Being lactose intolerant isn’t fun when you LOVE cheese. Luckily enough there are cheeses out there that are low in lactose. All dairy-based cheeses have lactose, the natural sugar in milk. Fortunately, as the cheese matures the levels of lactose decrease… a lot! That means the older (more aged) the cheese is, the easier it is to digest. “In theory, most of the lactose is gone after three months of aging, “says University of WI-Madison food science professor Scott Rankin. Aged cheeses contain almost no lactose – less than 1gram of lactose per ounce.
Also, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheeses are easier to digest than cow’s milk cheese. That is due to the structure of the milk; and because these milks have less lactose in them to begin with. However, young goat and sheep’s milk cheeses have a higher lactose count. This is due to the moisture content in the cheese. The moisture retains the lactose due to the short fermentation. So, unfortunately, as amazing as fresh French chevre is; sometimes it’s not the easiest to digest.
When looking at nutrition labels, if the amount of sugars listed is 0 grams, then the cheese doesn’t contain lactose. After some research on the Capriole Inc. website, I am happy to share the following information: all of the Capriole goat cheeses have 0 grams of sugars.
Here’s an example of nutrition information:
Capriole Fresh Cheese, all flavors (ingredients will vary depending on type)
Ingredients: pasteurized goat milk; culture, rennet, salt
Nutrition per 1 oz. serving: calories, 70; calories from fat, 45; total fat, 5g (8% dv); saturated fat, 3g (15% dv); cholesterol less than, (0% dv); sodium, 65 mg (3% dv); total carbohydrate 1g (0% dv); dietary fiber, 0g (0% dv) sugar, 0 g; protein, 4g; Vitamin A (6% dv); Vitamin C (0% dv); calcium (2% dv); iron (0% dv).
Here are a few of our house favorites that are low on the lactose scale.
12 month Manchego: Using milk from only the hardy La Mancha sheep, Manchego is Spain’s best-known cheese. The aged version has a deeper color, harder texture, and more piquant, nutty-caramel flavor profile than young Manchego. There is even a little peppery bite at this age, and it is often grated into baked vegetable dishes. Wine pairing: Reds from Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
Zamarano: Made from both pasteurized and unpasteurized sheep’s milk, specifically from the Churra breed which gives a very high quality milk, Zamorano has a mild, slightly briny, nutty- caramel flavor. It is a little richer than the better-known Manchego and makes for a wonderful table cheese. Wine pairing: Reds from Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
5yr Vintage Gouda: From around the village of the same name, Gouda accounts for more than 60% of all the cheese produced in Holland. Very old Gouda is completely different from its young counterpart with a brittle granular texture, orange-yellow color, and sharp, tangy flavors which have hints of honey on the finish. Whilst not achieving the prominence of Parmesan, it is a rare and wonderful table cheese, and grates well over potato gratin. Wine pairing: Condrieu.
Vella Dry Jack: This is an American original, having been created by a Scotsman named David Jacks near Monterey, California in the 1890’s. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, regular Monterey Jack is soft, white and gentle with an acid tang, and takes only a week to ripen. Dry Jack ages for a further seven to twelve months and develops a sharp, nutty flavor. It is great for grating on omelets, soufflés and casseroles. Wine pairing: Monterey Pinot Noir.
Cypress Grove Midnight Moon: Aged one year or more, this pale, ivory cheese is firm, dense and smooth with the slight graininess of a long-aged cheese. The flavor is nutty and brown-buttery, with prominent caramel notes. The wheel is finished in a beautiful black wax. This excellent cheese goes great with cured meats, fresh fruit, figs or on a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich or macaroni and cheese. Wine pairing: Californian or Australian wines.
Capriole Juliana: Aged, raw milk cheese is named after a Hungarian intern, Julianna Sedli, who loved playing with cheese making. The Julianna was a fortunate ‘sport’ of Old Kentucky Tomme. Often when one, small part of the cheese making process changes, the cheese will become a whole, new animal. This little cheese is buttery, and smooth like an Old Kentucky, but nuttier and firmer like aTomme du Savoie, and, with a mushroomy natural rind of herbes like a Brindamore or Fleur du Maquis–ie. Its own thing! Wine pairing: Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc
Everyone is different and can handle the lactose in cheese differently. So test out your tolerance levels. Start slow and keep notes. And don’t forget the Lactaid.
On your next visit to Vine &Table, stop by Cheeseland and I would be happy to help find the perfect cheese for you.