Is gruyère a Swiss cheese?
Gruyère cheese is a product of Switzerland, which technically makes it a Swiss cheese. However, the actual term "swiss cheese" is an American invention and refers to an entire family of cheeses made in the style of the mountain cheeses originally from the Swiss Alps. Gruyère is one of many cheeses made in Switzerland.
How is a Swiss cheese like gruyère made?
Gruyère is typically made in large copper vats, where cow's milk is heated and treated with rennet to coagulate the milk and separate the curd. The curd is poured into molds where it's pressed and immersed in a salt brine for hours. The cheese is then smeared with bacteria and ripened for several months, during which it's regularly turned to distribute moisture evenly. Some gruyère is aged with cave cheese techniques.
What's the difference between American swiss cheese and gruyère?
American swiss cheese and gruyère have a similar appearance, flavor, and texture. American swiss is characterized by large holes, or eyes, while gruyère typically is filled with much smaller cracks throughout. Both are a semi-hard cheese, thanks to compression during the cheesemaking process. Both are excellent melting cheeses. Both have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor, though gruyère tends to have a stronger flavor than American swiss depending on the age of the cheese. Gruyère cheese rinds are thick and brownish colored, while American swiss cheese does not have a rind.
What is alpine-style cheese?
Alpine-style cheese is any cheese that is made in the fashion of the classic mountain cheeses from the Swiss, Austrian, French or Italian Alps. Wisconsin cheesemakers make award-winning alpine-style cheeses using the same processes and equipment as traditional cheeses like gruyère and emmental.