American cheese Modern American cheese is a type of processed cheese made from cheddar, colby, or similar cheeses. It is mild with a creamy and salty flavor, has a medium-firm consistency, and has a low melting point. It can be yellow or white in color; yellow American cheese is seasoned and colored with annatto. It originated in the 1910s and is a common staple in many American dishes. HistoryBritish colonists made cheddar cheese soon after their arrival in North America. By 1790, American-made cheddars were being exported back to England. According to Robert Carlton Brown, author of The Complete Book of Cheese, "The English called our imitation Yankee, or American, Cheddar, while here at home it was popularly known as yellow or store cheese". The lists the first known Oxford English Dictionary usage of "American cheese" as occurring in the Frankfort, Kentucky, newspaper in 1804. The next usage given is in 1860 by The Guardian of Freedom Charles Dickens in his series The . Uncommercial Traveller is a popular food in North America. After patenting a new method for manufacturing processed cheese in 1916, James L. Kraft began marketing it in the late 1910s, and the term "American cheese" rapidly began to refer to the processed variety instead of the traditional but more expensive cheddars also made and sold in the U.S. Legal definitionAccording to the Standards of Identity for Dairy Products, part of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, to be labeled "American cheese" a processed cheese is required to be manufactured from cheddar cheese, colby cheese, washed curd cheese, or granular cheese, or any mixture of two or more of these. The CFR also includes regulations for the manufacturing of processed American cheese. Because its manufacturing process differs from traditional cheeses, federal laws mandate that it be labeled as "process American cheese" if made from combining more than one cheese, or "process American cheese food" if dairy ingredients such as cream, milk, skim milk, buttermilk, cheese whey, or albumin from cheese whey are added. Manufacturing processTraditional cheese is ground, combined with emulsifying agents and other ingredients, mixed and heated until it forms a "melted homogeneous" mixture. To pasteurize it, the cheese mixture must be heated to a temperature of at least for a minimum of 30 seconds. Composition requirements of processed American cheese control the percentage of milkfat, moisture, salt and pH value in the final product, along with specifications for flavor, body and texture, color, and meltability. Processed American cheese is packaged in individually wrapped slices, as unwrapped slices sold in stacks, or in unsliced blocks. Individually wrapped slices are formed from processed cheese which solidifies only between the wrapping medium; these slices, sold as "singles", are typically the least like traditional cheese. Blocks of American cheese are more similar to traditional cheese, and are sliced to order at deli counters. Market sizeAmericans purchased about $2.77 billion worth of American cheese in 2018, but the popularity was falling, and, according to Bloomberg News, sales were projected to drop 1.6% in 2018. The average price for a pound of American was below $4 for the first time since 2011.
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