. And obviously there's not a presentation issue to worry about.
posted by praemunire at 12:15 PM on May 17

As befits my Mefite name, I eat a lot of cheese. I find that cheese lyres hurt my hand, but cheese planes do not. I had a lovely Rubbermaid one, but after a few years, the bottom of the plane pulled out of the easy-to-hold rubber handle. I could put it back in, but planing "backward" as one does forced it out again.

The one Balthamos posted is two-piece, though quite dissimilar from the one I had previously that broke apart. The BOSKA one I have now is all metal, though two pieces of metal fused (rather than a plane inserted in a handle), and it's been a highlight tool of my quarantine experience. I'd encourage you to get an all-metal cheese plane.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 12:58 PM on May 17

The Swedish Implement is also a Dutch implement, and comes in a shorter variant. Search for 'kaasschaaf' (the tool) and 'korte kaasschaaf' (the shorter variety, which in my experience works well with the younger, more elastic cheeses). My Dutch sucks, but in translation it is roughly a cheese plane or a cheese shaver.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 12:22 AM on May 18

I use a standard vegetable peeler. It works fine on any cheese harder than brie.
posted by Weftage at 6:24 AM on May 18

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