Swiss Cheese Vs Emmenthal Vs Gruyre
Emmenthal, Switzerland’s oldest and most prestigious cheese, comes from the Emmental Valley in the west-central Bern regionthe town of origin will usually be stamped on the rind. Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, it ranges in flavor from nutty to fruity to a complexity that makes it taste both subtly sweet and faintly acidic, depending on its maturity. The irregular holes range from pea-sized to the size of a walnut. It comes out of the mountains in wheels that can weigh 200 pounds.
American versions of Emmenthal use pasteurized milk or follow U.S. law and age the unpasteurized cheese at least 60 days. Some cheesemakers produce a reasonable imitation of the Swiss cheese, but the variety commonly found in U.S. grocery stores labeled as “Swiss cheese” does not have the character of a true Emmenthal. The holes also tend to be more consistent in size, and there is no rind.
Gruyère’s namesake is the valley of the same name in the Fribourg region of Switzerland. Also produced with whole cow’s milk, it has similar characteristics to Emmenthal, though it’s generally described as slightly sweeter and more buttery. The rind is brownish gold, the center is pale yellow, and the holes are much smaller and more evenly spaced than those of Emmenthal. During the aging process, the holes may even shrink to a nearly indiscernible size. Gruyère is typically sold by the wedge from wheels that weigh up to 100 pounds.
The Surprising Place American Cheese Is Actually From
It’s easy to assume American cheese is from the U.S. Not only does it say so in the name, but it also bears a striking resemblance in color to Cheez Whiz and powdered mac and cheese, both of which are quintessentially American. It might make sense for yet another processed cheese product to be American, but the truth is that American cheese actually originated in Switzerland .
In fact, in the original recipe for what later became known as American cheese, the main ingredient was Swiss cheese, Emmentaler to be specific. It was back in 1911 when Walter Gerber and Fritz Stettler first developed processed cheese by heating shredded Emmentaler with sodium citrate. Shortly after this breakthrough, Kraft American cheese came about.
Former grocery store owner turned entrepreneur James L. Kraft developed his own version of the process in which he heated and whisked melted cheese this time cheddar, not Emmentaler at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The result was shelf-stable processed cheese made for the American consumer, which Kraft patented in 1916 . The Swiss-inspired product would become the foundation of the Kraft Foods empire.
A Great Source Of Protein
Protein is the building blocks for your muscles, tissues, skin, and hair. You need it for the growth, repair, and proper functioning of your cells .
Proteins from animal sources, such as Swiss cheese, are higher quality than plant protein because theyre nutritionally complete, meaning that they contain all nine essential amino acids. Your body cant make these on its own, so you need to get them through food (
A 3-month study in 118 adults with overweight compared the effects of a high protein diet 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day with a standard protein diet of 0.36 grams per pound of body weight daily .
Those in the high protein group saw a 7% decrease in body weight compared with 5% in the standard protein group and a significant drop in blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels .
Additionally, some studies show that eating high protein, dairy-based snacks leads to better appetite control and a subsequent decrease in food, compared with high fat or high carb snacks (
Your body absorbs calcium from dairy much more readily than calcium from most plant foods, such as broccoli or spinach .
A review of 59 studies showed that calcium intake in excess of 800 mg per day contributed to a slight increase in bone mineral density .
Additionally, calcium intake in excess of 1,000 mg per day has been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure .
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High Saturated Fat Content
Swiss cheese contains approximately 23% of the DV for saturated fat.
Some research suggests that a diet high in saturated fats may lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol, which raises the risk of plaque buildup in your arteries. In turn, this may contribute to blood clots and high blood pressure .
In a 6-day study, people with overweight or obesity replaced a standard Western diet high in saturated fat with a diet that swapped sources of saturated fat with walnuts. The walnut diet was lower in saturated fats and higher in mono- and polyunsaturated fats .
The walnut diet contributed to a significant decrease in blood pressure and a slight decrease in total cholesterol compared with the Western diet
Despite potential health risks involving saturated fat, a growing body of research indicates that there may be no major link between saturated fat and heart disease (
All the same, eating too much Swiss cheese may result in high sodium intake.
In a 5-year study examining a diet using salt versus a diet using a salt substitute, participants aged 60 and older with high blood pressure showed a decrease in blood pressure, as well as stroke and heart disease risk, when following the salt substitute diet .
People who need to monitor sodium intake may need to be conscious of serving sizes. Aim for no more than 12 slices of Swiss cheese per sitting to keep you sodium intake in check.
How Swiss Cheese Is Made
The Swiss make Emmenthal and Gruyère under the strict production standards of the appellation d’origine protégée designation. Both start with milk from free-ranging cows. In the tradition of Alpine cheeses, Emmenthal and Gruyère are often produced in the mountains in chalets designed and located for that purpose. The curds are drained and pressed into wheels, which can weigh up to 200 pounds. Emmenthal gets aged for four to 12 months, and Gruyère for five to 18 months, during which time both cheeses get lightly washed with brine to encourage the formation of a rind.
Large corporations in North America and elsewhere use mass-production operations to make Swiss-style cheese available at a reasonable price. Generally labeled with the generic “Swiss cheese” identity, it comes sliced and shredded, and in regular and low-fat varieties. Designed for quick distribution, it ages for about four months and generally has a much milder flavor than the real thing from Switzerland. Most mass-produced Swiss cheese starts with pasteurized milk, which affects the flavor.
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What Is Swiss Cheese
The two most famous Swiss cheeses are Emmenthal and Gruyère, varieties highly prized in fondue for both their flavor and their melting ability. They are readily available in the U.S., usually at a mid-range price point. Emmenthal, the model for the American version of Swiss cheese, is a semihard yellow cheese with a mildly nutty flavor, a subtle aroma of hay, and holes of varying sizes. A young Gruyère has a softer paste with far less noticeable holes but a similarly mild taste. It gets more granular and sharper in flavor as it ages.
Swiss cheese often appears in cartoons featuring mice, but contrary to the animated notion, the holes do not represent a mouse’s snack. Theories differ, but one school of thought is that bacteria consume the milk’s lactic acid and then release carbon dioxide gas bubbles, which get trapped as the paste hardens, leaving the holes. This story circulated for more than 100 years, but a formal study by the Swiss Agroscope Institute for Food Sciences in 2015 traced responsibility for the holes to specks of hay that inadvertently got into the milk bucket and weakened the structure of the curd. It noted that as production conditions became more sterile, the number and size of holes in Emmenthal noticeably decreased.
American Cheese Didn’t Always Come In Singles
No matter what brand of American cheese you buy, you can pretty much guarantee it comes pre-sliced and pre-packaged. But it wasn’t always that way, The New York Times reports. Before 1935, American cheese had to be sold by the brick because it was packaged and sealed while it was still hot and fully melted, making it impossible to slice. James L. Kraft’s brother, Norman Kraft, decided to change that, eventually coming up with Kraft De Luxe Process Slices.
To manufacture this version of the product, the melted cheese was poured on a cold stainless steel table, then rolled out with a cold rolling pin and sliced into three-inch squares, eight of which would be stacked and packaged. In 1950, Kraft began selling their cheese in slices, and six years later, Arnold Nawrocki, an engineer unassociated with Kraft, added a much-needed step to the manufacturing process. Nawrocki invented a machine that would wrap the slices in transparent paper, allowing consumers to more easily separate them. In 1965, Kraft adopted the technology, developing what we know as Kraft American Singles.
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Types Of Swiss Cheese
In the United States, you can purchase imported Emmenthal and Gruyère in the true style of an Alpine Swiss cheese at grocery stores with well-stocked cheese counters or at specialty cheese shops. The much less expensive mass-produced American variation of Swiss cheese is widely available both at deli counters and prepackaged. Baby Swiss, another version of Swiss cheese developed in the United States by Swiss immigrants, more closely resembles the artisan character of the traditional Emmenthal, but cheesemakers form it into much smaller wheels, hence the moniker. Reduced aging time results in a softer, more buttery cheese with smaller holes. Most baby Swiss comes from Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.