FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

  1. What is Cheese?
  2. What happens to the whey? Is it just thrown out?
  3. How many varieties of cheese are there?
  4. What is process cheese? Is it real cheese or an imitation?
  5. What about pasteurized cheese foods and cheese spreads?
  6. What are cold pack cheeses?
  7. If cheese is basically just milk that has been thickened, how come there are so many varieties of cheese on the market?
  8. Does the cheese have the same food value as milk?
  9. Does the rind have anything to do with the flavor of the cheese?
  10. What about the mold on cheese? What is it and is it harmful?
  11. What about "unintentional" mold?
  12. When mold develops unintentionally, does that mean the cheese is no good?
  13. How can this type of unintentional mold be avoided?
  14. How can you tell then if a cheese is spoiled beyond redemption?
  15. How long will most cheese keep?
  16. Some people say they prefer raw milk cheeses to pasteurized cheeses. What is the difference?
  17. Are raw milk cheeses sold in this country?
  18. What causes the holes we see in some cheeses such as Swiss cheese?
  19. What is the right wine to serve with different cheeses?
  20. What are Cheese Curds?
  21. What is Wasabi?
  22. What is Peppadew?
  23. Where do we get our Champagne from for our Champagne Cheddar?
  24. As a Vegetarian what information do I need about your cheese?
  25. What is the difference between Cheddar Cheese and Gouda Cheese?
  26. What is the difference between white and yellow cheddar?
  27. Are our cheeses Gluten Free?
  28. What does "rBST Free" mean? Which of your cheeses fall into this category?
  29. Can you freeze Yancey's Fancy Cheeses?

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1. Q: What is Cheese?

A: In simple terms, cheese is a concentrated form of milk. The milk is treated so that it coagulates into curd (a thick, custard-like solid) and releases a thin, watery liquid called whey. The curd is then handled differently, depending on the type of cheese being made.

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2. Q: What happens to the whey? Is it just thrown out?

A: Certainly not. Whey is highly nutritious and is used in making many other food products - even other cheeses, such as Italian, American, Ricotta or a caramel-colored cheese called Gjetost (Yeh-toast), which comes from Norway. Whey is also used in many baked products, medicines, and even in some skin care products. In fact, most whey is used to feed farm animals or fertilize farmland.

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3. Q: How many varieties of cheese are there?

A: No one knows for certain, but it is estimated that there are over 1,000 natural cheeses and about as many process cheese types.

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4. Q: What is process cheese? Is it real cheese or an imitation?

A: Pasteurized process cheese is real cheese. It is a good example of "cheese made from cheese." For the most part, it consists of a blend of natural cheeses that have been treated with heat to stabilize their development and produce a uniform flavor and texture. Often, other ingredients are added, such as emulsifiers, powders, spices, herbs and other flavoring accents.

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5. Q: What about pasteurized cheese foods and cheese spreads?

A: They are variations of process cheese that generally contain less fat and more moisture.

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6. Q: What are cold pack cheeses?

A: They are a variety of natural cheeses that are ground without the use of heat to be spreadable. They may be blended for taste and texture with other cheeses or ingredients.

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7. Q: If cheese is basically just milk that has been thickened, how come there are so many varieties of cheese on the market?

A: It is because the type of cheese depends on the animal from which the milk comes, the climate in which the animal lives, the soil, grasses, and water. Another factor in determining the type of cheese, is the cheese making process itself (i.e. different cultures used), which also has countless variations at every step.

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8. Q: Does the cheese have the same food value as milk?

A: Cheese is basically a concentrate of milk, with highly concentrated forms of the same nutrients - protein, calcium, vitamins, and butterfat.

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9. Q: Does the rind have anything to do with the flavor of the cheese?

A: Yes. Washed rind cheeses, like Port Salut (por sa-loo) for example, tend to be very aromatic. Surface ripened cheeses, like Brie (bree), take on the added flavor of their white mild rinds.
*Yancey's Fancy Country Store Washed Curd Cheese

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10. Q: What about the mold on cheese? What is it and is it harmful?

A: There is a lot to know, understand, and appreciate about mold and cheese. Mold is actually a form of microscopic organism (microbes), which feed on cheese. They may be there either intentionally or unintentionally. In Danish Blue, for example, a form of penicillium bacteria - also used to make penicillin - is used to develop a harmless, edible and really delicious blue mold. The downy white rind we see on cheeses like Brie is another form of penicillium - one that develops an edible white mold on the surface of soft-ripened cheese.

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11. Q: What about "unintentional" mold?

A: Sometimes mold can develop as a result of improper storage and handling; this is what we call unintentional mold.

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12. Q: When mold develops unintentionally, does that mean the cheese is no good?

A: It depends on the extent of the mold, really. But if it's just surface mold, most cheese experts would say that you can scrape or cut the mold off and enjoy the remainder of the cheese.

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13. Q: How can this type of unintentional mold be avoided?

A: Mainly by careful handling and by keeping cheese tightly wrapped - and under refrigeration. Also keep cheeses that should have mold away from ones that shouldn't. Mold spores are very light and travel easily through the air, affecting other cheeses.

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14. Q: How can you tell then if a cheese is spoiled beyond redemption?

A: To some degree it requires knowing what the cheese looks and smells like when it's good. That way, if something's wrong, you'll recognize it immediately.
- First, make sure the cheese hasn't lost any of its natural moisture, becoming drier or harder than it should. Look at the difference between a fresher version of a cheese and a spoiled one.
- Second, check the color. It shouldn't be unusually dark. Compare the color in the two cheeses and the aromas.
- Finally, make sure that no surface mold has spread to the interior of the cheese.

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15. Q: How long will most cheese keep?

A: That depends, for the most part, on the cheese itself. Generally, the more moisture a cheese has, the shorter its shelf life. A high-moisture cheese, like cottage cheese, won't last nearly as long as aged Parmesan. Here is a chart, which can be a general guide:
- Cheese Type Shelf Life
- Soft Ripening 4 - 8 weeks
- Firm 2 - 5 months
- Hard Over 5 months (cheddar)

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16. Q: Some people say they prefer raw milk cheeses to pasteurized cheeses. What is the difference?

A: When making pasteurized cheeses, the milk is heated at 164ˆF for 17 seconds, eliminating any harmful bacteria. Pasteurization, however, also removes much of the beneficial bacteria that is conducive to flavor development. Raw milk cheeses traditionally come from Europe, where the milk undergoes little or no heat treatment. In the United States most cheeses referred to as "raw milk cheeses" are made with milk that is "thermalized," a process, which heats the milk at 157ˆF for 17 seconds. "Thermalizing" the milk kills fewer bacteria in the milk, which allows for a higher flavor development in the cheese. By FDA standards, this cheese is required to sit for 60 days before it can be sold, to ensure that all harmful bacteria is dead.
*Yancey's Fancy Sharp, X-Sharp, XXX-Sharp Cheddar and Country Store Cheese

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17. Q: Are raw milk cheeses sold in this country?

A: They are - provided they are aged for a minimum of 60 days. That's sufficient to eliminate any harmful microorganisms.

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18. Q: What causes the holes we see in some cheeses such as Swiss cheese?

A: Holes are caused by certain types of bacteria that are added during the cheese making process. During ripening, bacteria create gases. When gases can't escape, they create holes or "eyes" that you see in Swiss or Emmentaler - style cheeses. Rustic chevre - goat's milk cheeses - call for country wines and crusty breads, while sophisticated cheeses require more refined accompaniments. Just about any fruit goes with any cheese.

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19. Q: What is the right wine to serve with different cheeses?

A: It's not nearly so complicated as people think. Generally cheeses go best with wines and other beverages from the same or similar regions. English Cheddar, for example, demands a sturdy ale.

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20. Q: What are Cheese Curds?

A: Cheese Curds are simply fresh cheddar cheese before it has been pressed into a block to age and thus become "aged cheddar." Pure, simple and wholesome, cheese curds are high in calcium and make a great nutritious snack for kids and adults alike!

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21. Q: What is Wasabi?

A: Wasabi is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbages, horseradish and mustard. Known as "Japanese horseradish", its root is used as a spice and has an extremely strong flavor. Its hotness is more akin to that of a hot mustard rather than the capsaicin in a chili pepper, producing vapors that stimulate the nasal passages more than the tongue. The plant grows naturally along stream beds in mountain river valleys in Japan.

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22. Q: What is Peppadew?

A: Peppadew is the brand name of sweet piquanté peppers (a breed of Capsicum baccatum) grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This type of piquante pepper was first discovered in early 1993 and introduced to market later that same decade. The name is derived from "Pepper" and "dew". Although the pepper is sometimes described as a cross between a pepper and a tomato, this description is not botanically accurate, and refers only to the resemblance in color and size between Peppadew and cherry tomatoes.

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23. Q: Where do we get our Champagne from for our Champagne Cheddar?

A: Hunt Country winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

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24. Q: As a Vegetarian what information do I need about your cheese?

A: The only cheeses that you should be concerned with are Pepperoni Cheddar and any of the bacon flavored cheeses (i.e. Smoked Gouda with Bacon). We use a vegetable-based rennet with all our cheeses. The cow's are grass-fed, however they are not organic. Organic practices may take place however we cannot guarantee that.

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25. Q: What is the difference between Cheddar Cheese and Gouda Cheese?

A: Cheddar is a hard cheese with a smooth, firm body that becomes more crumbly with age. Color ranges from nearly white to orange. Gouda on the other hand is a semi-soft to hard cheese similar to Edam, but with a higher butterfat content. It has a firm soft golden colored body scattered with a few small irregular holes.

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26. Q: What is the difference between white and yellow cheddar?

A: Annatto is the difference. It is an all natural vegetable dye used to give many cheeses, especially cheddar, their yellow-orange hue. It has no taste and is not a preservative. White cheddars have no coloring.

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27. Q: Are our cheeses Gluten Free?

A: All of our cheeses are in fact Gluten Free. The horseradish is shipped in vinegar which could create trace amounts of gluten, however to this day there have been no reports of those with Celiac Disease running into trouble with our horseradish products.

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28. Q: What does "rBST Free" mean? Which of your cheeses fall into this category?

A: Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is a synthetic version of the Bovine somatotropin (BST) hormone found in cattle. The hormone is used by many commercial dairies to increase milk production. It's been marketed under a number of names, but most consumers know it as rBST or BST. The use of rBST has met with some controversy from a variety of fronts, including the animal rights movement and some commercial dairy farmers. As a result, dairies that produce milk products without the use of rBST have begun indicating this on their labels. Though rBST has been banned in several countries, the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States has determined it to be safe to consume. All of Yancey's Fancy Natural Cheeses are rBST Free.

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29. Q: Can you freeze Yancey's Fancy Cheeses?

A: Cheese should not be frozen. If a cheese is frozen, it will not spoil, but the texture will change and become less smooth. Soft and/or high fat cheeses freeze better than lower fat cheeses. Frozen cheese is best used in cooking..

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