Liederkranz cheese

Liederkranz is an extinct American recreation of Limburger cheese, made subtly different by the use of a different bacterial culture for ripening. Like almost every American cheese, Liederkranz was a cow's milk cheese, with an edible pale yellow-orange tan crust, and a semisoft, pale interior with a mildly pungent flavor and distinct aroma that could become unpleasantly ammonia-like if aged incorrectly. Liederkranz was created in 1891 by Emil Frey (1867–1951), a young Swiss cheesemaker in Monroe, New York, who created Velveeta there in 1923. (Philadelphia Cream Cheese was invented in another town of Orange County, New York.) Frey named the cheese after a local singing society, a Liederkranz Club ("wreath of song"), perhaps the famous one in New York, or perhaps really just on a whim for its Germanic sound.

The Monroe Cheese Company, the original source of Liederkranz, passed to new ownership, but Emil Frey stayed on and followed Liederkranz production to Van Wert, Ohio, in 1926. In 1929 the company was sold to the Borden Company. Frey retired in 1938.

At the end of 1981, after a fire damaged its Van Wert plant, Borden terminated its natural cheese lines in favor of "processed cheese". A few months later the Fisher Cheese Company purchased the Van Wert plant and began to produce Liederkranz. In 1985 bacterial contamination of a batch of Liederkranz and several other cheeses induced Fisher to withdraw Liederkranz from the market, selling the franchise and the bacterial culture to Beatrice Foods and the New Zealand Dairy Board. That was the last batch of Liederkranz to be made.

The unique bacterial culture for making Liederkranz is rumored to have been kept alive.