Are you a fan of blue cheese? Do you enjoy the rich, earthy flavor and picturesque veining that comes with it?
If so, you may have heard of Salemville Blue Cheese. This award-winning cheese is sustainably produced by an Amish community in Cambria, Wisconsin, and is known for its quality and flavor.
But one question that often comes up is whether or not Salemville Blue Cheese is pasteurized. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question and provide you with all the information you need to know about this delicious cheese.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of Salemville Blue Cheese!
Is Salemville Blue Cheese Pasteurized?
The answer is yes, Salemville Blue Cheese is pasteurized. The cheese is made from hand-milked cow milk that is certified rBGH-free, and all Salemville cheeses are free from preservatives or chemical additives. The milk used in production comes from cows that are hand-milked twice daily without the use of machines or electricity.
Salemville Blue Cheese is a semi-hard textured cheese that is rich and earthy in flavor. It is perfect in salad dressings, dips, pasta, omelets, and crepes. The cheese is also a great accompaniment to Stout, Scotch, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Port or Late Harvest Riesling.
What Is Pasteurization?
Pasteurization is a process of heat-treating food to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms that can cause food-borne illnesses. It involves heating the food to a specific temperature for a set amount of time, which varies depending on the type of food being pasteurized. The aim of pasteurization is to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the food, making it safer to consume.
In the case of dairy products like cheese, pasteurization involves heating the milk to a high temperature for a short period of time, which kills any harmful bacteria that may be present. This process also helps to extend the shelf life of the cheese.
While pasteurization does not completely eliminate all bacteria from the food, it significantly reduces the risk of bacterial contamination and makes the food safer to consume. Pasteurized dairy products are generally considered safer for pregnant women, as they are less likely to contain harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes.
The Controversy Around Pasteurization In Cheese Production
The controversy around pasteurization in cheese production has been ongoing for decades. While pasteurization is a widely accepted practice that helps to kill off harmful bacteria, it also kills off the good bacteria that gives some raw milk cheeses their unique, complex flavors. This has led to a debate between those who support pasteurization and those who advocate for raw milk cheese production.
The first commercial milk pasteurizers were produced in 1882, but the practice didn’t become widespread in the U.S. for several more decades. This was largely due to the efforts of bacteriologist Alice Catherine Evans who, in 1917, determined that drinking freshly-drawn cow’s milk or handling diseased cattle could cause infection in humans. Despite facing opposition from physicians, veterinarians, dairy industry representatives, and other scientists, Evans persisted in her advocacy for pasteurization.
Dairy farmers have also pushed against the added costs of pasteurization, as it requires additional equipment and labor. However, pasteurization not only makes milk safer but also allows cheese-making facilities to scale production, standardize quality, and create a significantly cheaper product. By the 1930s almost all cheese factories in the U.S. had been retrofitted to work with pasteurized milk.
Despite the benefits of pasteurization, some cheese lovers argue that it takes away from the unique flavors of raw milk cheese. Raw milk cheese is made from unpasteurized milk and is aged for a longer period of time than pasteurized cheese. This allows for the development of complex flavors and textures that cannot be replicated in pasteurized cheese.
Salemville Blue Cheese Production Process
The Salemville Cheese Cooperative, located in Cambria, Wisconsin, collaborates with approximately 60 Amish dairy farmers to produce their award-winning blue cheese. The cows are milked by hand, and the farmers are committed to providing rBGH-free milk to the co-op. The cooperative’s cheesemakers then use this fresh milk to produce Salemville Blue Cheese in small batches.
The production process starts with pasteurization of the milk, which is heated to a specific temperature to eliminate any harmful bacteria. The milk is then cooled and combined with cultures and rennet, which helps the milk coagulate into curds. The curds are then cut into small pieces and drained of excess whey.
The next step in the process is to add salt to the curds, which helps to preserve the cheese and also adds flavor. The curds are then mixed and placed into molds, where they are pressed to remove any remaining whey. The cheese is then aged at the Salemville facility for a minimum of 60 days, during which time it develops its characteristic blue veins and earthy flavor.
Throughout the production process, Salemville Cheese Cooperative adheres to sustainable farming practices and uses traditional methods of cheesemaking. The result is a handmade, authentic cheese that is rich with veining and pungent flavor and aroma.
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Pasteurized Cheese
Pasteurization is a process of heat-treating food to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms that can cause food-borne illnesses. The process involves heating the milk to approximately 65°C (149°F) to kill off any pathogenic bacteria that could be potentially harmful. This method is considered more efficient on a large scale, as there is less care necessary in the milk collection stage where bacteria from the cows may run rampant. Pasteurizing the milk also extends the shelf life of dairy products.
One of the benefits of pasteurized cheese is that it is safer to consume. The process of pasteurization kills harmful bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis, a foodborne illness that can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Pasteurized cheese is also less likely to spoil quickly, making it a more convenient option for consumers.
However, pasteurization also has some drawbacks. The process not only kills harmful bacteria but also destroys the good bacteria that give some raw milk cheeses their unique, complex flavors. This means that pasteurized cheese may not have the same taste as raw milk cheese. Additionally, some people believe that pasteurization destroys important enzymes and nutrients present in raw milk cheese.
Conclusion: To Pasteurize Or Not To Pasteurize?
The debate over pasteurization of cheese has been ongoing for many years. While pasteurization can kill harmful bacteria and extend the shelf life of dairy products, it also eliminates the good bacteria that gives some raw milk cheeses their unique, complex flavors. However, when it comes to Salemville Blue Cheese, it is important to note that the cheese is pasteurized.
Pasteurization is a process of heat-treating food to kill bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause food-borne illnesses. It is considered more efficient on a large scale, as there is less care necessary in the milk collection stage where bacteria from the cows runs rampant. Salemville Cheese Cooperative, located in Cambria, Wisconsin, is made up of approximately 60 Amish dairy farmers who are committed to providing rBGH-free milk to the co-op. The cows are milked by hand and the cheese is produced in small batches and aged at the Salemville facility.
While some may argue that raw milk cheeses have better flavor profiles, it is important to consider the potential health risks associated with consuming unpasteurized cheese. Bacteria love our food as much as we do, and raw milk can contain harmful pathogens such as Listeria that can lead to serious health issues, especially for pregnant women.