What Makes Swiss Holey?

So, you want to know the “hole” story, huh?

How Swiss cheese gets its holes is one of those questions that seems to stump a lot of people.

Your parents probably told you that hungry mice chewed holes through the cheese, didn’t they? That’s definitely one we’ve heard before. They probably told you that because they didn’t know the real answer – or maybe they thought the idea of a cute little mouse was better than explaining the real answer to you.

Because when you get down to it, the real answer to what makes Swiss holey is the bacteria that turns milk into cheese.

Carbon dioxide given off by the bacteria used to make Swiss cheese creates the air bubbles in the process, resulting in those holes that we refer to in the industry as “eyes.” The size of the eyes does not have an effect on the taste of the cheese and can be controlled through temperature, storage time and acidity levels.

Baby Swiss isn’t aged very long, so the holes are quite small and the cheese has a milder flavor. Traditional Swiss is aged for a minimum of 60 days. We are careful to inspect the size of the holes to be sure that they are within the FDA requirement.

You may have heard in the news recently about the mystery of the disappearing holes in Swiss cheese.

Don’t worry, those famous holes aren’t going anywhere. We’ve got our cheese-making process down to a science here at Brewster Cheese, and know to control the hole size while making delicious Swiss cheese of all varieties. The science behind why there may be less holes isn’t any different from what had been known about the process, it’s just a different type of bacteria.

If you’re like us, you hate to give up any part of your beloved Swiss cheese for all of the holes. But trust us, those holes help to create the intricate flavors you love.