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Home / Dan's Dairy Diary / What’s the Difference – White Cheddar vs. Yellow Cheddar?

What’s the Difference – White Cheddar vs. Yellow Cheddar?

The short answer is one is yellow and the other is white! The longer answer – the yellow cheddar made at Young’s has an all-natural vegetable food coloring called annatto added during production. Annatto, from the seeds of the achiote tree, is very, very yellowish-orange and takes the creamy white natural color of the milk to the yellowish-orange we are used to seeing on cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, omelets and salads.

We sell very little of the yellow cheddar, though we plan to make 9,000 pounds this year! Almost all of the yellow cheddar we produce goes on cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, omelets, and salads produced in our kitchens.

The white cheddar we make is sold at retail in either of our restaurants for use at home. As it ages, the flavor and texture change – so we sell it under different names as it gets sharper – Jersey Girl is our mildest cheddar cheese at about 120-150 days old. Red Barn Cheddar is our medium cheddar and is about 9 months old. Toreador Cheddar (named after a prize winning bull we had on the farm in the 1970’s) is our sharp cheddar, aged a year to 18 months. And finally, our sharpest cheddar is 2-year+ Cheddar. We also have two flavors of smoked cheddar – apple wood smoked and oak barrel smoked. The white cheddar cheeses will vary a bit on color – it depends on the time of year and how much fresh grass the cows are eating!

There is no difference in taste when comparing white and yellow cheddar of the same age* – the only difference is the annatto food coloring. However – the expression “we eat with our eyes” is very true. We are so used to seeing yellow cheese on our cheeseburgers and grilled cheese that somehow white cheese just doesn’t look right on a cheeseburger or grilled cheese sandwich – and that does affect taste, or at least our perception of taste!

The only other cheese we use annatto is Colby – another traditionally yellow cheese.

Meanwhile – enjoy all our Farmstead Cheeses – made with all-natural ingredients from milk produced on our farm by our friendly Jersey cows. Moo!

*Annatto does have a slightly nutty, sweet peppery taste if you taste it by itself – but we use so little of it – a few tablespoons in a 200-pound batch of cheese – that it doesn’t seem to impart any taste in the cheese that we can detect.

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