Artisanal Cheddar

July 9, 2013 - www.americastestkitchen.com

Your average block of American cheddar doesn’t resemble the complex-tasting farmhouse-style wheels that have been produced in England for centuries, but that hasn’t stopped shoppers from snatching it up. In 2010, cheddar accounted for more than 30 percent of the cheese produced in this country, with supermarket shelves stocking more than 3 billion pounds of the shrink-wrapped, smooth-textured blocks—all of which helps explain why it’s the variety you’re most likely to see melted on a burger or oozing from a grilled cheese. Whether cheddar boasts distinct, nuanced flavors has never mattered much; most people seem to think cheddar is supposed to be a plain-Jane cheese.

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Milk Fed

July 9, 2013 - www.saveur.com

One summer night a few years ago in Omaha, Nebraska, I had a local cheese awakening. It happened at a picnic during outdoor Shakespeare at Elmwood Park. There were plenty of snacks, but one rose above the rest: quark, a young, soft, European-style cheese made from organic grass-fed cows' milk an hour away in Raymond, Nebraska. Tangy, bright, and, as I later discovered, as tasty baked into cheesecake as it is spread on a baguette, it was my introduction to a new generation of homegrown cheeses.

Apparently at one time, this part of the country produced nearly half of America's dairy supply. But over the past decade, as the price of milk see-sawed, farmers turned to cheese making to stabilize their income. This practical endeavor evolved into an artisanal one when it became clear that, owing to the area's noted plant diversity, the products possessed a rich grassland flavor unique among American cheeses.

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A Cool Breeze

February 22, 2013 - TheCulturedCaveman.blogspot.com

So there I was, standing at the cheese counter in my local grocery store, contemplating what type of cheese should be the subject of my first review. Should it be a nice bloomy triple crème, or maybe a nice buttery washed rind. I could easily turn to a tangy blue, or maybe a sharp hard cheese like cheddar or aged provolone. I had no expectations of finding a well-crafted artisanal cheese in a chain supermarket, but then I saw it.

Nestled among the Cabots and store brand cheddar cheeses, a bright yellow label stood out from the rest of the over the top attempts at advertising. It simply read “Milk produced on small family farms”. I thought to myself, this might be worth checking into, and I picked up the closest block to find the producer. The cheese was called “Prairie Breeze”, and the label pronounced that is was produced by the Milton Creamery. There was a website in the border of the label so I decided it was worth checking out.

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Cook's Illustrated: Prairie Breeze Wins Artisanal Cheddar Taste Test

July 1, 2012 - CooksIllustrated.com

Recommendation Status
Highly Recommended

This cheese was one of the youngest in the lineup, but thanks to an extra cocktail of bacterial cultures, it wowed tasters with “deeply rich,” “buttery” flavors and a “sweet” finish that reminded some of “pineapple.” It boasted a “crumbly” yet “creamy” texture reminiscent of “young Parmesan.”

The Full Review
Your average block of American cheddar doesn’t resemble the complex-tasting farmhouse-style wheels that have been produced in England for centuries, but that hasn’t stopped shoppers from snatching it up. In 2010, cheddar accounted for more than 30 percent of the cheese produced in this country, with supermarket shelves stocking more than 3 billion pounds of the shrink-wrapped, smooth-textured blocks—all of which helps explain why it’s the variety you’re most likely to see melted on a burger or oozing from a grilled cheese. Whether cheddar boasts distinct, nuanced flavors has never mattered much; most people seem to think cheddar is supposed to be a plain-Jane cheese.

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Fondue Find: Milton Creamery’s Prairie Rose, Iowa

December 20, 2011 - CheeseAndChampagne.com

Y’all know that Colleen and I love a good fondue, especially around the holidays. Back when I still lived in Washington, D.C., we would celebrate New Year’s Eve by rounding up a bunch of fondue pots and have cheese fondue, along with a lot of wine. We were just at the beginning of our cheese obsession then, so I don’t remember if we used any special cheeses in our fondue, but we’ve stepped up our game considerably since then. I’m always on the lookout for good fondue cheeses and found a newbie that would make an excellent addition to my fondue pot – Prairie Rose by Milton Creamery.

The same Iowa farmers who make the spectacular Prairie Breeze cheddar recently have brought this cheese to market, and it’s a keeper.

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31 DAYS OF AMERICAN ARTISANS: MILTON CREAMERY

October 18, 2011 - PastoralArtisan.com

“When customers ask me what my favorite cheese is, I tell them that choosing one would be like choosing a favorite child. In truth, I am restraining myself from blurting out the name of this beautiful cheddar.

It’s kind of like my dirty little secret. After all, it’s just cheddar; it’s not raw, it’s not cloth-bound, it’s not even farms tead! It is straight-up American block-cheddar, left to age in its own little vacuum with nary an ambient influence around. But it is magnificent. It crumbles into succulent morsels that become sweet and creamy on the tongue as tangy tropical fruits dance along to the low, nutty notes that coat the mouth and leave you wanting more. The cheese is simple but complex; easy to eat, but leaves room to ponder; great on its own, but totally versatile and utilitarian.”

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