Aged Cheddar cheese is the type of cheddar cheese that has been allowed to age at a particular temperature, humidity and air purity level, so as to bring out specific character of taste and smell of the cheese. The practice of aging cheese is a traditional one. Factors such as type of fermenting bacteria used and process of manufacture matter while producing aged cheddar cheese. Aged cheddar cheese has a sharp, distinctive taste.
Cheddar cheese is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk, which may vary in taste from mild to extra sharp. It is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. It is different from other cheeses on the basis of the fermenting bacteria and manufacturing process. It was first made in Cheddar, a village in southwest England, and that is where it got its name from. As per historical records, it has been made since the 12th century, if not before that. Cheese from Cheddar and neighboring counties now has a certification of ‘Appellation of Controlled Origin’ and is labeled as ‘West Country Farmhouse Cheddar’. Its natural color is pale white, while the common practice of adding dye to it yields the more commonly found orange color.
“Cheddaring” is a process that cheddar cheese undergoes during production, which makes it dramatically different from other cheeses.
Depending upon how long it has been aged, aged cheddar cheese has a wide variety of flavors. Young cheddar cheese is milder, while longer aged cheese has a more sharp, complex flavor. It may be mild(aged for six months), old (aged for one year), extra old (aged for three to five years).
Preparing Aged Cheddar Cheese
To make aged cheddar cheese, milk is mixed with cultures and rennet and allowed to curdle. The curds are then separated from the whey, and cubed. The blocks of curds are turned periodically, allowing the curds to drain even more and are pressed. The final product is salted and packed into moulds and allowed to age at particular temperature, humidity and air purity level.
Popular Aged Cheddar Cheese Recipes
Here are some popular aged cheddar cheese recipes. These and many other aged cheddar cheese recipes are popular amongst cheese lovers.
Apple and Aged Cheddar Cheese Grilled Sandwiches
To prepare these, two slices of bread are buttered, one of which is placed in a heated pan with the buttered side down. An aged cheddar cheese slice is placed on the other side. This is topped with apple slices, remaining cheese and the other bread slice. The sandwich is grilled from both sides on the pan.
Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream
The warm ice cream mixture, prepared with milk, vanilla, eggs, white ground pepper and sugar is mixed with grated Wisconsin aged cheddar cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. The same is then cooled and frozen in an ice cream machine.
Burgers with Aged Cheddar Cheese. For preparing this, grilled meatballs of ground beef are placed inside burgers that have been grilled and topped with aged cheddar cheese.
Nutritive Value of Aged Cheddar Cheese
Aged Cheddar cheese is high in protein and calcium, and also contains other essential nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin B12. It is beneficial for dental care and bone health. It contains little or no lactose, and hence are a good source of nutrition to people suffering from lactose intolerance.