Have you ever heard of basket cheese? It is quite a curious item to find in the grocery store and its uses can be perplexing.
Basket cheese has a unique flavor profile, making it an interesting ingredient in cooking and baking.
However, due to its different taste and texture, it might not appeal to everyone.
If you have had difficulty tasting or finding basket cheese, don’t worry – there are some great alternatives available for use.
Not only can these substitutes be cooked with in a similar fashion as basket cheese, but they can offer just as much flavor too.
Learn more about how to cook with and substitute basket cheese today with the top 5 best alternatives for this curious food item.
What’s Basket Cheese?
Basket cheese is a semi-hard to hard cheese that is most commonly found in the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.
It’s traditionally made from sheep’s milk, but can also be made with goat’s milk or a combination of both.
It has a unique texture due to the distinctive basket-like mould shapes it’s formed into before being matured.
The taste of basket cheese varies depending on the culture, region and other additives used during the production process.
Typically, basket cheese has a nutty and slightly sour taste with sharp aromas that are balanced out by a salty finish.
The interior of this special cheese is quite soft while remaining firm on the outside with a yellowish hue complimented by tiny salty crystals.
Due to its long history and popularity among local cultures throughout certain parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, basket cheese has come to represent an important part of their gastronomic heritage.
In particular, it pairs very nicely with olives but can easily stand alone as an appetizer or snack enjoyed throughout the day — perfect for picnics or casual gatherings alike.
The 5 BEST Substitutes for Basket Cheese
This cheese is popular throughout Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to find outside of these regions.
If you’re looking for an alternative to this creamy, crumbly cheese, read on for five of the best substitutes for basket cheese.
1 – Cream Cheese
When it comes to finding an alternative for basket cheese, cream cheese is one of the most popular replacements.
This soft, mild-tasting cheese is made from milk, salt and sometimes cream.
Cream cheese has a mild taste similar to basket cheese and can easily be spread on crackers or other snacks.
Its texture can provide a very pleasant mouthfeel when melted or spreadable.
However, it does have higher levels of fat than basket cheese so it should be used in moderation if you’re trying to watch your intake of fat and calories.
2 – Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is a popular substitute for basket cheese because it has a very similar texture and mild taste.
Ricotta is made from cow’s milk which has been heated and combined with an acid (usually vinegar or lemon juice), resulting in a thick, creamy curd that can be used for many recipes.
This type of cheese is high in protein and calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
Besides being used as an ingredient in dishes like lasagna, it can also be spread on toast or crackers to make an easy snack.
One benefit of using ricotta instead of basket cheese is that it will not create a soggy crust when baked.
When substituting ricotta cheese for basket cheese, aim to get one with the highest fat content possible; this will help ensure that your dish retains its creamy texture and rich flavor.
3 – Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is a type of brined curd cheese made in Greece from sheep’s or goat’s milk, or sometimes a combination of the two.
It is served in cubes or wedges and has a unique salty flavor that sets it apart from other flavors.
Feta is commonly crumbled over salads, used as an ingredient in sauces, added to pastries and pies, and enjoyed on its own as a snack or with crackers.
Feta pairs well with vegetables and can also be used as an alternative to Basket Cheese in some dishes.
Like Basket Cheese, it has a slightly crumbly texture, but feta cheese also brings its own signature taste to the dish.
To substitute feta for Basket Cheese, simply crumble it over your dish instead of grating the Basket Cheese — you will get similar results while also getting some added flavor from the feta.
4 – Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is one of the most popular alternatives to basket cheese.
It is also sometimes called Chevre, which is the French word for “goat”.
Like basket cheese, goat cheese comes in various shapes and sizes but all goat cheeses are usually creamy and mild in flavor.
It has a tart aftertaste that comes from the natural cultures that are involved in the aging process.
Goat cheese can be substituted for both crumbly and soft basket cheese depending on its form.
Goat cheese is high in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron while being low in saturated fat and calories compared to other cheeses.
You can use it as a spread, add it to salads or use it as a topping for dishes such as pizza or lasagna.
5 – Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is one of the best substitutions for Basket Cheese.
It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and has a mild, slightly milky-tasting flavor.
The texture of mozzarella is low moisture, thus giving it a stretchy character when melted.
Mozzarella melts quickly and easily and has a tendency to separate or become stringy when burned due to the high moisture content.
This cheese is lower in salt than Basket Cheese, but it produces a creamy and flavorful result when added to dishes making it an excellent choice for lasagna, pizzas or casseroles that call for melted cheese.
Low-moisture mozzarella also makes excellent roasted vegetable dishes — consider adding small cubes of this type of cheese to your vegetable recipes during the last five minutes of cooking time.
When searching for the perfect substitution for basket cheese, the most important factor to consider is finding a cheese that will provide the same flavor and texture without sacrificing quality.
While there are certainly plenty of options that can be explored, it’s ultimately up to you to determine which substitute works best in any given dish.
Keep in mind that some substitutions may need to be adjusted depending on the recipe and your desired outcome, so feel free to explore different types of basket cheese substitutes until you find one that’s perfectly suited for your needs.
In conclusion, when looking for a substitute for basket cheese, take into consideration the type of flavor profile desired along with the texture and moisture content needed in order to get the best results.