Aged Swiss Cheese

How come Swiss cheese can rarely be found older than two years of age? I got my hands on some a few years ago that was about 2 and a half, and aged it to 3 years before consuming it. It was wonderful! So sharp and savory! Much more intense than plain old two year old!

I’ve had cheddar that was almost into its teens before being consumed. What makes Swiss so sharp so young, and so hard to find past the age of 2?

Sorry, not an answer for you, but …
How did you age the cheese yourself for another 6 months? Did you buy an entire swiss cheese or just a chunk of swiss? Did you need to wrap it in cheese-cloth and store it in a dark cool cellar or is there an easier way.

Bibby, I’m from Wisconsin! I went to my local cheese shop, had them lop off the desired amount of cheese, wrap it appropriately (plastic wrap, nice and airtight), and give it to me. I stored it in my cheese refrigerator until I was ready to eat it.

What? You don’t have a cheese refrigerator? :eek:

Quapgod ;), I’ve only room for one fridge, boo. And a second would be used to store wine and drinks. I am surprised the cheese ages well in air tight plastic, don’t you get a risk of anaerobic bacteria like botulism?
Amazon Gormet Food has a few interesting raw milk swiss cheeses but none seem very long aged. I think its a case of style of cheese, Swiss and Dutch tend not to age their cheeses much, whilst French and English cheeses are more often aged for a long time.

Thanks for the link, bip! But botulism in cheese is usually a problem of cheese from unpasteurized milk, as opposed to cheese that’s aged longer. Good hygiene & proper wrapping should keep a cheese from spoiling.

I’m still interested in finding out what goes on with swiss at a chemical level that makes it sharp and crumbly so fast, and what happens if it would be aged for a nice, round 5 years or so.

anyone? :confused:

Part of the reason why it’s difficult to find a good aged cheese (especially if you’re not fortunate enough to live in a place that takes it’s dairy seriously) is the Blanding of America. Companies have found that they can sell more of a given food item if doesn’t have much flavor to it. So they’ve been watering down the taste of things, especially sharp flavored things like cheese, for years now. I can remember when I was a kid being able to get sharp cheese that had an intense bite to it, now, even the extra sharp cheese doesn’t have much of a bite to it. :frowning:

Come down by me once! One local cheese shop sells 9 year old cheddar. But their swiss is only 2 and a half!

Well, if I can ever scrape up the cash, I’ll certainly head up that way.

Never had an aged Swiss, but I’ve seen a prehistoric Munster.

I only caught a part of the show, but you should hear the interview with Ihsan Gurdal on The Splendid Table about his quest for perfectly aged cheeses. You’ll be salivating all over yourself at his descriptions of the cheeses.

ufff! Doesn’t *everyone * have a cheese refrigerator?? :dubious:

Interesting link, TF. Mmmmmmmmmm…cheese worship!

Sadly, it doesn’t seem that he’s making his cheese available via the web. I’d certainly love to be able to sample some of them.

First off, what exactly do you mean by “Swiss cheese”. I’m aware that it’s a catch-all term used in the U.S. and that usually it refers to Emmentaler cheese. If that is what you are refering to, then what sources I’ve read say that it reaches its optimal maturity at about 12 months.

Sbrinz cheese, however should ideally be aged for at least 18 months before consumption, with 3 years being optimal.

I certainly don’t have an answer in regards to why cheddar ages differently from swiss cheeses but I’ll WAG that it probably has to do with the different bacteria used in making those cheeses.

According to this page, the bacteria used are:

Streptococcus lactis, S. cremoris, S. durans; Lactobacillus casei, L. plantarum

S. lactis, L. helveticus, S. thermophilus; Propionibacterium shermanii, P. freudenreichii

Furthermore, these guys claim:

By “eye formation”, it’s clear they’re refering to Emmentaler.

So, elements of an answer.

Thanks, jovan.

The eye comment reminded me: In those really old Swiss cheeses, they eyes are filled with a clear golden liquid that is just the essence of Swiss (or Emmenthaler, etc) cheesiness! Yum.