About Emmenthal Edit

Emmenthal, Emmentaler, Emmenthaler, or Emmental cheese is a Swiss cheese. It is sometimes known as Swiss cheese in the US, although Swiss cheese does not imply Emmenthal.

The cheese originally comes from the Emme valley in the canton of Bern. Unlike other cheese varieties, the denomination "Emmenthal" is not protected. Hence, Emmenthal of other origin, especially from France and Bavaria, is widely available. Even Finland is an exporter of Emmenthal.

Emmenthal is a yellow, medium-hard cheese, with characteristic large holes. It has a piquant, but not really sharp taste. Three types of bacteria are used in the production of Emmenhtal, Streptococcus thermophilis, Lactobacillus, and Propionibacter shermani. In the late stage of cheese production, P. shermani consumes the lactic acid excreted by the other bacteria, and releases carbon dioxide gas, which slowly forms the bubbles that make holes.

It features prominently in the cuisine of the United States where it is a standard cheese for use in the preparation of sandwiches, albeit often substituted by cheaper cheese.

In cooking, it is often put on top of gratins, dishes which are then put in the oven to let the cheese melt and become golden-brown and crusty.

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