Cheddar cheese, or simply cheddar, is hard cheese originating from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England. The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for cheddar is “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.” It was created in 2007. Cheddar is usually is off-white, although some cheddar cheeses are orange because of food coloring, like annatto.
Cheddar Cheese Trivia
- Cheddar owns half of the UK’s annual cheese market, making it the most popular cheese in the UK.
- In the US, the most popular cheese is mozzarella. The second most popular? Cheddar.
- Red Leicester, an English cheese, is also known as “red cheddar.”
- Canadian poet James McIntyre wrote a poem inspired by a 7,000-pound cheese made in Ingersoll, Ontario. The poem is “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing over 7,000 Pounds.”
Cheddar Cheese Buying Guide
If this is your first time buying cheddar cheese, it is helpful to remember some buying tips:
- There are different kinds of cheddar cheese (farmhouse cheddar, bandage-wrapped cheddar, wax-covered cheddar, aged cheddar, orange cheddar, organic cheddar, Canadian cheddar, and Jurassic sharp cheddar), and a major difference in the different types is the taste. Different cheddar cheeses taste different.
- Look for the word “sharp” in the packaging. This refers to the taste of the cheddar. Sharp or extra-sharp cheddars have a strong flavor profile that requires a certain level of appreciation for cheese to be fully enjoyed. For people who are used to common cheddar, a sharp or extra sharp cheddar may be too much, taste-wise. In which case, it is better to buy mild-tasting cheddar.
- Always check the packaging for any signs of tampering or damage that could compromise the quality and safety of the food.
Cheddar Cheese Production & Farming in Texas
Cheese-making is a thriving industry in Texas. They have a lot of cheddar cheeses here, from your regular store-bought cheddar to something like Texas cave-aged artisan cheddar cheese.
In your hunt for cheddar in Texas, you may find TexasRealFood’s recommendations useful, so make sure to buy from these businesses: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin, Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese Co. in Lipan, Haute Goat Creamery in White Oak, Brazos Valley Cheese in Waco, Ten: One Artisan Cheese in Denton, Veldhuizen Cheese Shoppe in Dublin, River Whey Creamery in Schertz, and Watonga Cheese Factory in Perryton.
Other cheesemakers in Texas include Bee Tree Farm and Dairy in Manor, Blue Heron Farm, Field Store Community in Waller County, Cheesy Girl Cheese Co. in Kemah, Cheesemakers, Inc. in Montgomery County, CKC Farms in Blanco, Deborah’s Farmstead in Fort Worth, Dos Lunas Artisan Cheese in Austin, Dutch Cheesemaking in Farwell, Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese in Grandbury, Frerichs Dairy, Texas Jersey Cheese Company in La Grange, Full Quiver Farms in Kemp, LAmor LAmor in Henderson, Lira Rossa Artisan Cheese in Moulton, Latte Da Dairy in Flower Mound, Licon Dairy in San Elizario, Lucky Layla Farms in Plano, Marfa Maid in Marfa, Mill-King Market and Creamery in McGregor, Mozzarella Company in Dallas, On Pure Ground in Bonham, Pure Luck Farm and Dairy in Dripping Springs, Rosa Family Farm in Leonard, Sand Creek Farm in Cameron, South Texas Artisan Cheese in Edinburg, Strykly Texas Cheese in Schulenburg, The Inn at Dos Brisas in Washington, Texas Cheese House in Lorena, Tule Creek Dairy in Tulia, Veldhuizen Family Farm in Dublin, WaterOak Farm in Bryan, and West Wind Dairy Goats, Inc. in Seguin.
Here are businesses that sell cheese: Antonellis in Austin, Houston Dairymaids in Houston, The Salty Cow in Lewisville, Scardello Artisan Cheese in Dallas, Stanzeski’s Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie in Georgetown, and Cheese Peddlers in Dallas, among others.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Here are some additives and artificial and processed ingredients you may find in your cheddar cheese:
- Sodium citrate
- Calcium phosphate
- Sorbic acid
- Saturated vegetable oils
- Artificial food colorings
- E1105 Lisozima
- E235 Natamycin
- Sorbates (E200, E202, E203)
Cheddar is made all around the world. Countries like Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, and the United States are producing industrial as well as artisanal cheeses. In Australia, the choices for cheddar are mild, tasty, or sharp. Here, sales of cheddar cheese take up more than half of the country’s annual cheese sales. In Canada, the production and exportation of cheddar cheese began in the 19th century. The most prominent cheddar producers in the country are the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. In the US, the largest producer of cheddar is Wisconsin.
Cheddar is the most popular cheese in the UK and number two in the US.
Cheddar is sold wrapped in plastic. Some brands include a box in the product packaging. Shredded cheddar is sold in a resealable plastic pouch or bag.
Enjoying Cheddar Cheeses
Cheddar is popular as an ingredient of burgers (the cheese in your cheeseburger is cheddar) and sandwiches like grilled cheese. But there’s a lot of other dishes you can make using cheddar: pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, and mac and cheese), casseroles, dips, soups, chowders, breads, quiche, potpie, pies, scones, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, tacos, jalapeno poppers, enchiladas, salad, meatballs, wraps, muffins, and many more.
Cheddar is also used in cheese boards, usually paired with fruits (apples, pears, or grapes), crackers, olives, and jams.
Cheddar is also great paired with wine and beer. People recommend aged cheddar and a Cabernet Sauvignon, or fruity beers, while hard cheese is great with pale ales and brown ales.
After buying cheddar cheese, the next thing to do is knowing how to store them properly. If your cheddar cheese is shredded, refrigerate it. If you have a hard block of cheddar cheese, you can choose not to refrigerate it. The advantage of storing it inside the refrigerator is that it will last longer, which is important especially if you have a big block of cheese. You can leave cheddar cheese out at room temperature for as long as 8 hours. If it doesn’t have to stay on the table or shelf, put it in the refrigerator.
When storing cheddar cheese in the refrigerator, remember to wrap it twice. First, wrap it in wax paper, baking parchment, or cheese paper. This will allow the cheddar cheese to breathe. The next wrap should be a plastic wrap. It is better if you have a food container with a lid. Always keep the lid shut while in storage. Unopened cheddar cheese will keep for eight months at the most while stored inside the freezer. Once you open the packaging of the cheddar cheese, you have six weeks to consume it before it starts to go bad.
Make cheddar cheese soup at home
Think about comfort foods and cheese and soups are among those that come to mind. Now imagine combining the two to make cheddar cheese soup. This is perfect when it is cold outside. It is delicious and nutritious. This tasty soup is also sure to whet your appetite, setting you up for an enjoyable and filling main course. This is easy to make and I am sure friends and family will ask for another serving.
Yield: This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- Minced chives
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- Green bell pepper, finely chopped
- Crumbled bacon
- Chopped hard-boiled egg
Step 1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
Step 2. Sauté onions, garlic, celery, mustard, paprika, salt, and ground black pepper.
Step 3. Add flour
Step 4. Add broth, milk, and water. Cook until it reaches desired thickness and consistency.
Step 5. Add cheese and red pepper.
Step 6. Top with minced chives, bacon, and egg slices.