In the United States, the majority of cheese is aged in fixed-temperature, commercial refrigeration. While this does provide a very consistent product, it lacks the depth, complexity, and uniqueness in the natural aging found in old-style, cave-aged European cheeses.
On our farm, we have designed and built our own concrete, underground cave to age our Cheddar. Using natural, geothermal cooling energy found deep underground at the 44th parallel north, we save on operating costs such as daily fuel and regular maintenance.
As Cheddar ages under fixed-temperature, commercial refrigeration it slowly and predictably changes from a young, mild, creamy, soft Cheddar to the loss of all its creaminess to produce an older, sharper, acidic, firmer Cheddar that is well known for its ‘bite’ and crumbly texture.
By utilizing our proprietary ‘Oscillating Temperature©’ method, we are able to accelerate the aging process. This ‘by chance’ unique process we discovered creates a complex blend that starts off tasting like a creamy Cheddar that is followed by a strong, sharp, acidic, nutty after-bite that tends to remain well after the bite is consumed. This after-bite leaves the mouth needing and begging for more!
Our accelerated aging process produces a cheese that is often compared to Cheddar twice its age. This complex blend satisfies all variations of tastes. Those who don’t like the sharp bite, still get to enjoy creaminess without an over-powering bite. Those who enjoy sharp cheese get to enjoy a sharpness not usually found in a 3 to 4 year old Cheddar.
Long since thought to be a defect of Cheddar, crystal deposits give aged Cheddars that unique ‘crunchy’ texture that most customers find very appealing. These crystal deposits add even more to the hearty and complex flavor and texture. Formed from chemical and protein breakdowns, the Calcium Lactate crystal deposit “white spots” form mostly in the interior of our Cheddar and occasionally on the surface. Some customers might relate the crystal deposits as a sugary or salty crunch! Our accelerated aging process provides us with a usually high amount of internal crystal deposits that normally doesn’t occur until a minimum of 8-10+ years!