My next kitchen project is killer Reuben sandwiches with all of the components homemade (home corned beef, homemade sauerkraut, homemade dressing, fresh homemade sourdough rye bread). The one thing I will buy is the cheese, but I want it to be special enough to stand up to the rest of the ingredients.

To me, Reubens need the unique unwashed feet funk of Swiss cheese. Another cheese just wouldn't be right, but Swiss tends to be waxy. I want the flavor of Swiss, but the creamy melt of Gouda or Gruyere. Is there a Swiss Cheese commonly found in US grocery stores that would deliver on both counts?

  • Is it that hard to find gruyere or French analog comté in US grocery stores these days? I might be spoiled in Seattle, but one or both are in every store I've looked for it. – JasonTrue Dec 20 '14 at 6:21
  • @JasonTrue I want the flavor of the cheese famous for the holes. In my experience Gruyere doesn't have that funk. I don't know comté. – Jolenealaska Dec 20 '14 at 6:25
  • 1
    Gruyere is Swiss cheese, so why don't you use it? Or rather, how do you define "Swiss cheese" if not as one of the cheeses typically produced in Switzerland? – rumtscho Dec 20 '14 at 13:37
  • @rumtscho Specifically, this: womenonthefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Swiss-Cheese.jpg American for "Swiss Cheese". I'm looking for that funk, in a creamy/melty cheese. – Jolenealaska Dec 20 '14 at 15:53
  • @Jolenealaska if you are calling Emmentaler "Swiss cheese", then no, I don't think there is a creamy Emmentaler. It has a very specific fermentation process, I don't think you can harness it young. Even the very cheap and bad Emmentaler in the supermarket is not creamy, unlike, say, cheap young Gouda. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmental_cheese – rumtscho Dec 20 '14 at 16:44

I had to look this up. It turns out that Swiss cheese is an American term for what Europeans call Emmentaler cheese.

This cheese is characterized by the large holes created late in the fermentation process. As Wikipedia mentions, the byproducts of its special fermentation, acetate and propionic acid, give it its typical taste. This means that you can't harvest it early when it's still soft and creamy - if you do, it won't have the holes or the taste. So, there is no creamy variation with the same taste. To confirm that, even the cheapest versions are quite firm and non-melty, as opposed to other cheap supermarket versions of semihard cheeses, which are very young and soft.

If you want funk, you can use a soft cheese with a funk. A Tomme de Savoie, or a semihard or soft member of the red mould family, for example Tilsiter or even Limburger, will give you lots of odor. I don't know if they are exported to the US, but if you ask the cheesemonger for a substitute, they will help you easily, I hope.

The other possibility is to process Emmentaler with gelatine in the Kenji way, http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/09/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-super-melty-cheese-slices-like-american.html As any processed cheese, it melts perfectly.

  • 1
    I hadn't seen that Serious Eats thing. I am going to the fancy cheese place in town to pick their funkiest cheese with the right kind of funk, and do the Kenji thing. That way, even the cheese on these sandwiches can be called "homemade" in a way. Ultimately, it will be a blog post. – Jolenealaska Dec 20 '14 at 20:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.