Milk naturally does not contain gluten. For gluten to be present in our natural cheese products there would need to be an addition of a stabilizer that would contain gluten as an ingredient. Bunker Hill Cheese Co., Inc. the manufacture of Heini's Brand Cheese does not use stabilizers in any of the natural cheese we produce. This being said, all natural cheese products produced at Bunker Hill Cheese Co., Inc. and under the brand name Heini's are gluten free.
Natural Cheese products manufactured by Bunker Hill Cheese are lactose free. Lactose is a milk sugar that is naturally according in milk. Lactose requires specific enzymes to be broken down in the intestines and can create digestive discomfort in individuals who lack the specific enzymes. a condition know as "Lactose Intolerance".
During the culturing of milk for cheese making. the starter milk cultures metabolize the lactose and convert it into lactic acid. The rate of depletion of lactose depends on the amount of culture present and the aging of the cheese. Natural cheese products are lactose free by definition (contain less than 0.5 g per serving or less than 0.10%) within the days required to leave our warehouse and enter the market Lactose continues to diminish and is effectively 0 on any aged or sharp cbeese products such as Cheddar or Swiss.
Our Yogurt Cultured Cheese varieties are also lactose free products. Many customers who report suffering lactose intolerance tell us they have been able to eat Heini's Yogurt Cultured Cheese without any adverse effects, in fact, the probiotic acidophilus and bifidium cultures fortified in the Yogurt Cultured cheese provide good digestive bealth benefits to our customers.
Heini's Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese is produced without the processing aid known as pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process step where the milk is heated to not less than 161.5º F and held at that temperature for a minimum of 15 seconds. This process step is used to kill unwanted bacteria in the milk. There are many arguments in regards to the effect of the pasteurization to the proteins and fatty acids in milk. At this high of a temperature (161.5ºF) it is argued that the proteins become denatured and that fatty acids are destroyed which eliminates a lot of the value one gets by eating or drinking dairy products.
In effort to supply our consumers with an option of choosing either pasteurized or unpasteurized (raw milk) cheese product we have made available our Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese. We produce our Raw Milk Cheddar according to the FDA Code of Federal Regulations 21CFR133.113. As stated in the fore mentioned regulations any cheddar cheese that is manufactured without the aid of pasteurization must be stored at a temperature of not less than 35º F for a minimum of 60 days. Cheese being a fermented food, has in its natural fermentation process a natural break down and formation of lactic acid. The increase of the lactic acid presence in the cheese helps in the destruction and protects the cheese from the growth of unwanted bacteria that was not eliminated in the pasteurization process. The Ohio Department of Agriculture who is Heini's FDA representative and our regulatory agency does monitor our storage practices to assure the consumer that our Raw Milk Cheddar is indeed aged for the required 60 days.
We at Heini's Cheese want our customers to be as informed about our products as possible. We pride ourselves in our cheeses and the fact that our milk comes from small Amish farms in our Ohio community. We hope the above information is of use to you in making an informed decision in choosing the Heini's Cheese of your choice.