As Walter White once told his students: chemistry is about transformation. Well, the crew behind the video series Reactions, presented by the American Chemical Society, has taken their chemistry prowess and put it to very, very good use. They’ve deduced which three cheeses are—chemically speaking—the best choices for getting the gooiest, most delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
So what criteria did they use in their examinations? Smell? Texture? Taste? Not quite. Remember, these are chemists we’re talking about here. What they took into account the most was different cheeses’ pH reading. Why? Well, to them, the most telling characteristic of whether or not a cheese will have the right level of “gooeyness” is its acidity content.
Who were the big winners? Well, of the cheeses studied, the team found that the ideal options for perfect melting were gouda, gruyére, or manchego. Honorable mentions went to some varieties of roquefort, parmesean, and edam. All of these had an acidity in the range of pH 5.3-5.5.
For more on the science behind the experiment, and to see why a cheese that’s too acidic (i.e. one with too low of a pH reading) wouldn’t work for a grilled cheese, be sure to check out the video above. But we can’t promise it won’t make you salivate uncontrollably, at both the science and the subject.