Even in the context of American innovation, its unusual to find a family that founded a highly successful washing machine company also pioneered a legendary cheesemaking facility. However, this is precisely what the Maytag family achieved in the space of one hundred years.
Frederick Maytag, the son of German immigrants, settled in Iowa in the 1860’s and, after finding success in establishing a farm implement company, designed a washing machine that would eventually catapult the company to fame and fortune. Frederick’s son, Elmer, was an entirely different character, finding mcuh more satisfaction in establishing a herd of award winning Holstein-Friesian cows. However, Elmer’s son Frederick II, inherited both the farm and his grandfather’s business acumen establishing Maytag cheese production in 1941.
Cow’s milk for production is sourced from the farm’s own herd and is homogenized prior to cheesemaking. It is then heated, cultures and rennet added and, after the curd has formed, cut into cubes in the vat.
The whey is then drained off and the remaining curds are mixed with a blue mold powder before being scooped into hoops and pressed. After unmolding, the young cheeses are soaked in a brine solution for several hours before being transferred to the maturing caves fo further aging. The caves are located close by, dug into the hillside behind the cheesemaking room.
During the four to six month aging process, wheels are pierced to allow air into the interior. The enzymes and bacteria react with the air, allowing for the development of the blue veins throughout the cheese.
Prior to sale and shipping, each wheel is hand scraped to remove any surface mold before being wrapped in silver foil.
The texture of Maytag Blue is firm, moist and slightly crumbly with an ivory colored paste shot through with sapphire colored blue veins.
Flavors are rich and cream-like, with an assertive salty note and a savory finish.