What Is Baby Swiss Cheese?

In our ranking of the best Swiss cheeses, a baby Swiss variety came in at number two. That’s pretty impressive for a baby cheese. It’s like when LeBron entered the NBA right out of high school; he was just a widdle baby! So, does baby Swiss actually stack up to the other cheeses the way LeBron does? Or is it more of the Kwame Brown of cheeses? (NBA fans know this is a great metaphor). Let’s find out what is baby Swiss and why it’s different from regular ol’ Swiss and lacey Swiss. 

What is baby Swiss cheese?

Baby Swiss cheese is part of the overarching Swiss cheese family. These cheeses all derive from the Emmental cheese that is native to Emmental, Switzerland. In the U.S., the word “Swiss” is used to describe the style of cheese, it does not mean that the cheese was actually made in Switzerland.

And for baby Swiss, this is an important distinction. The cheese was invented in 1960s Ohio by the Guggisberg Cheese Company. The “baby” descriptor is in reference to baby Swiss’s holes, which are much smaller compared to their big Swiss family counterparts. Baby Swiss cheese is mild, creamy, slightly nutty, and is great for melting.

What’s the difference between Swiss and baby Swiss?

I previously wrote about why Swiss cheese has holes, but the TL:DR is carbon dioxide gas released by bacteria. A standard Swiss cheese will have rather large holes; this is due to the amount of time the cheese is left to age. The longer the cheese sits, the more gas is released, the bigger the holes.

So, one of the biggest differences between Swiss and baby Swiss is aging. Baby Swiss can be aged for as little as 30 days, whereas standard Swiss will age for a few months to a few years, depending on the variety. 

The aging is also a big determining factor in a cheese’s flavor. The longer the aging, the more distinct flavor it will have. So, baby Swiss is milder in flavor than most of its Swiss cheese kin.

What’s the difference between lacey Swiss and baby Swiss?

At first glance, these two cheeses look the same. But their differences come down to their ingredients. 

Baby Swiss is traditionally made with whole milk, whereas lacey Swiss is made with low-fat milk. This affects the taste and consistency; lacey Swiss is softer and whiter, while also being a little stronger in flavor.

While both these cheeses have very tiny holes, the lacey Swiss, when sliced extremely thin, lives up to its name and looks like a piece of finely made lace. Think of it as the Dwayne Wade to baby Swiss’s LeBron James. Ok, that is the end of my basketball knowledge.

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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