Burger Quest: cheese

I can’t imagine a hamburger without cheese, so I guess it’s cheeseburgers only for me.  Over the years I’ve tried dozens of types of cheese on my burgers and have come to a conclusion: nothing gives a mighty cheese flavour like processed cheese slices or “American” cheese.

Gourmet burger recipes call for sharp cheddar, gorgonzola and any number of strong cheeses for the simple reason that you need a bold flavour to just be able to taste the cheese, and still you need a whole lot of it.  Processed cheese accomplishes itself on a burger two ways: it melts easily and uniformly and has a unique and strong flavour.

I say processed cheese slices have a unique and bold flavour, but it’s more than that: it’s a taste we as North Americans instantly identify with a burger.  Get any fast food burger, diner burger or greasy spoon burger and it’s topped with processed cheese.  You bite into a burger and expect that taste: anything else doesn’t register the same.

To be fair all processed cheese slices are not created equal: for my Southern Ontario palette I enjoy Kraft or Black Diamond slices, and so they emerge as victors in Burger Quest.