We know you're as passionate about cheese as we are. That might leave you with questions. Here are the answers to a few of the most common questions we receive. If you don't see your answer here feel free to get in touch.
Q. How much milk is needed to make one pound of Beemster cheese?
A. Beemster cheeses are some of the richest, creamiest, and most flavorful you’ll experience and much of that comes down to the high-quality, nutrient-dense milk produced by Beemster cows. It takes more than 30 gallons of milk to make one wheel of Beemster XO with raw ingredients that good, it’s easy to taste the difference.
Q. What are the white dots that appear in Beemster’s aged cheeses?
A. The small white dots that appear in certain aged cheeses are protein crystals that develop naturally as cheese matures. In fact, crystals are a good indication that cheese was ripened properly. The crystals also lend pleasant crunchiness, mild saltiness, and just a touch of sweetness, which is why they’re prized by cheese connoisseurs.
Q. Why are there holes in Beemster cheeses?
A. Beemster is dedicated to traditional artisan cheesemaking and uses the very same methods in practice when the company was founded in 1901. During the cheesemaking process, cultures are added to the milk, producing carbon dioxide, which creates “bubbles” in the cheese that later collapse and form small holes.
Q. Is Beemster made using animal rennet?
A. Most Beemster cheeses are made using animal (cow) rennet, but our Beemster Premium Goat Cheese is made with microbial rennet.
Q. Are Beemster animals given artificial hormones?
A. No. Beemster cows and goats are never given artificial hormones.
Q. What about antibiotics? Are Beemster animals given antibiotics?
A. Beemster cows and goats are not fed antibiotics. If an animal is sick, she is treated by a vet and only a vet administers antibiotics. During treatment, she is removed from the herd and her milk is discarded. Following treatment, there is a waiting period and after that the milk is also tested for any antibiotic residue before it can once again enter the supply. We believe very strongly in raising our animals in safe, healthy and humane ways.
Q. Can I eat Beemster cheeses if I am lactose intolerant?
A. Most Beemster cheeses are naturally lactose-free. In the cheese making process, Beemster washes the curds multiple times, which removes most of the lactose. Any remaining lactose is completely broken down in the ripening stage, so cheese that’s aged four months or longer is lactose free. Beemster cheeses that are aged at least four months and thus lactose free include our Classic (also known as Aged), X-O (also known as Extra Aged), Paradiso, Royaal, Vlaskaas, Farmer’s Choice (also known as medium), and Beemster Lite. Please note that Beemster flavored cheeses, such as our Mustard, Pumpkin Spice, and Red Pepper varieties do contain lactose.
Q. Do Beemster cheeses contain gluten?
A. Beemster cheeses are completely gluten free.
Q. If cheese gets moldy, should I throw it away?
A. Most mold is harmless, but to be safe, cut away one inch of cheese on all sides of any cheese that has visible mold and be sure to use the remaining cheese as quickly as possible. For more on mold, read the FDA’s guide to food safety.
Q. Can I eat the rind of Beemster cheese?
A. Please don’t eat the rind! While it’s an essential part of the aging process and protects the cheese from dehydrating and molding. The rind partially consists of a plastic coating that isn’t digestible, so it’s best to always remove the rind before consuming Beemster cheeses.
Q. Where are Beemster cheeses produced?
A. Beemster cheeses are created in the Beemster Polder, a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the countryside of North Holland, just miles from the North Sea. The Polder is a former coastal lagoon that was reclaimed from under water in the early 17th century and filled with fields, canals, and dikes. The region’s slate-blue clay soil contains exceptional levels of nutrients and minerals, making its grasses ideal for grazing animals. Only Beemster cows and goats get to graze on these special grasses, which make their milk sweeter, richer, and creamier. We consider it the finest milk in the world.
Q. Are Beemster cheeses made with pasteurized milk?
A. Yes, all Beemster cheeses are made with pasteurized milk.