What is American Cheese?

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Cheese is a great element that brings a lot of dishes together. And if you’re an avid cheese lover, there’s no doubt that you have your own favorite cheese dishes from restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. There are lots of cheeses all over the world that have made a name for themselves; at times, even placing landmarks on their country of origin. Most have a variety of flavors and characteristics that give them their distinct identity. And then there’s American cheese. It’s that bright slice of orange cheese you see on most burgers, and while it may not be as iconic as brie or gouda, it’s a classic that’s dear to the heart of many Americans.

What is American Cheese, Anyway?

When we say American cheese, we mean the kind that comes in individual slices from the refrigerated dairy section or sliced off from a rectangular block at the deli counter. And it’s not actually cheese – that is, it’s not legally cheese. According to the FDA, it’s a “pasteurized processed American cheese product.” So why isn’t it considered actual cheese? For a food product to be considered true cheese, more than half of it should be made of pressed curds of milk (what cheese is made of). Since each slice of American cheese contains less than 51% of pressed milk curds, it doesn’t meet the FDA’s standard. So American cheese still has some true cheese in it and its vibrant orange color might just clue you in on the most common variety – cheddar.

While it may have not passed the FDA’s standard for true cheeses, American cheese is still preferred by many and that’s because of its gooey, melty goodness. That is why it is used in burgers and many sandwiches across restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and all over the US. What gives it that texture? The base cheese, combined with a mixture of milk proteins, whey, and emulsifying salts, makes it different from traditional cheeses. However, those added ingredients give its iconic meltability and goo factor.

A Brief History

This particular cheese’s roots date back to the pilgrims who used to make cheddar back in Europe and decided to take their cheese-making craft with them when they made their way to the US. By the 1700s, they started exporting their cheese abroad but the quality was deemed subpar by the British and was even dubbed as “Yankee Cheese”. In 1851, the first American cheese factory was established in New York by Jesse Williams and from then, the cheese became so common and popular that it became known as “yellow cheese”.

So there you have it. American cheese may not be legally considered as true cheese, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s purely delicious and dear to the hearts of many. So next time you’re craving a hearty dish with melted, gooey American cheese, visit your favorite restaurant and order a delectable dish featuring this good old cheese. Here at Tower Deli, we have a selection of delicious dishes you might like. Visit our restaurant or get catering in Fort Lauderdale today.

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