American Cheese

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Double Chili Cheeseburger
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/17 13:08:35 (permalink)
Searching for a five pound unsliced loaf of "Kraft American Yellow Cheese Loaf" was one of my first quests around 1987. Back in the 50's in the NYC Metro area, the predominant "American Cheese" you saw at deli counters and diners was Kraft American Yellow Cheese Loaf, unsliced. It was available in both white and yellow and stiff, as PNWCHEF noted. It did not keep long; it got hard right away as opposed to the presliced stuff they sell today. I really didn't notice any difference between the yellow and white versions. I remember hearing some scuttlebutt that it was for appearance purposes only. As was mentioned by others, the American cheese back then was a way the goverment got rid of surplus milk during the glory days of farm price supports. Then Kraft disappeared, to be replaced with brands like Starfield, Dorman's, Borden's, Land O' Lakes, New Yorker, supermarket house brands (generally terrible), and later private labeled (but not made by) Boar's Head, Dietz and Watson, Thumann's etc. This product always had a different mouth feel from any other so-called American cheese, including pre-sliced five pound loaves and anything packaged in the supermarket dairy case and called American Cheese. I did find the Kraft loaves from time-to-time in the New York area and also around the country after 1987, but Kraft seemed to have changed their formula. Currently, Boar's Head, and Dietz & Watson seem the closest to what I remember from the 50's and 60's. I don't know why Kraft disappeared from the NYC Metro area, but here are a few UPC numbers of the product. I was unable to find a description of the third product:
21000-01395  Yellow
21000-01396  White
21000-60001   ???
These may be sold through Kraft's supermarket sales operation and not their foodservice operation. Kraft's websites are not comprehensive; a wholesaler or foodservice distributor may be of help.
I also found a listing for a one pound package (21000-61676), but you have to buy in bulk:
I'd appreciate it if anyone who spots these items in their local food outlets tells me where they are.
EDIT: I removed Land O'Lakes name from current cheese since I see it is now a "product" (no longer meets federal labeling spec for American Cheese) made with such good stuff as Milk Protein Concentrate and Buttermilk.
As with pizza cheeses, I don't think restaurants were able to buy much pre-shredded cheese back then, they shredded it themselves.
post edited by David_NYC - 2011/03/17 13:43:56
Filet Mignon
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/17 13:29:42 (permalink)
 items From my food service order guide
Cheese Amer Shred Restrict melt 4-5#
Cheese American white loaf 1- 5#
Cheese American cheese Proc Shredded 4-5#
Cheese American w/ jalp extra melt 6-5#
Double Chili Cheeseburger
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/20 04:19:38 (permalink)

We called cheese that came from a wheel "hoop" cheese. I miss the days where you could find it on  convenience store counters with a glass cover over it.  You just cut what you wanted, the clerk wrapped it in wax paper.  Good stuff. Was it just us West Virginians??

i just had a slice of hoop cheese yesterday, most gas stations around here have a basket by the register, and most of the baskets are hard to keep filled up !!
i was raised on hoop cheese, best to let it sit on the counter, at room temps, no worries of going bad, it wont last that long !
little mom and pop store up the road from me has it in sandwich size slices, about a 1/4" thick, now that makes for a hellacious cheeseburger
ann peeples
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/20 07:32:38 (permalink)
I agree, BackAlley, NC hoop cheese is fantastic. Had my first taste of it at a little corner store in Raleigh a few years back, and I was hooked. Rivals some of Wisconsin's best.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/29 15:14:32 (permalink)
For what it's worth, I did find Land-O-Lakes American Cheese (both yellow and white) in 5 lb. blocks at the Wal-Mart Deli yesterday.  I don't know what the texture is like, but I'll buy some when I have to shred cheese for kids that don't like cheddar. 
Double Chili Cheeseburger
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/29 16:47:10 (permalink)
I like the convenience of the pre-wrapped slices (especially as unwrapped slices have a tendency to refuse into a single block). Kraft, for a while, had Pasteurized Process American Cheese individually wrapped, which I bought, but Pasteurized Process American Cheese Food is still fine. Unfortunately, just about everybody has switched to Pasteurized Processed American Cheese PRODUCT, which I find to be definitely inferior (and, apparently, has no FDA definition, unlike pp cheese and pp cheese food).

Buddy Dek
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/29 17:48:10 (permalink)
This Kraft Cheese Powder is also available from San Francisco Herb Co. by the lb. This is a very handy flavoring  to enhance homemade mac & cheese.  The only drawback is the company requires a $30 min order plus shipping. See attached thread:
The american cheese I remember as a child was yellow, brittle, some what dry tasting and very tasty on a grilled cheese sandwich regardless of the thickness of the slices.                                             Buddy
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/29 18:45:15 (permalink)
I prefer Boar's Head brand (white) American cheese sliced double thick for my burgers and grilled cheeses sandwiches.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
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Re:American Cheese 2011/03/29 19:16:37 (permalink)
Great idea, Twinwillow.  I didn't even think of Boar's Head.  You're right, they make both white and yellow American in blocks.  Maybe they have it at Publix.
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