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What is Emmental Cheese: The Complete Guide!

  • 13 minutes read time

What is Emmental Cheese: The Complete Guide!

Do you like emmental cheese? If so, this is the blog post for you! In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about emmental cheese.

Homemade Cheese Recipe - Sheri Ann ...
What is Emmental cheese

We'll talk about its history, how it's made and what makes it unique. We also share some recipes you can use to enjoy emmental cheese in all its glory!

What is Emmental cheese?

Emmental cheese from Switzerland has its origin in the 13th century in the valley of the river Emme, in the Swiss canton or region of Bern. It is the oldest cheese in Switzerland and is regarded as an important part of Swiss history.

Emmenthal produced in the region's creameries benefits from the protected designation of origin (AOP) or the status of protected designation of origin (PDO).

Requires milk to be produced from fresh, raw (unpasteurized) cow's milk, produced exclusively in designated production regions and fed only grass and hay.

Emmentaler (also known as Emmentaler, Emmentaler, and Emmenthaler) is a smooth, semi-hard cheese made from cow's milk. 

It has a firm, dense body and a hard, inedible crust. It ranges from smooth and buttery to dry, fruity and full-flavored fruits. Young or classic Emmenthal is aged for at least four months and is smooth and fruity.

What is Emmental cheese

Why Emmental Cheese Has Holes

Cheese has holes in it because of the way it is made. Emmental cheese is a type of Swiss cheese with large holes, or "eyes" The eyes are formed by gas bubbles that form during the cheese making process.

The gas bubbles are caused by bacteria that eat the lactose in the milk and produce carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is retained on the curve.

The holes also help to identify genuine Emmental cheese from imitations, as Swiss law requires all Emmental cheeses to have holes.

the bacteria shermani propionibacter are submerged in a vat of liquid, where they consume lactic acid and produce bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Holes in the cheese crust are caused by air bubbles trapped in the curds during ripening. The size of the openings is determined by the change in the temperature at which the milk is brought, the acidity of the milk, or how long a cheesemaker ages its forms.

The taste of Emmental cheese

Emmentaler's distinctive flavor is due in part to our fellow shermani propionibacter. When the bacteria consume lactic acid in young cheese, it also produces other by-products such as carbon dioxide.

CO2 is released when lactic acid is broken down, and lactic acid changes to propionic acid, which gives Emmentaler its distinct, pungent odor and taste.

The flavor of Emmentaler cheese varies greatly depending on the level of Propionibacter shermani activity. Taste and eye size are linked. The holes in the cheese are larger, which results in a more intense and developed flavor.

The longer a cheese ages, the more bacteria that enhance its flavor. This may explain why American-made Swiss cheese has smoother, creamier flavors. European versions tend to be rounder, richer, and more nutty.

If you prefer the delicate flavor and creamy texture, then I suggest you check out the cheese mozzarella which is ideal for a variety of recipes.

What is Emmental cheese

Emmental cheese health benefits

I don't know if you are aware, but Swiss cheeses offer several health benefits, such as Emmental cheese, which I will list:

Bone Health

The calcium and proteins in Swiss cheese contribute to stronger, healthier bones. Protein has been linked to bone development and formation.

In addition, calcium intake is necessary for our bones to be strong and healthy, as well as good blood flow and muscles.

Helps in increasing muscle mass

Swiss cheese is rich in protein. Protein is essential for human nutrition, but it also has benefits for the body, such as increasing muscle mass and contributing to our strength.

Increasing protein intake has been shown to directly contribute to strength development in resistance training.

Reduces Blood Pressure

More studies are needed to link Swiss cheese with lower blood pressure. Despite this, research has found that cheese includes doses of two antihypertensive peptides (protein components found in milk, eggs, and meat) with blood pressure-lowering effects.

Increases Metabolism

Lots of proteins are also beneficial for boosting your metabolism and reducing food cravings, which helps you avoid overeating and gaining weight.

Foods that contain high proteins, such as Swiss cheese, have been shown to reduce the number of calories burned and give you more energy, especially when compared to diets high in carbohydrates.

How Emmental Cheese is Made

In a large copper kettle or vat, raw cow's milk is gently heated. Natural whey and rennet are added to trigger clotting and curd formation. The curd is taken out of the mold and placed in molds, while the whey is drained.

The molds are then brine and aged. A mixture of proprietary cultures, including propionic bacteria, are added during the maturation process. Propionic bacteria feed on lactic acid and release carbon dioxide bubbles during the aging process. 

The bubbles get trapped inside the shell as it molds and develops holes. Room temperatures will be kept warm to help recognizable holes in the cheese form as it matures.

After two months, the cheese will take on the characteristics of Emmenthal cheese. The cheese is produced in large molds about 1.5 m wide and weighing approximately 200 kilograms.

Emmenthal without the AOP designation is also produced in France and Germany, as well as in the United States, where it is widely available as both Emmenthal and Swiss cheese and is moderately priced.

Non-AOP cheese is milder and lacks the flavor characteristics of real Swiss Emmenthal, as the milk and cultures used are not the same as those used in the designated areas of production in Switzerland.

Types of Emmental Cheese in Brazil

In Brazil, smaller Emmental cheeses are available with cylinders weighing between 12 and 25 kg. They are also available in portions in most cases.

Emmental cheese is produced in Brazil by pasteurizing cow's milk and has a mild and sweet taste. The method and the different raw ingredients of the Swiss original produce a very different flavor.

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

Despite being a typical Swiss cheese, Emmental can also be produced in France and Germany.

For this reason, Emmentaler or Emmentaler cheeses do not have a protected designation of origin in Europe, like other Gorgonzola or Brie cheeses.

However, there are four varieties of cheese that have the recognition of quality at origin, which are:

  • Emmentaler Switzerland – refer to cheeses made in specific regions in Switzerland;
  • Allgäuer Emmentaler – refer to cheeses made in Germany, in the region of Bavaria;
  • Emmental of Savoie – Refers to cheeses made in France, in the Savoie area;
  • Emmental Français Est-Central – Refers to cheeses made in France, in the Franche-Comté region;

What does Emmental cheese go with?

Emmental cheese is a cheese that melts easily. It's great for grated or melted cheese dishes, such as sauces, quiches, and soufflés.

Want to add a gourmet touch to your hot mozzarella? Just replace the mozzarella with Emmental cheese and Dijon mustard for a big upgrade. The X-burger also benefits from the addition of Emmental cheese.

The famous French Croque Monsieur (ham, cheese, and béchamel sauce on a croissant) can be made with emmental in the sandwich line. See how to prepare it in the video below.

Mix pieces of emmental with leaves, fruits and nuts to add interest to a salad.

The Emmental cheese and leek soufflé is fantastic. By the way, a basic omelet with Emmental is quite good, and let's not even talk about quiches, which can also be made with this Swiss cheese.

The cheese is also fantastic with mushrooms, asparagus, kale, potatoes and other pasta varieties. Just grate the cheese and cook it on a plate to make it au gratin.

Emmental cheese can also be consumed natural, that is, it can be eaten in cubes. It can be accompanied with fruits, salami or gourmet hams.

Cheese is best served at room temperature. So remember to take it out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving (depending on room temperature).

What is Emmental cheese

Differences Between Emmental and Gruyere Cheese

Emmental and Gruyère are two of the best-known Swiss cheeses, both of which are highly appreciated in fondue for their flavor and melting ability. Despite its widespread popularity, many individuals seem to have difficulty distinguishing the two types of cheese.

Emmental cheese is milder in flavor than Gruyère, but can be used as a substitute in most dishes.

In popular culture, Emmental has large holes, while Gruyère has smaller holes. Plus, Gruyère is fatter and saltier than Emmental, making it ideal for creamier fondue.

Let's look at the differences between Gruyére and Emmental in more detail.

Visual aspect

One of the main differences between these types of cheese is their visual appearance. Although both products are pale yellow in color, Emmental cheese is characterized by huge holes created by pockets of gas during a fermentation process that lasts three to six months. 

On the other hand, the Gruyére has fewer holes, which are also smaller, but evenly spaced, than in the case of the Emmentaler. It shouldn't even be surprising that the holes shrink during the aging process.

It is a great snack or breakfast option that is packed with nutrients and will help satisfy your hunger. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be customized to your liking. Gruyère comes on smaller wheels than Emmental, weighing between 30 and 40 kilos, and has a more pronounced flavor than its larger counterpart, thanks to the longer aging time.

On the other hand, Emmental can be stored for up to six weeks in the refrigerator and frozen for up to three months with little change in flavor or texture. If well packaged and refrigerated, Gruyere can also last for several weeks.

Flavor and Fusion

Both types of cheese are quite similar in terms of origin, use and storage properties. But when it comes to flavor, Gruyère is a little fatter and saltier than Emmental, and arguably a little tastier. 

Both types of cheese come from Switzerland, albeit in two different regions, and are particularly suitable for fondues and cheese dishes due to their distinctive melting properties. But traditionally, Gruyère is used for the creamiest fondue.

What is Emmental cheese

Emmental cheese frequently asked questions

It is common to have a lot of doubts about emmental cheese, and as such we want to clarify in relation to the most common questions:

Emmental cheese price in Brazil?

1kg of Emmental cheese produced in Brazil should be around R$110, however it is also possible to buy the cheese cut into slices, normally between 120g and 150g which cost around R$20

Does emmental cheese melt?

Emmental cheese melts and that is why it is widely used in cheese fondues, as well as in creamy dishes, such as pizzas, risottos, etc.

Is Emmental Cheese Good?

Emmental cheese is quite good, it has a more neutral flavor, which makes it possible to use it in various recipes, both sweet and savory. In addition, emmental cheese is also healthier than other cheeses because it contains less fat.

Emmental cheese goes with which wine?

Emmental cheese pairs very well with a Chardonnay wine, which is a white wine, but can also be served with a sparkling wine.

Does Emmental cheese have lactose?

Some hard Swiss cheeses, including Le Gruyère and emmental, do not contain lactose, as it decomposes in the production process.

Does emmental cheese have fungus?

No, Emmental cheese has no lactose or fungus. It is a healthy cheese option for those looking for a cheese that is lower in fat and calories. Emmental cheese is made from milk, salt, and rennet. That's right! No added preservatives or anything else. You can feel good eating emmental cheese.

emmental cheese recipes

There are thousands of recipes where Emmental cheese is used, so I decided to share with you 3 recipes that I love and where you can follow them step by step on video.

Emmental Cheese Quiche

The term “quiche” derives from the German “küchen,” which means “pie”

Quiche has many variations and can be served with a variety of fillings such as cheese, ham, vegetables, etc. The flexibility and diversity of this dish is demonstrated by the numerous recipes and preparation methods.

Check out a delicious emmental cheese quiche recipe below, which is very simple and quick to prepare. In addition, it can be used for lunch or dinner, it can also be used as a starter or even for snacks with family or friends.

Emmental cheese fondue

Fondue is a meal that offers you and your friends and family an unmissable experience! For it is a meal that is constantly shared among everyone.

Do you know the cheese fondue that you only see in the most elegant restaurants in town or on television and that you've always wanted to make at home?

When you learn how to prepare this homemade cheese fondue recipe, your dream will come true.

Emmental cheese souffle

The souffle is a French dish that has been around for centuries and is made with very simple ingredients: egg yolks, butter, flour and milk.

The beauty of the souffle lies in its simplicity and versatility. It can be sweet or savory, large or small, boiled or plain.

This emmental cheese soufflé, the recipe is tasty, simple and quick to make. It's perfect for a main course or as an accompaniment to a more elaborate meal.

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