Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why Do Cheese Curds Lose Their Squeak?

Cheese curds are small little pieces of cheese that are leftover from the process of making bigger pieces and anyone who has had them before know that one of their key characteristics, other than their small size, is their squeakiness. This type of cheese is most popular in the Midwest, certain parts of New York and Quebec and can be almost impossible to find anywhere else because it is best while fresh. That is because after a few days, the curds will lose their squeak and then they won’t taste as good either. There are many theories about why cheese curds lose their squeak but to understand the truth, you need to understand why they squeak in the first place.

Myth: Trapped Air

One of the most commonly heard reasons that cheese curds lose their squeak is that they lose air. This theory holds that it is air trapped within the curds which squeak but it seems that instead of being true, this was simply said by someone once upon a time and then the internet decided it was the truth. The reality is that if trapped air caused the squeakiness, there would be no way for it to escape and cause the curds to lose their squeak.

Why They Squeak

The real reason that cheese curds squeak comes down to science and their structure. Most people are aware that milk products, such as cheese, have protein and it is the structure of this protein that creates the squeak. Each curd itself is a combination of milk fat and casein protein that forms a protein matrix. While these molecules would stay in their matrix, their structure changes when they are exposed to rennet during the manufacturing process. That is because rennet eliminates the negative charge that some of the casein proteins have and this means that they are able to create long protein chains. It is these chains that create the squeak because they will rub against your teeth’s enamel.

Why They Lose Their Squeak

Cheese curds can lose their squeak over time for one of two reasons. The first is that during the manufacturing process they are salted, hooped and then pressed and each of these steps takes away some moisture. The process also causes the long protein strands to compress. This means that although they will still be long enough to squeak for a day or so, they won’t after that. The other option is that the curds were left unpressed but their acidity causes a low pH. The problem with the lower pH is that it breaks down the proteins so they are smaller and less likely to squeak.

How To Get The Squeak Back

This structure that causes cheese curds to lose their squeak is also why you can get the squeakiness back by microwaving them for a few seconds. When you microwave cheese curds, some of the moisture will go through hydrolysis so the molecules in the protein chain will drop their negative ions. This means that longer protein chains can be formed again and that can bring the squeakiness back.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What’s The Best Way To Store Cheese So It Doesn’t Spoil?

When it comes to cheese, there are many different varieties that you can choose from and each one is different from the next. The problem most people tend to run into, however, is how to store their cheese. It is almost always unrealistic to expect that you will eat an entire piece of cheese in one sitting, unless of course you are hosting a cheese party. The thing is that if you don’t finish the cheese, most people don’t know what to do with it. There can even be confusion about whether you should leave the cheese in its original packaging until you eat it or rewrap it as soon as you get home from the store.

Where To Store

The first thing you need to think about when it comes to storing cheese is where you should store it. Almost everyone stores cheese in their refrigerator and this is of course one of the best choices. You should try to store it in the warmest area of your fridge as depending on the type of cheese you have, it may not need temperatures that are as cool as other foods.

What To Use

One of the most common ways people store their cheese is in plastic wrap and this is actually one of the worst ways possible to store it. That’s because when you wrap your cheese too tightly, harmful bacteria are more likely to grow. If you wrap it too tight, you also run the risk of natural odors (such as ammonia) not being able to dissipate and the plastic may even add some flavor to the cheese.
Instead the very best option is to wrap your cheese up in cheese paper. If you are like most people and don’t have cheese paper on hand, another option is to wrap your cheese up in some wax or parchment paper and then put it loosely inside a plastic bag or plastic wrap. The layer of plastic will prevent the cheese from drying out while still giving enough air for ammonia to dissipate.

How To Wrap It

To wrap up your cheese start with a piece of wax paper. Make sure that the wax paper is much larger than the piece of cheese you are wrapping; it should be three to four times the length of the cheese and around twice as wide. Put your cheese on the wax paper around two-thirds up making sure that the cut side is down. You want the sharp narrow to be on the right side. Take the bottom right corner of your wax paper and bring it up the cheese so it is tight then bring the right side over and secure it in place with a piece of tape.

The pointy end should now be fully wrapped. Take the top right part of the cheese and fold it down and then repeat the process so you have all but one side of the cheese wrapped. Wrap that side like a present and tape it in place. If you want, you can put it in a plastic bag but don’t close it all the way.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What’s The Best Way To Age Cheddar?

If you like older, sharper cheddar but don’t want to spend as much money on it, you can age it yourself right at home. This is also a good option if you like your cheddar aged longer than what you can usually find in stores (and in most cases the maximum is around 7 years and that is only from specialty cheese sellers). The process is surprisingly simple as long as you take other factors into consideration. You can either start with fresh, homemade cheese or purchase some cheese that is already aged and allow it to continue aging to save some time.

Where To Store

The most important step in the process of aging cheddar is to find the correct place to store it. Most manufacturers will have a cheese cave that meets all of the necessary requirements but most individuals won’t. For your cheddar to age correctly you need to store it in a cool, damp place with plenty of humidity and ventilation.

Some people try to use their current refrigerator but the average temperature is about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than a cave. This means if you store it in your fridge, you should put it in the warmest part and turn up the temperature as much as your other food can handle. Another option is to get an old refrigerator you don’t use anymore and keep the temperature between 52 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have a cellar, then you can simply put the cheese in a cabinet or covered plastic boxes in the cellar. Some people who don’t have an old fridge, don’t want to turn up the temperature in their current one and don’t have a cellar will choose to invest in a wine refrigerator and this is another great option.

Set Up

The process of actually setting it up is fairly simple. You need to make sure that the environment for your cheese is damp but that the cheese itself is not moist. You also want to check for ventilation and make sure the cheese has enough room. When you put the cheese in a container in your fridge, the cheese should never take up more than 40% of the container.


As mentioned, one of the most important things to keep in mind for aging your cheese is humidity. If you are using a fridge or something similar to age your cheese, simply placing a pan of water in there may be enough but you will have to pay close attention to the water levels at all times. If your cheese is in a container, you should put a wet towel on the top but the key is to make sure that the towel is simply damp; it should not be wet enough to drip or to touch your cheese. If your cheese doesn’t get enough humidity, it may start to dry out and crack.

Keep Watch

It is important to remember that you should not just leave your cheese alone to age. You will need to check on it regularly to make sure the environment has enough humidity and ventilation and that the temperature is correct. You also want to check for incorrect molds to make sure that your cheddar is aging correctly.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What Is The White Stuff On Aged Cheddar?

If you are a fan of aged cheddar, then you have probably noticed that when you eat older cheddars you will find some white crystals formed on the outside and occasionally on the inside as well. Some people find these little white pieces concerning but you they aren’t a problem at all. There is a simple explanation and in fact, they aren’t just found on aged cheddar. You can actually find them on other aged cheeses such as gouda, Parmigiano Reggiano or gruyere. The truth is that this white stuff is made up of tiny crystals and in no way indicates that the cheese is going bad.

Don’t Worry

The initial reaction most people have when they see something unfamiliar on their cheese is that it isn’t supposed to be there and is therefore bad. Some common concerns people have when they see the crystals on aged cheddar include thinking the cheese is old, thinking it’s a cheese mite, thinking the cheese is drying out or even thinking the cheese makers added it on purpose. The reality is that they are natural crystals that won’t harm you in any way and therefore shouldn’t cause concern.


Put simply, these crystals are lactic acid that has aged and become crystallized as the cheese got older. Experts refer to these crystals as tyrosine which is the name of the non-essential amino acid that they are made up of. This protein is the dominant one found in milk which explains it presence in your aged cheddar.


If you want to know how the tyrosine crystals form, you need to understand a bit more about the structure of the cheese. As the cheese is produced, various proteins and fats become trapped within protein chains. These protein chains were bonded together during the process of acidification that helped make the cheese and this is necessary as these combinations of proteins and fats are what make the curds that lead to the making of the cheese. If the cheese ages for a long time, then these protein chains will start to unravel and as they do, small and crunchy deposits will form as a result.

Adds To The Cheese

While some people are unsure about the tyrosine crystals found in aged cheddar, others feel that they can add a great deal to the cheese. If your aged cheddar is nice and smooth, the crystals can add a bit of texture to give you some variety. Other people feel that these crystals will help the cheese and your beverage of choice work together. A classic example is if you have well-aged cheddar and are drinking it with a full-bodied stout. When having that combination, some people feel that the crunch in the cheese will give it a textural intensity that helps to match the fullness of your beer, improving the overall experience.


Some other cheeses will also have crunchiness that isn’t due to tyrosine. If the cheese is a wash-rind cheese then it may be that residual salt crystals were left during the washing process and you can tell the difference because the crunchy white stuff (the salt crystals) will only be present on the outside layer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What Is The Longest Aged Cheddar?

One of the most popular cheeses in the United States is cheddar and when you look around, you will notice several different varieties available, most of them involving varying degrees of sharpness. A sharper cheese tends to be older so if you are looking for older cheddars, you want to find extra sharp or the sharpest option available to you. Although most cheddar is only aged a few years at the most, it is sometimes aged much longer, whether on purpose or by accident, and this changes the flavor slightly.

Aging Effects

Before knowing how old the longest aged cheddar was, it is important to know what happens to cheddar as it ages. We already mentioned that it gets sharper but not everyone has a good understanding of what exactly this means. As the cheese ages, bacteria are able to produce more enzymes that will in turn break down the fats and proteins in the cheese. This in turn tends to give the cheese a taste that is nuttier and even a bit beefy. The important thing to remember, however, is that aging cheddar is not an exact science and therefore not all older cheddars will taste the same; it depends on how well they were prepared and a little bit of luck, but the experts are able to produce consistent results.

Standard Aging Classifications

Simply knowing that cheddar which has aged for longer is sharper is not enough to truly understand what the longest aged cheddar means. Instead you need a relative time frame so you can more easily compare what aged cheddar would be like in terms of sharpness in flavor. Most of the time, if you have mild cheddar it will have been aged for two to three months. Sharp cheddars have been aged a bit longer, usually around a year. If you love extra sharp cheddar cheese, then you probably prefer ones that have been aged for about a year and a half.

Older Cheeses

There are, however, plenty of places where you can get older cheddar cheese. Sellers who specialize in cheese will generally have a larger variety. Some will sell cheddar that has been aged for five or six years while others will go up to seven years. The longest aged cheddar you are likely to find from a specialty seller is about 10 years old and even that can be difficult because very few people like the taste as it is so strong.

Oldest Ever

Despite the fact that most people prefer their cheddar to be aged for a year and a half or less, there was recently some cheddar that was 40 years old. This was not intentional however; it was a lucky accident. Ed Zahn had made the cheese years ago when he was still working in an old cheese manufacturer in Oconto, Wisconsin and when he went back in 2012 he found this batch in the back of a cooler. Some people said that this cheese was so old it was barely edible due to the sharp flavor but it was such a rarity to find a cheddar aged for so long that it sold out quickly.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New Logo; What Does it Symbolize?

We are very excited to introduce you to our new logo! This is a sneak peak before we've even changed it on our packaging and website, so we hope you enjoy! We wanted to show a cow on our logo which is a major part of how and why we can exist as a company. We want all of you to know we have farm fresh milk everyday without any additives, antibiotics, RBGH, etc...

Look closely at the cow.... Notice anything? Look at the cow's largest spot... Yes that's the state of NY, which symbolizes the state we produce our cheese in.

The last thing we want to point out about our new logo is the red banner at the bottom. This is a new slogan at Golden Age Cheese, as we want to remind all of our customers that our cheeses are all natural; from the fresh Mozzarella cheeses, to the sharpest Cheddar cheeses, to the way we smoke our smoked cheeses, nothing has preservatives or anything artificial!

Thanks for reading, and we hope you like our new logo as much as we do!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What Cheese Goes Well With Dry Wine?

When it comes to pairing wine and cheese it sometimes seems as if you need an expert to tell you the exact match to make. The reality, however, is that with just a little bit of knowledge you can make the match yourself and find a great pairing. This is good news whether you simply want to relax and enjoy some wine and cheese at home or are hosting a wine and cheese party for some of your friends. In general, white wines tend to be easier to pair with cheeses than red wines so we will mostly focus on white dry wines.


You should always be careful when trying to pair a cheese with a dry wine because if you do not choose correctly, the taste may be affected. Certain mild cheeses will have a slightly sweet taste and when you pair this with a dry wine, the wine will end up seeming tart and acidic instead of rich and fruity. This is always an issue if the food is sweeter than the wine so it can be especially problematic for dry wines. If you follow the following guidelines, however, you shouldn’t have a problem pairing cheeses with dry wine.

Blue Cheese

Blue cheeses are one of the best choices if you have a dry wine. That is because the cheese is not overly sweet which would make the wine taste bitter. Instead the strong taste of a blue cheese tends to make dry wines taste even fruitier, enhancing their flavor and providing a treat for the senses.

Fresh Cheese

Most of the time you won’t eat a fresh cheese by itself; instead you will pair it with a food item, adding a bit of flavor to a salad, dessert or cooked dish. Many people choose not to pair wines with fresh cheeses, but you can. If you do this one of your best choices is to opt for a dry Chenin Blanc wine or something similar. If the fresh cheese is brined and pressed, then try opting for a dry white in general.

Hard Cheese

When you look at hard cheeses, they tend to be a bit sweeter and this may make some people hesitant to pair them with dry wines due to the warning mentioned above. They can, however, work with certain dry wines as long as you know what you are doing. If you would like to pair a dry wine with a hard cheese, opt for a sparkling wine or a light white as this will bring out both flavors.

Other Considerations

If you are looking to pair a dry wine with a dish and not just a piece of cheese or cheese and crackers, then you have more options. Instead of focusing on the cheese in the dish, focus on some of the other flavors involved. You could also try choosing a dry wine and a cheese from the same region. Another consideration is that if instead of wine you want champagne, dry champagne can go well with a cheese that has a bloomy white rind.

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