Maytag Blue Cheese: The Story of an American Cheese Legacy

The narrative of Maytag Blue Cheese is not merely a tale of culinary excellence but a reflection of an unwavering commitment to quality and tradition in American cheese-making. Since its inception in 1941, Maytag Dairy Farms has navigated the complexities of producing an artisanal blue cheese that stands apart in flavor and texture. This journey, marked by collaboration with Iowa State University microbiologists and underscored by a dedication to craftsmanship without reliance on traditional advertising, sets the stage for a discussion on how Maytag Blue Cheese has emerged as an iconic symbol in the American cheese legacy. What unfolds is a story that encapsulates innovation, tradition, and the unyielding passion of a family dedicated to excellence, inviting one to explore the deeper facets of this enduring legacy.

Key Takeaways

  • Maytag Blue Cheese is a product of artisanal craftsmanship, rooted in the Maytag family's dairy farming heritage since 1941.
  • The cheese is cave-aged and hand-wrapped, showcasing a commitment to quality and traditional cheese-making techniques.
  • It has earned accolades such as the Best Hard Blue cheese at the 2005 World Cheese Awards, highlighting its excellence in the cheese industry.
  • Maytag Blue Cheese inspires culinary creativity, serving as a versatile ingredient that enhances a wide range of dishes.

The Origins of Maytag Blue

The inception of Maytag Blue Cheese in 1941 by Frederick Louis Maytag II and his brother Robert marked a significant milestone in the American cheese industry, leveraging a unique blend of innovation and tradition. This venture into the world of dairy by the Maytag family, building on the legacy of their grandfather Elmer Henry Maytag's establishment of a prize herd of Holstein cattle, was a sign of their dedication to quality and excellence. Maytag Blue Cheese quickly became a signature product of Maytag Dairy Farms, embodying the rich heritage and meticulous care in its production process.

Despite its luxurious reputation, Maytag Blue Cheese's journey was marked by resilience and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards, even in the face of challenges such as the 2016 recalls due to possible contamination concerns. This episode, while a momentary setback, underscored Maytag Dairy Farms' unwavering dedication to safety and quality. The successful resumption of production and sales in 2016 and 2017, respectively, reaffirmed the enduring legacy of Maytag Blue Cheese as a cornerstone of American artisanal cheese-making, cherished by connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts alike for its bold, distinctive flavor and creamy texture.

Crafting the Cheese

Delving into the artistry behind Maytag Blue Cheese, it becomes evident that the cheese-making process is both an intricate craft and a demonstration of the cheesemakers' dedication to quality. This dedication is rooted in a tradition that transforms fresh Holstein milk, sourced from local Iowa dairy farms, into an artisanal masterpiece. The crafting of Maytag Blue Cheese at Maytag Dairy Farms is characterized by several key steps:

  1. Milk Sourcing and Preparation: The process begins with fresh, high-quality Holstein milk, carefully selected from local farms to guarantee the cheese's foundational richness and depth.
  2. Cave Aging and Development: Expert cheesemakers meticulously monitor conditions within specially designed caves, where the cheese develops its signature bloomy rind and striking blue veining, a declaration to the artisanal care invested in each batch.
  3. Packaging and Preservation: Once aged to perfection, the cheese is hand-wrapped in signature foil packaging, a critical step to maintain its distinctive taste and quality for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.

The craftsmanship of Maytag Blue Cheese, with its complex flavors and textures, underscores the commitment of Maytag Dairy Farms to producing a handcrafted, artisanal product. This dedication to quality and tradition ensures that each piece of cheese embodies the expert cheesemakers' passion, making it a revered addition to any culinary experience.

Nutritional Profile

Analyzing the nutritional profile of Maytag Blue Cheese reveals a rich tapestry of flavors, balanced by a considerable content of fats and proteins, making it a robust addition to a variety of culinary creations. With 100 calories per 1oz serving, 73 of which come from fat, this cheese presents a dense energy source that's both flavorful and satisfying. Its total fat content of 8g, including 5g of saturated fat, underscores its rich, creamy texture that enhances any dish it graces.

Moreover, the provision of 6g of protein per serving not only contributes to its delectable taste but also adds an important nutritional component, making it a worthwhile indulgence for those looking to enrich their diet with high-quality protein sources. However, the presence of 21mg of cholesterol and 395mg of sodium per serving necessitates mindful consumption, especially for individuals with dietary restrictions pertaining to these elements.

Celebrated Achievements

Having explored the nutritional landscape of Maytag Blue Cheese, attention now shifts to its celebrated achievements, marking it as a distinguished presence in the cheese-making industry. This legacy, built on a foundation of commitment and innovation, showcases the exemplary journey of Maytag Dairy Farms in the domain of world-class cheese production.

  1. Collaboration with Iowa State University: The inception of American blue cheese was not a mere chance but a calculated move by Fred Maytag II. His collaboration with Iowa State University brought a unique cheese variant to the American table, revolutionizing cheese consumption and setting a high standard for artisanal cheese production in the United States.
  2. Innovative Sales Strategy: The introduction of Maytag Blue Cheese in 1941, wrapped in its signature foil, was a game-changer. This not only preserved the cheese's quality but also elevated its market presence, showcasing Maytag Dairy Farms' commitment to quality and innovation.
  3. Recognition at the 2005 World Cheese Awards****: The crowning achievement came when Maytag Blue Cheese was awarded the Best Hard Blue cheese. This accolade at the prestigious 2005 World Cheese Awards underlines the legacy and the exceptional quality that Maytag Dairy Farms brings to the table, solidifying its status as a producer of world-class cheese.

Culinary Inspirations

Maytag Blue Cheese, with its robust and tangy flavor profile, serves as a dynamic catalyst for culinary innovation, inspiring chefs and home cooks alike to explore a myriad of gastronomic possibilities. This versatile ingredient, hailing from the renowned Maytag Dairy Farms, is not only a tribute to an enduring cheese legacy but also a beacon of culinary inspirations. Its bold flavor profile and creamy texture make it an indispensable ally in the kitchen, transforming ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones.

Food enthusiasts relish the opportunity to incorporate Maytag Blue Cheese into a variety of culinary creations. From the simplicity of dressings and dips to the complexity of main dishes and appetizers, its tangy taste and unique recipes elevate the dining experience. The cheese pairs exceptionally well with fruits like pears and apples, adding a delightful contrast, and with nuts such as walnuts and pecans, creating savory and sweet flavor combinations that are both innovative and traditional.

Maytag Blue Cheese is more than just a food item; it's a source of inspiration for those who aspire to serve others not only great meals but memorable culinary experiences. Its legacy in the kitchen continues to inspire unique recipes and bold flavor explorations, making it a cherished ingredient among food enthusiasts worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Maytag Blue Cheese Different?

Maytag Blue Cheese distinguishes itself through its artisanal process, cave aging, and the use of local milk, resulting in a tangy flavor, unique mold, and creamy texture, emblematic of its American origin and regional specialty.

Is Maytag Blue Cheese Related to Maytag Appliances?

Maytag Blue Cheese, despite sharing the Maytag name, diverges markedly from Maytag appliances in history, family origins, and product focus. Their unique inception, entrepreneurial spirit, and distinct brand evolution underscore the absence of direct relation.

Is Maytag Blue Cheese Good?

Maytag Blue Cheese, with its roots deeply entwined in American culinary tradition, offers a robust flavor profile and versatile pairings. Its award-winning history, meticulous aging techniques, and nutritional benefits underscore its unparalleled quality in cheese craftsmanship.

How Long Does Maytag Blue Cheese Last?

Maytag Blue Cheese, when stored correctly in the refrigerator with proper packaging, lasts 3-4 weeks. Avoid freezing to maintain taste quality. Monitor for mold growth and heed expiration signs to mitigate health risks.


To sum up, Maytag Blue Cheese epitomizes the pinnacle of American artisanal cheesemaking, a legacy meticulously crafted since 1941. Its unique production process, perfected over decades, underscores the commitment to quality and tradition. An interesting statistic that captures the essence of Maytag's success is its victory at the 2005 World Cheese Awards, a proof of its unparalleled excellence and global recognition. This accolade not only celebrates Maytag Blue Cheese's rich flavor and craftsmanship but also solidifies its status as an iconic American cheese legacy.

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