Amish communities are distinct for their commitment to simple, technology-free ways of living and dedication to trades. Among those trades is the craft of cheesemaking, an Amish tradition with roots that trace back to their Swiss and German ancestry. Amish butter cheese is one of many traditional cheeses with a distinct and highly desirable flavor and texture.
In the United States, most Amish communities are of German heritage. The German food tradition of butterkase was the precursor to butter cheese. German butterkase, which translates to "butter cheese," does not contain butter, but rather reflects the smooth, creamy texture that is similar to butter. Amish butter cheese maintains the soft texture, pale yellow color and 50 percent fat content of traditional German butterkase.
Amish butter cheese is made from cows' milk from local, Amish-owned farms. The cows, raised in Amish tradition, contain no artificial hormones or antibiotics. While modern cheese factories utilize large machines for processing, Amish butter cheese does not; curds may be separated or pressed by hand or with wooden gravity-flow systems that transition curds into molds. Handpressing and gravity systems are thought to contribute to the texture of the cheese, because the curds are not jostled or agitated with metal or quick-moving parts.
Flavor and Texture
Amish butter cheese is semi-soft; its 50 percent fat content contributes to its softer texture. The texture makes it ideal for heating and melting, although it is firm enough to slice or cube for snacking. The flavor is mild and similar to harvarti, but it does not have a rind like traditional butterkase.
Uses and Serving
Eat Amish butter cheese on its own as a snack or with crackers. It is also suitable for use in sandwiches and will melt easily in hot dishes like grilled cheese or sauces. Amish butter cheese is also an option for fondue dishes because of its mild flavor and ease of melting.
- Shisler's Cheese House: Amish Butter Cheese
- Wisconsin Cheese: A Cookbook and Guide to the Cheeses of Wisconsin: Martin Hintz, Pam Percy
- Delicatessen Cookbook: Avani Burdett
- The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America: Heather Paxson
- Photo Credit tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images
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