We’re all familiar with American Swiss cheese. We put it on Reubens, ham sandwiches, and all sorts of things. But there’s a special type of American Swiss cheese, called baby Swiss cheese that may be more delicious. This week I’m trying a baby Swiss from Weyauwega Star Dairy in Weyauwega, WI.
Weyauwega Star Dairy is located in the tiny town of Weyauwega, WI. It has been owned and operated by the Knaus Family since 1975. Fun fact – Jim Knaus made the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995 for making the longest string cheese. It was 1.5 freakin’ miles long! And there’s no doubt Star Dairy makes a great baby Swiss cheese, but where did Baby Swiss originate?
We know that regular American Swiss, especially if aged enough, can have a pretty strong flavor. Baby Swiss, on the other hand, is milder. Baby Swiss was developed in Charm, Ohio in the 1960’s in response to American’s fondness for milder cheeses. Here’s how baby Swiss is different then regular American Swiss:
- Not aged as long (the reason for the name), resulting in smaller holes or “eyes”
- Traditionally made with whole milk for a richer flavor
- More salt added
- Higher moisture content
At first glance, this Weyauwega baby Swiss cheese has the same milky white color as regular Swiss but much more glossy due to the higher moisture content. It has little holes scattered about but most of the cheese is solid the whole way through.
It smells sweet and nutty. It tastes much softer and smoother than regular Swiss. This cheese has a texture similar to mozzarella. It also has a milder, milky taste. It leaves that slightly bitter taste in your mouth, characteristic of Swiss cheese, just like a raw walnut or almond would.
I’m a fan of baby Swiss but I like it best in small doses. It’s just not a cheese that I could eat a whole brick of in one sitting…and believe me, some cheeses I just lose all control.
Due to its high moisture content, Baby Swiss is great for melting. It is often used in sandwiches. A couple slices along with some cheddar would make a bomb grilled cheese.
One of my favorite sandwiches, the Reuben, is a great way to show off this Baby Swiss. Here’s a great Reuben recipe to try.
Pairs Well With
Baby Swiss pairs nice with the following mellow foods and drinks due to its high moisture content and mild flavor:
- Apples, Pears, Figs
The reason there are holes in Swiss cheese is because the bacteria, or starter cultures, used to make this type of cheese consume the lactic acid in the milk by way of lacto-fermentation and then expel carbon dioxide. Essentially, they are bacterial fart bubbles. Bon Appetit!
Next week we try a delicious red onion cheddar.