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Ingredient

Monterey Jack

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A.K.A

California Jack, or simply Jack Cheese

What is it?

Monterey Jack is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s most widely available in its unaged form, which is creamy white in color and very mild—bordering on bland—in flavor. Because it has mellow flavor, a high moisture content, and good melting properties, Monterey Jack is great for making toasted sandwiches; topping soups or vegetable tarts; adding richness to baked pasta dishes; and folding into biscuit, scone, and bread dough. It also blends smoothly into other dishes, such as polenta, mashed potatoes, risotto, and soufflés.

In its earliest form, Monterey Jack was made by monks in Monterey, California. David Jack, a California businessman, was the first to produce and mass market this mild white cheese which came to be known first as “Jack’s Cheese”, and eventually as “Monterey Jack.”

Aged Monterey Jack (pictured above) is more like cheddar, with a firmer texture, sharper flavor, and a deeper yellow color. Unaged Monterey Jack is available throughout the U.S., but aged versions are usually only found in specialty cheese shops.

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