American cheese was invented in 1872 by a Swiss immigrant named James L. Kraft. His company, now known as Kraft Foods.
It began mass-producing cheese that combined the flavor of several different kinds of cheese into one single product.
The company also developed a machine that they used to cut the new product into slices, which made it easier to produce and allowed them to quickly sell it in large quantities with minimal loss of moisture.
By 1924, Kraft had already purchased rival cheese companies and was producing as much as four million pounds of processed cheese every year.
In addition to their solid products, they also came out with processed liquid cheese products like Velveeta. Today, they are one of America’s top cheese producers and one of the largest milk suppliers in the world.
What Is American Cheese?
American cheese is a type of cheese that has been made from cow’s milk and processed to remove the whey, salt out some of the moisture, and solidify the fat.
It should have a creamy texture but you will want to check on this before you buy it. If it’s too dry or crumbly, then that could be a sign of lower quality.
How Is American Cheese Made?
The process of making American cheese begins with the following steps-
- Pasteurizing unpasteurized milk by heating it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 seconds
- Then, the milk is cooled and inoculated with rennet to change the structure of the milk
- Next, the milk is blended and heated to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the curds form.
- The cheese then goes through a series of aging procedures, including an aging period of about 2 ½ weeks at room temperature.
Different Kinds Of American Cheese
American cheese is made from any combination of cow’s or sheep’s milk depending on how you want it to taste.
There are several different kinds of American cheese, including cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese. There’s also blue cheese.
Pasteurized Process Cheese
Many processes are used to make American cheeses. The log process is the most common and it’s used to make both shredded and sliced varieties of American cheeses like cheddar and Swiss cheeses.
Pressed log cheeses are made from sheep’s milk like mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone cheeses. Pressed pasteurized process cheese is made from cow’s milk like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and provolone cheeses.
Pasteurized Process Cheese Product
Pasteurized process cheese product is a mix of low-fat cheeses and other additives that are put together in a block. It’s commonly used to make things like grilled cheese sandwiches.
Pasteurized Process American Slices
These are also sometimes referred to as “American style slices” or “American singles” and are the most common type of American cheese you can find.
They tend to be made from cow’s milk, though some companies will make them from sheep’s milk, and they tend to be milder than other kinds of American cheeses. They come in blocks or individually wrapped slices.
Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product
This is also a type of American cheese. It’s similar in concept to other types of processed and prepared cheeses but it’s aged for only a few days.
American Cheese Substitutes
Most people tend to prefer American Cheeses that have been made in the US. If you want to start on the right foot with cheese you might want to consider a few different American kinds of cheese.
A good place to begin is with cheddar and Swiss cheeses. These are the most widespread. Cheddar is usually a moist, hollow white cheese with a mild flavor and sharp tangy bite.
What Does American Cheese Taste Like?
American cheese can be made from hundreds of different recipes so it’s hard to say what American cheese tastes like. It’s usually soft and mild.
To many people, it also tastes bland. American cheese isn’t usually eaten on its own, but rather as one of the components of something like a sandwich – or for cooking purposes.
For example, an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich would use American cheese.
American Cheese Pairings
American cheese pairs well with many different types of options. One of the more popular combinations is American cheese and lettuce.
Another combination is American cheese and tomato. You can also use it in pasta dishes, or for making sandwiches.
It also goes well with a wide range of different things, including bacon or ham, sometimes lettuce, tomato slices, or even pickles.
It can also be used as a topping on other sandwich ingredients like egg or chili. Another popular American cheese sandwich has this cheese between two slices of bread – and is served with hot peppers, onion, or other vegetables.
Where To Buy American Cheese
American cheese is widely available at any grocery store. If you want to buy it from a particular store like Kroger that may not be the best place to go, though. You can find it at several other locations, including Walmart and Sam’s Club.
How Long Does American Cheese Last?
American cheese usually lasts for six weeks after opening. It will continue to ripen and give off a strong smell for around two weeks after that, but it won’t lose its taste entirely so you can use some of it up before it goes bad.
How To Make American Cheese
American cheese is made from water and milk that was pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria on both the surface of the food as well as inside of it.
It’s also made from a variety of other dairy products that may include whey, casein, calcium sodium citrate (a flavoring), or casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (an acid).
There are a few standard recipes for making American cheese.
There’s one for swiss and cheddar cheeses, as well as for mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack, and provolone.
For cheddar cheese preparation, you need –
- Skim the cream from the milk
- Add some vinegar to the mix to curdle it
- Once it’s curdled, separate the whey from the curds
- Add salt and press them into a mold
- You can also just crumble them up if you want.
For swiss cheese preparation, you need-
- Heat the milk until it’s warm, then add rennet
- Once it’s coagulated you can cut this mixture into bite-sized pieces
- You can also skip this step by simply letting the cheese sit until it ripens on its own, which can sometimes happen in as little as two days.
- Warm the curd
- Add salt so that they become moist and smooth
This should be done within 24 hours of making the cheese or else it might lose too much moisture before you get a chance to use it.
You can also add herbs and spices into the mix if you’d like. Then, place it in a cheese press or wrap it up in a cheesecloth and allow it to age for two weeks.
American Cheese Nutrition
There are several different types of American cheese, but most of them share the same nutritional values.
A single slice of American cheese is only 40 calories and has 4g of fat and 0g of carbs, making it a good snack for people who are on keto diets.
It also has 1g of protein and 170mgs of sodium. While this isn’t a lot, it’s fairly low-carb too, which is something to keep in mind.
The typical nutritional information for a 3-ounce serving of American cheese is as follows.
Nutrition Facts Serving Size
- 3 ounces (85 g) Per Serving % Daily Value
- Calories 170
- Calories from Fat 45
- Total Fat 5g 8% Saturated
- Fat 3.5g
- 18% Cholesterol 32mg
- 11% Sodium 100mg
- 4% Potassium 31mg
- 1% Carbohydrate 0g
- Protein 3g
- Vitamin A 0IU 0%
- Calcium 25mg 2%
- Iron 0.3mg 1.1%
*Based on a 2000-calorie diet
American cheese is a fairly popular, simple, and versatile food that can be used in a variety of different ways.
It has a lot of nutritional value and the flavor is quite mild, so it’s easy for most people to eat and enjoy it.
American cheese can be purchased in many different varieties and flavors, making it something you can keep your pantry stocked with for years.
Whether you’re a cheese lover or not, it’s worth keeping your eye out for this versatile cheese because it can be used in many different recipes.