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Tell Me More About Muenster Cheese

American Muenster Cheese

What's the difference between French and American Munster Cheese?

There are two forms of Munster cheese; the French version (Munster) and the American version (Muenster). The name is the closest thing to them being similar. True French "Munster" is shaped into a wheel and has the smell of "gym socks" with added "barnyard" smells to the mix. Those courageous enough to down it, are blessed with meaty, rich flavors and a super-creamy texture. The American version, spelled Muenster, is sort-of bland, loaf-shaped, and very yellow on the rind.

French Munster Cheese

The French Munster is a "Washed-rind" cheese. There are two formats of "Washed-rind" cheese, too. Small format (4 ounces to 3 pounds) and large format aged cheese (9 to 10 pounds) that start off as washed-rind cheeses, but are classified differently when aged. Beaufort, Comte, and Swiss Gruyere are just a few of examples that start off as washed-rind cheeses.

French Small Format Wheel Of Munster Cheese

American "Muenster" cheese is colored yellow with either a vegetable based coloring, a very mild Paprika, or Annatto - the orange-red food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree popular in cheesemaking. Same great color as the French version but without all the funky smells. There is no rind washing going on in the American version of Munster cheese. It's just machine-extruded, processed, rectangle-shaped, and melty. The only thing the coloring does is add to the visual appeal.

A Block of American Muenster Cheese

What does American "Muenster" Cheese taste like?

American "Muenster" cheese is a soft cheese that tastes like Monterey Jack without the subtle jack bite.

What does washed-rind cheese mean?

"Washed-rind" literally means washing the outside of the cheese, the "rind", with a brine or salt-water wash. This process stirs bacteria into action which further breaks down the curds into liquid silk and colors the rind a deep yellow. It also results in the unique aroma of the cheese.

What was the first date Munster Cheese was produced?

Originally, "Munster" cheese was made by monks of the Benedictine Abbey of the Munster Valley in the Alsace region of France that borders Germany. Early religious orders were carried out by the monks. Some historians believe this helped the French master the art of washed-rind cheese making in the middle ages. To this day, after much competition from outsiders, French AOC Munster is considered by many to be the best.

How did "Munster" cheese get its name?

The name Munster actually has a dual meaning.  The first which comes from where the cheese was made, in Münster, Germany.

The second meaning is lesser known that monks made the Munster Cheese in the monasteries of Münster, which, in latin, monasterium, translates to Münster.

How difficult is "real" munster cheese to obtain in the US?

It is difficult to find real French Munster in the U.S. When you find it, it will have been made from pasteurized milk due to U.S. regulations, so, in truth, that would not be a true French A.O.C., unpasteurized Munster, but still a close alternative. However, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in France, I highly recommend this cheese.

French Large Format Wheel of Munster Cheese

How many calories are in Munster Cheese?

Since Munster is made from whole milk, it's going to be a little higher in fat content. One ounce of Munster cheese has about 8.4g fat, .31g carbs, 6.5g protein, and has 110 calories in it.

What's the best thing to cook with Muenster cheese?

Anything that is melty. Grilled ham and muenster cheese sandwiches are very popular. The French put Munster cheese over boiled potatoes.

What's the best wine to pair with Muenster Cheese?

Whether you are enjoying American Muenster Cheese or French AOC Munster, a light-bodied white wine would be best suited. An Alsace Riesling, French Vouvray, or Gewurztraminer would be great choices.

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