Classifications: Texture, Covering, Ripening or Cooking Types
There are many ways to classify cheese.
Some classify cheese by the texture of it, whether it's hard or
soft, or by the ripening of it, bacteria or mold. Here are the four
main types of classification groups of cheese and the descriptions
the different classes below, and read further for details on notable
of Cheese by Texture:
Grating Cheeses (Parmesan, Sbrinz)
(Emmental, Cheddar, Provolone)
(Brick, Muenster, Roquefort, Talleggio)
(smooth cheeses made from mixing several cheeses or adding other
ingredients: American, cheese spreads)
choosing varieties for a cheeseboard, a selection of different
textures can be nice. By choosing a cheese by texture only,
many different flavors can be found for each type; for example
Roquefort and Brick may semisoft, but one is crumbly and
a bleu cheese and the other is elastic and slightly sweet.
This is a popular way to classify cheeses.
of Cheese by Covering:
Rind (larger cheeses, longer maturity, pressed to remove moisture:
Raclette, Gruyère, Gouda)
Rind (soft rinds, often 'fuzzy', usually softens with ages:
Rind (interior is soft to firm with a natural rind that has
a soft gray/blue color or that often changes color with age:
Sainte Maure, Pouligny St. Pierre)
Washed Rind (saltwater-bath as it ripens: Muenster, Feta)
Cheeses (blue/green veined, cheese is cultured with bacteria
to give it its colors: Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola)
Cheese (no rind, high water content, unripened: fromage
frais, Demi-sel, Ricotta, fresh goat cheese, mascarpone)
cheese will be found with a rind or natural covering. When
looking at a cheeseboard with many varieties and and no
labels, a quick look at the rind will give a clue as to
what is underneath. For example, cheese with a white, soft,
often downy or velvety rind usually holds a soft cheese
with a buttery to tangy taste, often more smooth and runny
as it ages, like Camembert, Brie and Toma Valcuvia.
of Cheese by Ripening:
ripened from outside (Cheddar, Parmesan)
ripened from inside (Limburger, Liederkranz)
ripened from outside (Stilton, Saga Bleu)
ripened from inside (St. André, Explorateur)
of Cheese by Cooking Types:
(golden/white colored, firm, shreds nice, good melting qualities:
Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Gouda)
(white/cream colored, tangy, firm, shreds nice: Swiss, Jarlsburg,
(hard to very hard, nutty in flavor, grates nice: Parmigiano
Reggiano, Pecorino, Romano, Asiago)
Cheese-Style (crumbly, sharp to smooth in flavor: Gorgonzola,
Stilton, Bleu d'Avergne, Roquefort)
(soft, high in water, mild flavor: Ricotta, cottage cheeses)
Cheese-Style (soft, used for spreading or incorporating: cream
cheese, Neufchâtel, some fresh goat cheeses)
(soft or stringy, used for pizzas/nachos: Mozzarella, Oaxaca,
far as cooking and baking cheeses, the seven basic types are
cheddar-style, Swiss-style, Parmesan-style, bleu cheese-style,
ricotta-style, cream-cheese style and mozzarella cheeses.
Any cheese in the different styles can be interchanged as
needed, for example, in the bleu cheese-style, a basic blue
and Roquefort can be used interchangeably, although there
will be some notable highlight differences between the two.
When grating for pasta dishes, Asiago and Parmesan can be
used in place of the other if one is not available.
more for a listing
of different cheeses with details and taste highlights.
Many of them are pictured making it easy to identify when looking
for the cheese. Pictures come courtesy of pdphoto.org. Other details
from my own tasting notes have been included. Varieties listed alphabetically
for easy reference.
Cheese Definition, Aging and
Description and Picture Guide
Above pictures: Courtesy of PDphoto.org.