One of America’s Favorites – American Cheese

December 21, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Modern American cheese is a type of processed cheese made from cheddar, Colby, or similar cheeses. It is mild with a creamy and salty flavor, has a medium-firm consistency, and has a low

An individually wrapped slice of American cheese, also known as a ‘single’.

melting point. It can be yellow or white in color; yellow American cheese is seasoned and colored with annatto. It originated in the 1910s.

 

British colonists made cheddar cheese soon after their arrival in North America. By 1790, American-made cheddars were being exported back to England. According to Robert Carlton Brown, author of The Complete Book of Cheese, “The English called our imitation Yankee, or American, Cheddar, while here at home it was popularly known as yellow or store cheese”.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists the first known usage of “American cheese” as occurring in the Frankfort, Kentucky, newspaper The Guardian of Freedom in 1804. The next usage given is in 1860 by Charles Dickens in his series The Uncommercial Traveler.

After patenting a new method for manufacturing processed cheese in 1916, James L. Kraft began marketing it in the late 1910s, and the term “American cheese” rapidly began to refer to the processed variety instead of the traditional but more expensive cheddars also made and sold in the U.S.

 

Traditional cheese is ground, combined with emulsifying agents and other ingredients, mixed and heated until it forms a “melted homogeneous” mixture. To pasteurize it, the cheese mixture must be heated to a temperature of at least 150 °F (66 °C) for a minimum of 30 seconds. Composition requirements of processed American cheese control the percentage of milkfat, moisture, salt and pH value in the final product, along with specifications for flavor, body and texture, color, and meltability.

The cheeseburger is a popular food in North America and elsewhere (shown topped with American cheese).

Processed American cheese is packaged in individually wrapped slices, as unwrapped slices sold in stacks, or in unsliced blocks. Individually wrapped slices are formed from processed cheese which solidifies only between the wrapping medium; these slices, sold as “singles”, are typically the least like traditional cheese. Blocks of American cheese are more similar to traditional cheese, and are sliced to order at deli counters.

 

Americans purchased about $2.77 billion worth of American cheese in 2018, but the popularity was falling, and, according to Bloomberg News, sales were projected to drop 1.6% in 2018. The average price for a pound of American was below $4 for the first time since 2011.

 

 

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