Cheese Definition, Aging and
can be roughly defined as a coagulated milk product. It is made
by introducing bacteria or enzymes into the milk to separate the
actual curds (milk solids) from the whey (liquids). Cheese can come
from whole or skimmed milk, cream or any mixture of the two. The
milk to make the cheese can be from cow, sheep, goat or other animals,
like buffalo. Ripening is the technical term used to change the
curds that have separated from the milk and/or cream with bacteria
or mold added to make the cheese the particular variety it is, and
each cheese has a specific recipe. The cheese can be highly processed
or simply fermented. While high in proteins, cheese can be low or
high in fat, and low or high in water content. The lower the percentage
the water, the harder or firmer the cheese is. The higher the percentage
the fat is, the higher the solids found inside. Double-crème
and triple-crème cheeses are cheeses with a high fat content.
They may be as much as 60% to 75% fat content, which means that
cheese has 60-75% fat if all the liquid or moisture inside is removed
cheese has more pronounced flavors, and in some cases has a depth
of color and aroma not found in the young cheeses of the same variety.
Aged cheeses may also be softer or firmer than the younger counterparts.
In most cases, the more aged a cheese is the longer the life: the
longer you can keep the cheese. Fresh cheeses are usually eaten
or stored for immediate usage (cottage cheese has a short shelf
life) and hard grating cheeses, if kept whole with the rind uncut,
can keep for many months.
is one of the few culinary food items that can be served as an appetizer,
dessert, topping, garnish, accompaniment, ingredient or the main
dish. Cheese that is served on its own is generally served at room
temperature, excluding fresh unripened cheese which is chilled,
like cottage and cream cheeses, as the flavors of the cheese become
more pronounced. When cheese is used in cooking, the dish should
not be brought to boiling temperatures on the stovetop, and the
cheese is usually added in at the end stages of the cooking process
if used in a sauce. While cheese is best served slightly warmed,
cheese used for cooking is easier to grate or shred when cold, like
cheddar and swiss cheeses.
are many different kinds of cheeses that can be found, each with
its own color, texture, flavor and rind. Cheese can usually be classified
in four ways: by texture, by covering, by ripening or by cooking
types. Below are the classifications, with some examples. When looking
for a cheese by texture, you can find a variety of flavors
and rinds. Under the covering classification, you can get
an idea of the cheese inside by looking at the outside. Cheese can
be easily be chosen for a cheeseboard or platter when looking
at the ripening. When looking at the cooking type,
it is easy to substitute one cheese for another since any cheese
from one type has similar cooking properties.
Explore the Different Classes Below: Read for Details
on the Notable Classes
of Cheese by Texture
Classifications of Cheese by Covering
Classifications of Cheese by Ripening
Classifications of Cheese by Cooking Types
Description and Picture Guide
Above pictures: Courtesy of PDphoto.org.