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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Kosher Cheese --> Haolom Muenster Natural Cheese

American cheese is a processed cheese. It is orange, yellow, or white in color and mild in flavor, with a medium-firm consistency, and melts easily. American cheese was originally only white, but is often now modified to yellow. In the past, it was made from a blend of cheeses, most often Colby and Cheddar. Today’s American cheese is generally no longer made from blended cheeses, but instead is manufactured from a set of ingredients such as milk, whey, milk fat, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, and salt. In the United States, it may not be legally sold as "cheese", and must be labeled as "processed cheese", "cheese product", or similar—e.g., "cheese food". At times even the word "cheese" is missing in the name on the label, e.g. "American slices" or "American singles". In Canada, exactly the same product, often by the same manufacturer with the same label design, used to be sold as "Canadian cheese" or "Canadian slices". Today, most such product in Canada is vaguely labeled just "slices" or "singles". In the United Kingdom, packs are labeled as "singles", although it is commonly called cheese slices.

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The marketing label "American Cheese" for processed cheese combined with the prevalence of processed cheese in the U.S compared to the rest of the world has led to the term American cheese being used in the U.S. synonymously in place of processed cheese in America. The term "American cheese" has a legal definition as a type of pasteurized processed cheese under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

American cheese is used in American cuisine, for example in grilled cheese sandwiches, and in macaroni and cheese.

History

British colonists made cheddar soon upon their arrival in America. By 1790, American cheddars were being exported back to England. The British referred to American cheddar as "American cheese", or "Yankee cheese", and post-Revolution Americans promoted this usage to distinguish their product from European cheese.[5] For example, an 1878 newspaper article in The New York Times lists the total export of American cheese at 355 million pounds per year, with an expected growth to 1,420 million pounds.

After the invention of processed cheese in 1911, and its popularization by James L. Kraft in the late 1910s and 1920s, the term "American cheese" rapidly began to refer to this variety rather than to American cheddar. The latter had already begun to be produced on an industrial scale in the 1890s, leading to the term "factory cheese". And in the 1920s another slang term arose for the still-popular cheese: "rattrap cheese", or "rat cheese".

The Oxford English Dictionary defines American cheese as a "cheese of cheddar type, made in the U.S." and lists 1804 as the first known usage of "American cheese", occurring in the Frankfort, Kentucky newspaper Guardian of Freedom. The next usage given is in 1860 by Charles Dickens in his series The Noncommercial Traversal.

Modern varieties

Even though the term “American cheese” has a legal definition in the United States as a type of pasteurized processed cheese, products called "American cheese" are by no means identical. Depending on the additives and the amounts of milk fat and water added to the cheese during emulsification, the taste and texture of American cheese varies, with some varieties (e.g. "American cheese" and "American processed cheese") being very similar to non-processed cheese and other varieties (e.g. "American cheese food" and "American cheese product") being more like Velveeta or Cheez Whiz.

The taste and texture of different varieties of American cheese vary considerably, and mostly depend on the percentage of cheese versus additives used during emulsification. Varieties with lower percentages of additives tend to taste more like unprocessed cheese. Depending on the food manufacturer, the color of the cheese (orange, yellow, or white) may indicate different ingredients or processes. Some manufacturers reserve the white and yellow colors for their less processed (i.e. fewer additives) American cheese varieties. In other, the ingredients for white and orange colors are the same, except for the coloring.

The processed variety of American cheese is sold in three basic packaging varieties: individually wrapped cheese slices (which technically are not slices, sliced off a block of cheese, but rather slabs of processed cheese which are formed from a viscous processed cheese which only solidifies between the wrapping medium), small pre-sliced blocks of 8 to 36 slices, and large blocks meant for deli counters. The individually wrapped cheese slices are typically the least like unprocessed cheese. Small (e.g., 8- to 36-slice) blocks of pre-sliced, but not individually wrapped American cheese are also marketed, often with the branding "deluxe" or "old-fashioned". This variety of American cheese is similar in ingredients and texture to that of modern block American cheese. Before the advent of the individually wrapped variety, this was the typical variety that Americans purchased. Hence, some people refer to this as "classic" or "traditional" American cheese.

     

Sept 2005 - 2013 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods