Grilled cheese and cheeseburgers are big in my family but before recently I never thought about the cheese I bought. We’ve always bought American classic sliced cheese because that’s what I grew up on. I mean, why not, the commercials say “made 100% from milk”. Until recently, Sargento asked me to try their sliced cheese so I could if there truly was a difference. In this post we’ll do a Sargento vs. Processed Cheese Taste Test.
Sargento Cheese vs. Processed Cheese
It’s easy to say that unless you’re making your own cheese there’s no real way to tell if you are buying the real thing. This is true but in this test we’re going to compare two brands that you can readily get at your local grocery store.
Is Processed Cheese Real?
I’d like to go over some not so awesome things about processed cheese. I was shocked and pretty disgusted with the ingredients and how the cheese is made. Processed cheese slices are made with emulsifiers such as Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, and Sodium Phosphate. It usually has some type of preservative such as Sorbic Acid also – that way you don’t have to refrigerate it. Did you know that – you don’t have to put processed cheese in the fridge? Well it’s true, some cheeses sit on a store shelf for months without any refrigeration before it’s ever sold!
Typically, processed cheeses are heated to 180 degrees (which of course makes it into a liquid) and then pumped into plastic bags. At this point they are ran over by a series of rollers to get the square you’re used to seeing. The cooking process they use and the fact that the cheese is cooked with direct steam strips the cheese of delicate flavors you may have been able to taste had they not not all that.
Processed cheese also has a mass amount of sodium in each slice – around 250 milligrams per each 19 gram slice. I think it’s important to remember one of the key words they use on the packaging: “made from cheese.”
Is Sargento Cheese Real?
Sargento Natural Cheese slices are never made with processed ingredients. They only contain real ingredients such as milk, cheese cultures, enzymes, and salt. Because of the ingredients you have to put Sargento cheese in the refrigerator.
Sargento states that their cheese has been aged to perfection and has been tested by “professional cheese graders” to ensure the highest quality cheese. It taste like it came from a block of cheese because it did come from a block of cheese! Cut and immediately packaged so you can get the freshest tasting cheese. Slices are commonly used melted on burgers, sandwiches, lasagna, pizza and so so much more but it is never melted during the actual cooking process of being made at the Sargento factories.
Sargento natural cheeses are 21 gram slices at only 130 milligrams of sodium so it’s definitely a healthier choice to go with. Sargento’s packaging key word: “real natural cheese.”
Comparing Sargento vs. Processed Cheese
Have you ever really looked at processed sliced cheese? It is extremely shiny. Natural cheese has a deeper color to it and is non-glossy in appearance all together.
You can also feel a difference when you touch the Sargento Natural cheese and processed cheese slices. Natural cheese breaks organically while you can bend the processed cheese and break it in a straight line. What is natural about that?
Processed cheese also feels very smooth and sort of rubbery and pliable. Sargento cheese has a rougher texture. Exactly like a block of cheese feels. Of course the texture will vary from cheese to cheese but the sharp cheddar that I felt has a rougher texture to it compared to the processed cheese slices.
You can also smell a difference in the two types of cheese. Processed cheese smells overly salty. The package says it’s made with milk but I couldn’t detect a hint of milk smell in it at all. Processed cheese is usually lacking in the aroma department if you ask me.
Natural cheese has an array of smells depending on which type of cheese you are smelling but either way there is a distinct aroma you will be able to get from them. The range of smells can be almost earthy, nutty and/or even fruity.
It goes without saying but of course there is a huge difference in taste. Processed cheese is bland and once again, overly salty. The Sharp Cheddar Sargento cheese has flavor bursting from it with every bite.
This wasn’t really a fair fight but I wanted to share my opinion on the matter. Processed cheese has no business being made and I cannot believe they get away with saying it’s cheese. We love other natural real cheese brands too but when I’m doing my weekly shopping I mainly stick to Sargento because of the ease of availability.