Lactose Free Cheese? YES it does occur naturally

By Chef Lippe

Lactose Free Cheese?

Several times a week I am asked if we have any lactose free cheese? I have always said  “No all our cheese comes from milk”

Well, while looking for something else I found this article on Lactose Free Cheese which made me stop and read it. I know that everything on the internet is not the truth always but this did make sense. So I thought to share it….

Ask my lactose-intolerant daughter what she misses eating most, and she speaks for many of the individuals who lack the ability to process most dairy products (roughly 65 percent of all people, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine): cheese.  As in mac and cheese.  As in lasagna, baked ziti, stuffed shells, and just about every other yummy Italian dish loved by kids young and old.  While ice cream runs a close second, if you are a true cheese lover, it is sorely missed when you’re told you can’t have it.

Well, here’s some news that might surprise you.  Did you know that hard, naturally and well-aged cheeses such as sharp cheddar and mature Parmesan, contain low, trace amounts of lactose – generally less than 1 gram of lactose per ounce?  In fact, the majority of the lactose found in cheeses is removed with the whey during the manufacturing process.  This means you might be able to enjoy a consequence-free, happy little cheesy nosh if you choose an aged cheese and quell that very specific hunger pang.  But remember we’re only talking one to a few ounces, not a feast, or else the end result can be an ugly bout of bloating, diarrhea, painful gas, or constipation.

Which cheeses contain the most lactose?  Number 1: processed cheeses (think Velveeta) can contain as much lactose as whole milk.  Next, unripened and fresh cheeses such as farmer’s cheese, cream cheese, and queso fresco have very high quantities of lactose and are best avoided by lactose-intolerant folk.

If the nutritional label on the back of a package of cheese or cheese product says it contains zero sugar, this suggests that the product is lactose-free, since lactose is a sugar.

Regardless of being diagnosed as lactose-intolerant or not, the ability to digest lactose varies individual to individual, so the key to enjoying low level lactose products is knowing your own body and moderating amounts consumed.

Read more:

The second article was…

Question: What is Lactose Free Cheese?

Lactose is also called milk sugar. It is found in all dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. A naturally occuring enzyme called lactase is needed to digest lactose. As people age, their lactase production can decrease, causing a sensitivity to lactose.

Many types of cheese, however, naturally have very low or non-measurable amounts of lactose. How can you tell how much lactose a cheese contains? Follow these general guidelines.

Answer: During the cheesemaking process, the milk is thickened and the whey (liquid) is drained from the curds (solids). Whey typically has more lactose in it than curds do. Since the whey is drained from the curds before cheese is made, this removes quite a bit of lactose. The curds used to make softer cheeses (like Brie) have more moisture (whey) in them than the curds used to make hard, dry cheeses like Cheddar. Therefore, soft cheeses tend to have more lactose than hard cheeses.


As cheese ages, it loses even more moisture. The longer a cheese has been aged, the less lactose will remain in the final product. If you’re concerned about lactose, talk to your local cheesemonger about how long a cheese has been aged before buying it. According to Beemster, a producer of Dutch Gouda, “during the maturation process the lactose changes into lactic acid.” Beemster claims their Classic Gouda (matured 18 months) and XO Gouda (matured 26 months) are lactose free. However, some of their other varieties of Gouda that aren’t aged as long do have traces of lactose. Cabot Creamery, a Cheddar producer, says, “Aged cheeses, such as Cabot’s naturally aged cheddar contain 0 grams of lactose. In fact, unlike many other dairy products, cheese in general is very low in lactose. Most contain less than 1 gram per serving and should not cause any lactose intolerance related symptoms.”

Other cheese types that are aged for long periods of time and are likely to have very small or non-measurable levels of lactose include:

  Parmigiano-Reggiano (typically aged 12-24 months)

  Grana Padano (typically aged 12-20 months)

  Mimolette (typically aged 22 months)

  Romano (typically aged 3-4 years)


There are also varieties of “cheese” made without dairy that contain no lactose at all. Although these types of cheese don’t have the same flavor or texture as cheese made with milk, some people find them to be a fine substitute. The options include soy cheese, rice cheese and almond cheese. Another option is yogurt cheese. Although made from dairy,Cultured Way claims that their yogurt cheese is made from “…active yogurt cultures, acidophilus and bifidus, which remove the milk sugars during the cheese making and aging process.”

So food for thought!  And YES we do carry the 4 cheeses listed above.

1 Comment

Filed under Chef Lippe, lactose free cheese

One response to “Lactose Free Cheese? YES it does occur naturally

  1. Great post! Yogurt should also be fine as the lactose has turned into lactic acid.


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