Cheese is made from milk. Milk is white. So why is your cheddar cheese yellow?
It does not get that way from the natural process of making cheese. The colour comes from adding annatto.
This comes from the fruit of the Anachio tree found in tropical South America. In that area it may be commonly called the “lipstick-tree”, as natives have traditionally used the strong red pigments within to make body paint.
Annatto is the pigment that comes from the flesh of the fruit. It has a long history of culinary use, featured regularly in Mexican kitchens. In North America and Europe annatto is used as a colouring in many foods. Most commonly cheese and butter.
In addition to adding colour, annatto is said to have a slightly sweet and peppery flavour, which would be the only difference between white and yellow cheddar, if all else was equal.
Now I’ve got myself curious about pigments… just what they are and how they work. Stay tuned for more LSNED!
- Source: Annatto – Wikipedia