Yes, American Cheese IS Real Cheese

There are many incredible cheeses produced in America, including some of the finest in the world, but they’re not “American cheese.” While many people refer to the individual slices of American cheese as “processed cheese,” it must be noted that all cheese is processed. It’s a man-made product that doesn’t exist in nature. Heating, curdling, pressing, inoculating, aging…..those are all processes. Where American cheese differs is that once the cheese is made, it’s blended with a few other ingredients to alter its texture and flavor. The details of these processes are what determines the labeling on the package, and those can be as simple as blending it with another cheese or as complex as melting it with additional whey, milk proteins, and emulsifying salts. That’s what allows American cheese to melt without breaking or turning greasy the way traditional cheeses do, which makes it the gold standard for cheeseburgers. The process itself was invented in Switzerland in an effort to reduce cheese waste. Scraps from various batches of cheese could be melted together and formed into a new, delicious product. In 1916, Canadian-American entrepreneur and cheese salesman James Kraft perfected the technique in the U.S., patented it, and started selling the very first processed American cheese. It soon became immensely popular due to its long shelf life and easy shipping.