Liederkranz cheese

Liederkranz cheese

In spite of its German-sounding name, Liederkranz cheese was a United States innovation, a recreation of Limburger cheese that was subtly different because the bacterial culture that ripened it was not the same. Liederkranz is an extinct cheese.

Like almost every American cheese, Liederkranz was a cow's milk cheese, with an edible pale yellow-orange tan crust, and a semisoft, pale interior with a mildly pungent flavor and distinct aroma that could become unpleasantly ammonia-like if aged incorrectly. Liederkranz was created in 1891 by Emil Frey (1867–1951), a young Swiss cheesemaker in Monroe, New York, who created Velveeta there in 1923. (Philadelphia Cream Cheese was invented in another town of Orange County, New York.) Frey named the cheese after a local singing society, a Liederkranz Club ("wreath of song"), perhaps the famous one in New York, or perhaps really just on a whim for its Germanic sound.

The Monroe Cheese Company, the original source of Liederkranz, passed to new ownership, but Emil Frey stayed on and followed Liederkranz production to Van Wert, Ohio, in 1926. In 1929 the company was sold to the Borden Company. Frey retired in 1938.

At the end of 1981, after a fire damaged its Van Wert plant, Borden terminated its natural cheese lines in favor of "processed cheese". A few months later the Fisher Cheese Company purchased the Van Wert plant and began to produce Liederkranz. In 1985 bacterial contamination of a batch of Liederkranz and several other cheeses induced Fisher to withdraw Liederkranz from the market, selling the franchise and the bacterial culture to Beatrice Foods and the New Zealand Dairy Board. That was the last batch of Liederkranz to be made.

The unique bacterial culture for making Liederkranz is rumored to have been kept alive.

Bayrisher Bergsteiger Kase, ("Bavarian Mountain Climbers Cheese") inspired by Liederkranz, is a soft mellow limburger type cheese. Both have the delicate aroma of aged limburger, however it has the characteristic of a mild limburger.It was originated by Leo Kutter, operated a small limburger cheese factory for Hasselbeck Cheese Co. a division of Borden Foods in Buffalo NY. The Hasselbeck Company closed during the Second World War because of severe milk shortages. At that time Leo Kutter stated his own cheese factory. Several years ago Tony Kutter decided to develop a copy of this cheese to produce a mild limburger type which won a gold medal at the New York State Fair in 2003.

External links

* [ Food Facts and Trivia:] Liederkranz
* [ John Blackburn Hughes, "The sad demise of Liederkranz cheese"] : a fan site
* [ Monroe Cheese Festival website:] history of cheesemaking in Monroe
* [ Bayrisher Bergsteiger Kase] , a cheese inspired by Liederkranz.


*Laura Werlin, "The New American Cheese: Profiles of America's Great Cheesemakers"
*John Steele Gordon, "The Business of America" (includes a chapter on the rise and fall of liederkranz)

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