Take A Step Back

In Time

History

welcome icon

The Yaggi Cheese business began back before the turn of the century. Josef Jaeggi was born in 1881 in the village of Solothurn, Switzerland, and would become the second oldest of eight children. His father, Victor, supported the family as a schoolteacher and Wilhamina, his wife, tended to the duties of house and home.

When Josef was a young teenager his father died suddenly, leaving a tremendous burden upon the older children and their mother to survive under these new life-altering circumstances. This drastic change in the family’s structure could have been the catalyst for Josef’s journey from his homeland to seek his fortune while helping to support his family back home.

Josef was inspired along the way to learn the art of cheese making, a common practice to use the leftover milk that could not be hauled fresh to the market. However, the skills of making cheese were traditionally passed from father to son within the family.

So he became an apprentice to those who would take him in, traveling as far as Austria and Yugoslavia, lodging with Aunts and Uncles as he learned the trade.

Immigrants in search of a better life had first introduced Swiss cheese to the United States in 1831. In the years that followed, letters written back home were encouraging friends and family to make the trip over to share in his newfound prosperity. There was rich farmland for their dairy cows and fertile business prospects in Ohio, especially around the areas of Holmes and Tuscarawas counties. By the time Josef had immigrated, Swiss cheese had not only become established but was a local favorite.

In 1904 he settled in Ohio and for the next several years he worked many odd jobs to raise the money needed to begin a small business. One of Joseph’s (changed from Josef) brothers, Victor, had the same ambition and also came to Ohio. Victor began to make cheese in a small factory located approximately 50 yards from Yaggi cheese’s present factory on Stonecreek Road (Old State Route 21) midway between New Philadelphia and Stonecreek. In 1924 a fire destroyed the factory and Joseph built the new one much larger than the original. With this new factory he began the Yaggi (changed from Jaeggi) Cheese business – Swiss cheese selling for 16 cents a pound.

During these years, Joe married Bertha Longenecker (also a Swiss immigrant) and had seven children. Each was expected to share the workload at home (built on top of the salesroom) and the business downstairs of making and selling Swiss cheese, along with bologna and crackers. It certainly was not an easy lifestyle, but with strong family values and hard work the Yaggi family established a respectable place in the community.

William Yaggi was born in 1928, the youngest of five girls and two boys. After graduating from New Philadelphia High School, Bill served in the army for one and a half years. He wanted to come back to work at the cheese factory, but his father urged him to continue his education. He took Dairy Tech at Ohio State for a year but felt school wasn’t for him. He came back home, but his father insisted on more schooling, so he attended Muskingum College for two years. There he met Phyllis Eckman and his life began to take direction. It was around that time that Bill knew what he wanted to do – to raise a family like his father did, and run the cheese business.

Bill married Phyllis in 1953 and lived across the road from his folks. They had three children, and in 1957 moved in above the salesroom and shared the house for a few months until Mom and Pop’s new house in town was finished. Three years after the move, Joe and Bertha both died in 1960. Bill officially took over the business in 1963. Phyllis was instrumental in keeping the business running smoothly. She kept the books in order, answered the telephone and often worked in the salesroom.

Times were changing and a new freeway (I-77) would direct the main flow of traffic away from the rural business. This combined with the new costly state regulations forced Bill to shut down his production of cheese in 1969. This also affected many area farmers who delivered their cows milk regularly – up to 2400 gallons a day during the peek summer months – which produced 8 – 200 pound wheels of cheese each day. It was the end of an era, sad for many whose livelihoods depended on it.

A few cheese makers deserve recognition for their skilled contribution in this history of Yaggi Cheese House. Rudy Graff (also a Swiss immigrant) was the first cheese maker to work alongside Joe and later Bill for a total of 20 plus years. He lived with his wife, Cora, in the adjacent house by the garage near the factory. Ernest Amacher made cheese in several locations before ending up at Yaggi Dairy. An immigrant from Canton Bern, Switzerland, he worked over 25 years for Joe and Bill before retiring in 1971. He and his wife Pauline raised five children in the house beside Joe. Rudy and Ernest are both now deceased.

Speaking of familiar faces, many salesroom workers became like family to customers and workers alike. Each has contributed their own unique flavor and personality to make this “Mom and Pop” business a winning recipe over the years.

Most of the Swiss cheese they sell they get from local cheese producers, and local distributors provide over 30 different kinds of cheese. In addition, Yaggi’s sells trail bologna, summer sausage, candy, jams, jellies, and spaghetti sauce to name a few. It bears to mention that Christmastime for the Yaggis and their elves is a blur each year. Approximately 1/3 of their wholesale and retail business is generated during the month of December, shipping all over the country. Their wine-cured Swiss (a specialty cheese they create by washing the cheese in white wine for several months) is a seasonal favorite.

Dave Yaggi is Bill’s second oldest, (born in 1955) and became the third-generation owner in 1996. After working a few odd jobs following high school he began helping out part-time. He now shares partnership with his wife, the former Colleen Stahl. “Coke” is employed full-time at Yaggi’s. They are proud to have maintained a humble business profile, as Joe and Bill before them, and have kept most of the surroundings familiar. Things look much like they did over 80 years ago, to the delight of the third, fourth, and even fifth generations of customers coming back each year.

Bill passed away in 2014. (his wife, Phyllis, passed away in 1988). Dave and Coke were married in 1994 and enjoy Coke’s two children and their four grandchildren who live locally.

In our hectic world today, it’s refreshing to take a drive in the country and make a stop at Yaggi’s. When you get there we hope you find that some things will never change; like good people behind the counter and great cheese!

Random Cheese Recipe

  • Rice Krispy Treat No-Bake Cheesecake

    • Ingredients:
    • CRUST
    • 6 cups Crisp Rice Cereal
    • 1/4 cup salted butter
    • 1 pkg. miniature marshmallows
    • FILLING
    • 1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 (7 oz.) jar of marshmallow cream/fluff
    • 1 (8 0z.) Cool Whip, thawed
    • GARNISH
    • Whipped Cream
    • Cubed Rice Krispy Treats (You can use the ones in the box)

     

    Instructions
    Liberally grease a 9″ or 10″ springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, add in the Rice Krispies cereal. Set aside momentarily. In a medium saucepan, melt the salted butter and marshmallows together over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal and toss until totally combined. Pour the cereal into the prepared pan and, using a greased glass cup, press the cereal mixture into the pan, forming a base and sides. Put aside to set, about 20 minutes.
    While crust sets, make your filling. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the marshmallow creme until smooth. Lastly, fold in the Cool Whip by hand until combined.
    Spread the filling mixture into the crust, smoothing out the top. Garnish with whipped cream piped along the perimeter of the cheesecake and top with stacked prepared & cubed Rice Krispy Treats in the center. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge before cutting into slices.
  • Cream Cheese Danish Squares

    • 2 – 8 oz. cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
    • 2- 8oz. packages cream cheese
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Grease a 9×13 inch pan.Press one can of the crescent rolls into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread over the crescent layer. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and lay them on top of the cream cheese layer. Do not press down. Pour the melted margarine over the entire pan. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top.
    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is crisp and golden.

  • Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

    • Ingredients:
    • 8 cups of broccoli florets
    • Salt for blanching water
    • 2 strips of thick cup bacon cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
    • 5 eggs beaten
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 heavy cream
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 8 ounces of Yaggi’s Cheddar cheese shredded

    1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp salt for 2 quarts of water). Add the broccoli florets and boil for 3-5 minutes or until just tender enough so that a fork can easily pierce the floret, but still firm. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

    2 While the water in step one is coming to a boil, cook the bacon pieces on medium heat in a frying pan until lightly browned, but not crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Set aside.

    3 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Butter a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. In a bowl, whisk the eggs into the flour, then whisk in the cream and milk. Add the black pepper (more or less to taste), salt, and mustard. Mix in about a third of the cheese.

    4 Place the parboiled broccoli florets in the casserole dish, sprinkling about a third of the cheese over the broccoli florets as you lay them down. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the broccoli. Pour the egg, cream, milk, cheese mixture over the broccoli, moving the broccoli pieces a bit so that the mixture gets into all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining cheese.

     

  • Swiss Cheese & Chicken Casserole

    • Ingredients:
    • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2lbs of canned chicken drained, can be used)
    • 6 slices of Yaggi’s Mild or Medium Swiss Cheese
    • 1 can creamed chicken soup
    • 1/4 cup of milk
    • 1 box stuffing mix
    • 1/4 cup melted butter

     

    Cover bottom of pan with chicken.
    Lay Swiss Cheese over chicken.
    Mix 1 can cream of chicken soup and ¼ cup milk.
    Pour mixture over chicken.
    Top with stuffing mix.
    Drizzle ¼ cup butter on top.
    Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.
    Serve over rice.

  • Quiche Lorraine

    • Ingredients
    • PASTRY CRUST:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of shortening
    • 2-3 Tablespoon cold water
    • FILLING:
    • 8 slices of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled (1/2 cup)
    • 1 cup shredded Yaggi’s Swiss or Cheddar Cheese
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 cups whipping cream or half and half
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Directions

    In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

    Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

    Heat oven to 425° F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch quiche dish or glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in quiche dish. Unfold and ease into dish, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired.

    Carefully line pastry with a double thickness of foil, gently pressing foil to bottom and side of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excessive browning. Bake 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil and bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until pastry just begins to brown and has become set. If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon.

     Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in pie crust. In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining filling ingredients. Pour into quiche dish.

     Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

  • Salami & Cheese Panini

    • Ingredients
    • 8 slices of rye or sourdough bread
    •  4T Shard Hot Mustard
    •  1/2 head radicchio
    •  1/2 T. Balsamic vinegar
    •  1/4 hard salami
    •  1/2 lb. of your favorite Yaggi’s Cheese (We recommend our mild or medium Swiss)
    •  4T. butter

     

    Spread 4 slices of bread with mustard.

    Toss the radicchio with the vinegar, place on top of the mustard-spread slices of bread. Layer each sandwich with 3 slices of salami and 3 slices of cheese. Top with the remaining bread. Brush both sides of the sandwich with butter. Grill in a panini press until cheese is melted — about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

  • Cheesy Broccoli Soup

    • Ingredients
    • 4 heads broccoli (cut into 1 inch florets)
    • Olive oil for drizzling
    • Salt & freshly ground pepper
    • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
    • 1 whole onion diced
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 4 cups milk
    • 2 cups half & half
    • Pinch of nutmeg
    • 3 cups of your favorite Yaggi’s cheese grated (mild Cheddar, sharp Cheddar, Jack, etc.)
    • 1 cup chicken broth

     

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    Remove 2 cups of the broccoli florets, cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet cut-side down and bake until the florets begin to crisp and turn slightly brown, about 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top. Stir to combine and cook until the flour is absorbed and smells lightly toasted, 1 minute or so. Add the mild and half-and half. Add the nutmeg, then the broccoli, a small dash of salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer
    until the broccoli is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cheese and allow to melt.
    Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve the soup as is, mash with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, or transfer to a blender in two batches and puree completely. (If you puree in a blender, return the soup to the heat to heat back up. Splash in some chicken broth if needed for thinning.)

    When blending hot liquids, first let cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open; this will prevent the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters and pulse  until smooth.

  • Beer Cheese Soup

    • Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 3/4 cups finely chopped carrots
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 3 cups chicken broth (from a 32 ounce carton)
    • 1 cup whipping cream
    • 4 cups shredded Yaggi’s sharp Cheddar cheese (16 ounces)
    • 1 can beer (12 ounces)

    In 4-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until celery and onions are transparent.
    Stir in flour, paprika, black pepper and ground red pepper. Add broth; heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute.
    Reduce heat; stir in whipping cream and cheese. Heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in beer. If desired, serve with popcorn.

  • Easy Lasagna

    • Ingredients
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 4 cups tomato-basil sauce
    • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles
    • 1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
    • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) Yaggi’s shredded mozzarella
    • 1 cup Yaggi’s 4-Cheese Blend shredded
    • 1/4 cup hot water

    Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pasta sauce.

    Spread one-third of meat sauce in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish; layer with 3 noodles and half each of ricotta cheese and 4 Cheese blend & mozzarella cheese. (The ricotta cheese layers will be thin.) Repeat procedure; spread remaining one-third of meat sauce over mozzarella cheese. Slowly pour 1/4 cup hot water around inside edge of dish. Tightly cover baking dish with 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

    Bake at 375° for 45 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

  • Fettuccine with Ricotta,
    Tomato and Basil

    • Ingredients
    • 1 (9 oz.) pkg. refridgerated fettuccine
    • 3 Tbsp. butter,melted
    • 3/4 c. Ricotta cheese
    • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 large tomato,chopped
    • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
    • grated Parmesan cheese

    Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Return to saucepan. Mix butter, Ricotta cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Toss with fettuccine. Top fettuccine with tomato, basil and Parmesan cheese.