Named after a Swiss village, Gruyère is a yellowish, hard cheese made in a large wheel shape from cow’s milk. On average, 105 US gallons (400 litres) of milk are used to make 1 wheel of the cheese.
The raw milk is heated to 93 F (34 C), at which point Rennet is added. When the milk has curdled, the curd is cooked to release the whey from it. The curds are then pressed into moulds, soaked in brine for 8 days, ripened for two months, then aged for anywhere from 3 to 12 months (American-made Gruyère will be aged 3 months; Swiss-made Gruyère is aged a minimum of 5 months.) The cheeses that are aged longer are a bit more expensive, but will taste better.
Gruyère Cheese is pale yellow or ivory-coloured, with small holes. The colour will vary depending on what season the cow’s milk was from. The rind is hard and grainy, ranging in colour from dark golden to brown. The cheese is semi-firm and pliable.
A more mature variety is aged for at least a year.
Compared to Emmenthal, the other really well-known Swiss cheese, Gruyère is higher in fat, has smaller holes and is aged longer.
Gruyère is not a protected name. North American manufacturers make versions, as do the French. The French version is often called Gruyère de Comté. The Swiss did begin sometime around 2003, however, to rename their cheese to “Le Gruyère.”
Try Emmenthal (Emmentaler), Jarlsberg, American Swiss or Raclette cheese
49% to 53% butterfat; American Gruyère is about 45% butterfat
1 cup, grated = 4 oz / 125g
Various tales date the cheese back to 1000 to 1200 AD.
The cheese is named for Gruyère valley in Fribourg canton; the main town in this area is also called Gruyères (with an “s”.)
Viggè, Cristina. Non chiamatelo Gruviera. Milanodabere. 10 September 2007.