Butterfat is the term given to fat present in dairy products. Learn what it is and how it plays into cheesemaking.

Butterfat is the term given to the fat in dairy products. Think about the difference between nonfat milk and heavy cream. Cream has a visibly richer appearance because it has more fat in it. As a highly simplified summary, dairy cows will produce milk with more butterfat if they are well-fed, able to feed on grasses, and are not stressed. Keeping cows happy is a real thing!  

Butterfat also contributes to natural color variations in cheese. Seasonal changes in grass nutrients results in varying levels of beta carotene in the milk. Depending on the season, the hue of milk will vary from a deep creamy yellow in the spring and summer to nearly white in the winter.

Butterfat is a key factor in cheese quality. More butterfat translates to richer flavor and a creamier texture. The butterfat in Face Rock Creamery cheese contains a superior flavor because we start with milk from family owned dairy herds that pasture their cows in Oregon’s rich grassy fields.

For a long time, all fat was lumped into the same category – bad. But now we know that dairy products produced from the milk of cows that feed on grass is packed with the good stuff. Health-supporting vitamins and minerals (including vitamin K2 to support bone and heart health), vitamin A to support thyroid and heart health, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which helps reduce belly fat and encourages muscle growth.

Fat is also what helps us feel full and helps us resist craving temptations. If you’re looking at cheese for a fat and protein source, skip the mass produced cheese and go for an artisan brand that is made in small batches from known milk sources.

Face Rock cheese has a complex flavor thanks to our high-quality milk and butterfat, but our process is always simple – begin with great milk and finish with hand-crafted batches of cheese.