When asked about the meaning of life the great sages replied, “Cheese is the meaning of life.” OK, you caught me, they didn’t say that. However, they could have, and been totally right. If you are lactose intolerant that statement will make you cry. NEWSFLASH. Did you know you can eat cheese with the least lactose content?
Cheese is one of those simple pleasures we just can’t live without. It is a unique experience all its own. Just saying “cheese,” puts a smile upon our face. Did you know that cheese even has its own holiday! Yes indeed, January 20th is National Cheese Lover’s Day. What better way is there to celebrate than to enjoy some gooey, delicious, lactose free cheese?
There are so many wonderful cheeses to choose from and of course, we want to enjoy them on a regular basis. The next paragraphs, I’m going to show you how to enjoy cheese even if you’re lactose intolerant. Saying yes to cheese is easier than ever.
What Cheese has the Least Lactose?
When we go to the deli counter and peer into the endless array of delicious cheese wedges we wonder what we can safely eat. As a rule of thumb, we want to substitute harder cheeses for the softer ones.
The softer cheeses still contain a lot of whey which means lots of lactose. In fact, it is the whey that makes them soft and elastic. If you have a hankering for some of the softer cheeses, it’s a good idea to make your own. We’ll explore more on cheese making later.
You can also take lactase pills before eating soft cheeses, but make sure it’s worth it. Because lactose pills are not free and if you take too little your stomach will let you know. It’s just safer to stick to the hard lactose free cheeses. Age too, is important. Once aged, it becomes naturally lactose free cheese.
Is this the Cheese with Least Lactose?
Has a strong, bold, and distinctly tangy taste. It has a pungent smell and comes in three main varieties: Gorgonzola, Stilton, and Roquefort. Stilton blue cheese has the least lactose of the blue cheese options. It is a great addition to salads and pasta dishes. Blue cheese may help you lose weight, especially belly fat. It is heart-healthy too, and it helps to populate the gut with the beneficial kinds of bacteria our body needs. Blue cheese is full of nutrients. It boasts 150mg of calcium and only contains around 0 – .7 grams of lactose per 1 oz. serving.
This is the prized, luxurious, ad rich flavor cheese from the Brie region of France. Derived from cow’s milk and given to French kings as tribute. Fully ripened Brie will have a soft, velvety interior texture, often softer than cream cheese. The soft interior part of the cheese wedge is the part you want to eat. Although, some people do eat the rind. Brie has a unique, creamy, mild taste that pairs well with apples, dried cranberries, fresh pomegranate, and figs. Pinot Noir is a great wine companion to Brie. It does contain lactose, but a nearly undetectable amount around 0 – 2%, due to its long aging process.
Cheddar Cheese – Low Lactose
This delicious English cheese is made from cow’s milk. It is clearly the world’s most popular cheese. The color ranges from white to pale yellow – unless color is added. The sharper and older the cheddar, the less lactose it will have. Below are the different kinds of cheddar.
- Mild Cheddar – Has a more docile and mellow flavor. Aged for about 2 – 3 months. It has a smooth texture, and a higher moisture content. It tends to melt better than it’s sharper siblings.
- Medium – Typically aged for about 3 months, it is creamy and flavorful, but without the bite. Mild and medium cheeses may still contain some lactose, around 0 – 2.1 %.
- Sharp Cheddar – Is a naturally lactose free cheese. Aged for more than 9 months so any remaining lactose will break down. As Cheddar ages over a period of 9 – 24 months, it becomes dyer, firmer, and crumbles well. It develops a balanced, full-bodied flavor, with a hint of sharp tang, while still maintaining its creaminess. Whole Foods offers a great sharp cheddar brand. However any brand will work from store brand to Kraft lactose free cheese, it’s worth buying. It’s my favorite and go cheddar cheese.
- Premium Extra Sharp – Aged for between two to five years this cheese is still creamy, but has a definite sharp bite to it. The higher the age, the bolder, more mature, and flavorful the taste. This is the cheese with least lactose. It makes a great companion to wine and beer.
Goat cheese is a highly nutritious delicacy. Perfect for crackers and sandwiches alike. Known for its creamy, spreadable quality. Young goat cheese is soft like butter. It’s easy to add many flavorful ingredients it. Aged goat cheese is firmer and tends to crumble. So you may be worrying is there lactose in goats cheese?
Is there Lactose in Goat’s Cheese?
No not really. Its lactose content is very low. Goat cheese is made with fermented goat’s milk, which also lowers the lactose content. When goat cheese is made, most of the lactose is separated out from the final product, which then has a very low lactose content. If you have mild lactose intolerance, you may still be able to enjoy this addictive cheese. Goat cheese has about .7 grams of lactose per 1 oz. serving.
Gouda – Low Lactose
Is a very nutritious Dutch cheese. Young Gouda has a soft, sweet, almost chewy texture. As with many cheeses, as it ages Gouda becomes harder. Like Cheddar, it will acquire a sharpness with crumbly characteristics. Gouda is great on sandwiches and has a fabulous taste. It contains around 0 – 2.2% lactose.
People with lactose intolerance should be able to tolerate it in small amounts. I use Gouda and Emmental cheese as substitutions at Panera Bread all the time because they are the cheeses with the least lactose on the menu.
Muenster – Very Low Lactose
Is one of those versatile cheeses that make any burger, grilled cheese sandwich, or flatbread pizza crazy good. It is a semi-soft, elastic, mellow cheese with a reddish edible rind. The great news is that it is relatively low in lactose, containing around 0 – 1.1%. It pairs beautifully with both red or white wine. On a serving platter, it goes well with grapes, pears, nuts, and apples.
Nutritional Yeast – No Lactose
Is a product derived from growing yeast. It’s dried, yellow flakes are rich in nutrients and are a welcome addition to salads, pasta, and pretty much anything you wish to sprinkle it on. This is because it is full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. It has a cheesy, nutty, salty flavor. If you have not yet discovered this product, it is worth investigating.
Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)
Is a beloved Italian cheese best known for its crowning presence upon spaghetti and other comforting Italian dishes. It is a hard cheese and is often grated finely or sliced into short thin strips. The flavor is a robust, sharp, nutty. It contains about 0 – 3.2% lactose. Be sure you to buy the wedge or block and NOT the shaker. Some may not have a bad reaction to the Parmesan shaker but if you’re lactose intolerance is like mine you’ll leave it alone and get the real lactose free cheese.
Provolone – Low Lactose
This delicious Italian cheese is the go-to option for flatbread and calzones. It is mellow and cuts smoothly without crumbling. When it is heated, it’s flavor is magnified. It contains around 0 – 2.1% lactose. This is one of my favorite cheeses. This is one of only three cheeses I’d order at a restaurant. Gouda and Swiss cheese (Emmental) are the others.
Swiss cheese – Very Low Lactose
Is holy and not just because it is so delicious. It literally has little pockets or holes, that are called eyes. Typically the larger the eyes, the better the flavor. Let this cheese grace your favorite sandwich or panini. Its mild, sweet, nutty flavor tastes fabulous on nearly anything. Known for its a unique and distinct taste you will love. It goes well with apples, cranberries, tomatoes, and chicken too. It contains around 0 – 3.4% lactose.
Above all, you no longer have to question, is this the cheese with least lactose? With our cheese outline, you are equipped to go out, cook boldly, and enjoy all that cheesy goodness. Whatever you decide to make for dinner there is always a cheesy sidekick to accompany your meal. Check out our other helpful articles on living a Lactose Free Life.
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