Cheddar Cheese

Ingredient Spotlight: Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar Cheese

Of all the cheeses out there, Cheddar is hands down my favorite. It’s hard to beat the versatility you find with Cheddar cheese. In fact, it reigns as one of the most widely consumed cheeses in the world.

Cheddar hails from England and humans have been loving it for a very long time. There’s records of cheddar sales dating back to the 12th century. In the 1800s, Joseph Harding pioneered a method for producing cheddar that allowed it to become a global phenomenon

Have you noticed that cheddar comes in both white and orange? White cheddar tends to be lauded as a premium option, but the only significant difference is a little bit of color. To avoid color variances due to differing milk quality, cheddar cheese manufacturers began to add Annatto, a natural dye made from a seed. Today with our modern advances in food production there is not much reason to continue the process but manufacturers keep the tradition alive.

The aging process makes cheddar more “sharp”. This is a descriptor for the texture and flavor variances that come from aging a cheese. There is no standardized timeframe for how long to age a cheddar to call it sharp, so you will notice variances from brand to brand. Mild cheddars are aged for 2-3 months with extra sharp cheddars aging from 1.5 to 2 years to allow it to develop more complex flavors. Experiment between brands until you find one you love.

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When selecting Cheddar for a mac and cheese, aim for the sharpest you can find. Mild cheddars will not come through as predominantly in a dish, especially when layered with other flavors. If you need some direction on where to start, this is one of my favorites to give you a base to start on your mac and cheese journey.

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