Maytag Blue Cheese hails from Newton, Iowa, in central Iowa. The cheese is made from cow’s milk, with a vegetarian Rennet and Penicillium roqueforti mould added. It’s made in 4 pound (1.8 kg) cylinders that have long holes punched in them with needles to allow air to get inside to help the mould to develop. It’s then aged in vaults beneath Newton for about 6 months.
This is a mild blue cheese with a bit of a lemony tang to it. The texture is moist and crumbly.
It takes about 100 pounds (45 kg) of milk to make 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of the cheese.
The company turns out about 600 wheels of cheese a day.
1 cup, crumbled = 1/4 pound = 115g
Maytag Blue Cheese was created by Frederick L. Maytag II and his brother Robert Maytag in Iowa. The first batch was produced on 11 Oct 1941.
Their grandfather, Frederick, had invented the washing machine. Their father, E.H. (Elmer Henry) Maytag, had started working at their grandfather’s company in 1902 and become the Maytag president in 1926. E.H. had started a dairy farm as a hobby in 1919, raising Holstein cows. During the 1920s and 1930s, E.H. sold bottled milk and cream from that farm for delivery. He died in 1940.
Frederick II and Robert wanted to turn the dairy into more than just a hobby business, and so were looking for a product that could turn a definite profit.
In 1941, food scientists at Iowa State University developed a process for making blue cheese from homogenized milk (as opposed to Roquefort, which is made with unpasteurized sheep’s milk.) The university had patented the process, but the Maytag brothers struck a deal with the university to use it.
The two brothers originally used the milk from their father’s herd for the cheese, but now the milk comes from neighbouring herds.
Later, Frederick’s son (Frederick III, aka Fritz) would go on to start the Anchor Steam Brewery.
In Newton, there was a Maytag appliance factory. Nearby is the Maytag Blue Cheese factory just outside Newton, a quarter of a mile (400 metres) from the appliance factory. When Maytag was bought out by Whirlpool, the appliance factory in Newton was shut down. And, though owned by Maytag family members, the cheese factory never had a business connection with the appliance business. As of 2009, the cheese factory is still a family owned small business.
Maytag, Ken. Co-chairman, Maytag Blue Cheese. Email to CooksInfo.com. 14 June 2009.