Recently I met with a problem in choosing between Swiss Cheese or Gruyere for my baked mac n cheese recipe so that I can add a creamy liquid cheese to it. Besides the cost being one of my main concerns, I would also like to know which one is actually better for my dish. Here is my verdict after some research.
Most cheese labeled “Swiss” cheese will taste blander in general compared to an actual Swiss cheese like the Gruyere The main reason is that swiss cheese lacks fat and tends to be acrider and plastic in flavor while Gruyere is very nutty and possess various explosive umami flavors.
Read on to find out more about the background of both of these cheese and a detailed comparison of their characteristics.
Background of Swiss Cheese Vs Gruyere Cheese
In North America, Swiss cheese does not usually mean that it is from Switzerland. Rather, it means that this cheese is the homegrown kind inspired by Emmental, which is a cheese type that originates from Switzerland. Both versions of this cheese (the original and American) have some signature holes and a mild flavor.
Gruyere, on the other hand, is Swiss cheese meaning that it originates from Switzerland. However, this cheese is very different from the Emmental style Swiss cheese as it does not have holes compared to the Swiss kind.
American and authentic Emmental cheese are somehow similar to Gruyere cheese, especially when it comes to how they melt. So, it is possible to use them interchangeably when you are doing specific recipes.
Swiss And Gruyere Cheese Shared the Same Heritage
One thing that most people around the world do not know is that Emmental inspires American Swiss. Emmental is famous worldwide as it is made traditionally, thus making it very preferable. It is made from raw cow’s milk, formed into certain huge wheels that weigh about 160 pounds then aged in unique caves for around four months to even more than 14 months.
The cheese that is usually labeled Swiss in North America might be artisanal or even mass-produced and either young or aged. Also, unlike authentic Emmental, this cheese is made with pasteurized milk and not raw milk. In the United States, you can find Swiss cheese in two distinct forms; Lacy and Baby Swiss. They might vary in several ways. Therefore, you must do some research first before purchasing to ensure you get one that you will most likely love.
However, you can also buy both types and use them. That way, you get the best chance to determine how both taste like and their quality, thus allowing you to choose one that is best for you.
Gruyere, which is a very protected name in the European Union and Switzerland, originates from the Gruyere region in Western Switzerland, where people have been producing it for centuries now. Local regulations usually need farmers only to use local raw milk to produce their cheese. Also, these authorities insist that farmers should only use milk that is has been aged for about five months or more.
Gruyere cheese is produced in unique wheels of about 90 or even 50 pounds then matured in a cave or cellar for about five to 18 months. After being removed from the cave, it is brushed using a brine. Doing that results in a brownish, grainy rind. Most countries in the entire planet, including the United States, use the same method to produce Gruyere cheese and get almost similar results.
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Characteristics of Swiss And Gruyere Cheese
American Swiss and Gruyere cheese are very familiar in terms of flavor, texture, and appearance. Also, you can use them in the same culinary applications. However, there are some critical differences between Swiss and Gruyere cheese that you should look out for.
Both Gruyere and American Swiss cheese are pale yellow to ivory in color. One major thing that characterizes Swiss cheese is its holes, which are actually regulated in the United States. So, American Swiss cheese should have certain hole sizes, which are smaller compared to those of authentic Emmental.
For Gruyere cheese, it does not usually have any holes. However, you can find some cracks if the cheese is a little bit old. Gruyere cheese has a thin and brownish colored rind that you can actually eat even if it can be hard to chew. Unlike Gruyere cheese, Swiss cheese does not have a rind.
Gruyere and Swiss cheese can be quite hard, which is mostly a result of being pressed a lot during the production process. These two types are both firm and smooth to touch and do not crumble easily. Compared to authentic Emmental, American cheese is firmer. Also, both Swiss and Gruyere cheese are great at melting and turn oozy and soft without becoming grainy, rubbery, or even greasy.
Both Gruyere and Swiss cheeses have a nutty, mild, and slightly sweet flavor that becomes better and more intense as it continues to age more. In general, Gruyere cheese has a stronger flavor compared to Swiss. However, the flavor difference between these two is determined by the exact age. Typically, American Swiss cheese has a less intense flavor than Emmental. When it comes to the aroma, it becomes mild for both Gruyere and Swiss cheese as they age more.
4. American Swiss Vs. Gruyere Nutrition
American swiss and Gruyere cheese have almost the same nutritional profiles. Gruyere cheese has about 117 calories per ounce, while American swiss has around 112 calories per ounce.
Both of them have an average of 9 grams of fat per ounce. Gruyere cheese is higher in protein content compared to American Swiss. Gruyere contains 8.5 grams of protein per ounce, while American Swiss has about 7.7.
Also, Gruyere cheese contains more Potassium and Calcium compared to American Swiss. The only major and significant nutritional difference between these two is their Sodium level. Gruyere has around 202.8 milligrams of Sodium for each one, which is higher than Swiss’s. American Swiss contains 53.1 grams of Sodium per once.
5. Delicious Uses of Gruyere and American Swiss Cheese
Due to their similar characteristics, it is not a surprise that both American Swiss and Gruyere cheese have interchangeable applications are several aspects. So, you can enjoy both kinds of cheese, either cubed or sliced with some crackers or crusty bread.
You can also eat these cheeses with salads and even sandwiches, thus making it vital to have one or both of them in the kitchen. Doing that can allow you to enjoy a different experience every time since you can be interchanging them every day.
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Swiss cheese is usually a very classy ingredient in Cubano and Reuben sandwiches. Gruyere features in souffles, Croque monsieur, and even on top of traditional French onion soup.
You can try both Gruyere and American Swiss cheese in cheeseburgers, dips, gratins, omelets, and even in pasta dishes. Also, you can eat these cheeses with any baked goods like pinwheels, cheese straws, and scones.