From Holes to No Flavor: The Bland Truth About Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese may taste bland, especially the mass-produced varieties, due to insufficient aging. Authentic Swiss cheese, like Emmental, has a distinctive nutty flavor. Short aging periods prevent the development of a complex flavor profile. Factors like the fermentation process and the diet of the cows also influence the taste, but mass production often compromises these elements, leading to a less flavorful cheese.

Why is Swiss Cheese Said to Taste Like Nothing?

I do have to say that I was surprised to learn that so many people had this opinion of Swiss cheese, and that’s why I decided to investigate the problem.

I can detect a satisfying nutty, buttery flavor with even a hint of nutmeg.

But, in general, I am talking about Emmental, which is authentic Swiss cheese.

Unfortunately, there are many poor copies of this cheese that are mass-produced.

They are rarely aged long enough to allow any complex flavors to develop.

So, that could be your first solution, try and find traditional Swiss cheese and see if you notice the difference!

We also need to consider the fermentation process and what bacteria are added. 

With Swiss cheese, propionibacterium is often used, but this bacteria is more notorious for its bad smell than for adding flavor.

The bacteria ferment the carbohydrates in the milk and release lactic acid.

Importantly, these particular bacteria do not cause mold, and that could account for the lack of taste.

The final step responsible for adding intense flavor is the aging process.

As I mentioned earlier, Swiss cheese made the American way is mass-produced, and the manufacturers want it to be available for sale as soon as possible.

Therefore, to meet regulations, it has to be aged for four months but is then immediately shipped.

In effect, the aging process is halted before strong flavors can develop. 

How Does the Diet of Swiss Cows Affect the Flavor of the Cheese?

So, here’s an interesting idea, does the cow’s diet affect Swiss cheese?

It is known that different breeds produce different milk, with varied levels of proteins and fat. 

But realistically, when Swiss cheese is produced on an industrial level, the quality of the milk is probably not that high. 

But authentic, traditional Swiss cheese will be made from milk sourced from grass-fed cows, probably Brown Swiss cows.

Swiss farmers will also feed their cows with hay and roughage that is matched to the digestive system of dairy cattle.

This ensures higher-quality milk with increased polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Overall, the Swiss take their animal welfare very seriously.

Best Swiss Cheeses That Will Knock Your Socks Off

My Thoughts

  • Some people think that Swiss cheese tastes of nothing, but this may be the mass-produced variety
  • If there is no flavor to Swiss cheese it may not have been aged for long enough
  • Authentic Swiss cheese is known as Emmental and has a distinct nutty flavor 
  • The taste of the cheese may be directly related to the cow’s diet
  • Bacteria are introduced during the cheesemaking process but contribute to the odor rather than the taste

And you may wish to find out why Swiss cheese has holes!

How does your taste experience with Swiss cheese align with the observations in this article?

Let us know in the comments below!

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