Cheese can easily turn any boring food into something utterly delicious. Melted cheese, when combines with anything, it tastes like some heavenly treat. Doesn’t matter if you eat cheese as it or with crackers, sprinkles, in pasta, or simply spread it on a slice of bread – it is always a delight to eat. All of our favorite foods, such as Paninis, club sandwiches, pizzas, and pasta, wouldn’t taste the same if we stop topping them with cheese.
There are several types of cheese made all around the world. And, the cheese-making techniques also vary from place to place. The characteristics, such as aroma, taste, color, texture, softness, and shelf life, are different for different types of cheese. If you are a cheese lover and can’t stop adding it to your food, you would surely like to know about different types of cheese.
1. Fresh Cheese
Also known as unripened cheese, fresh cheeses are not aged. They are soft and spreadable because of their creamy texture, and they have a mild taste.
Fresh cheeses are made from different types of milk and varying salt amounts for distinct flavors. The texture of fresh cheeses also depends on the amount of whey and moisture drained from them. It can be a fresh cheese with a soupy texture or a crumbly texture; it all depends on whey and moisture.
Fresh cheeses are the easiest to make, and anyone can make them in their kitchen.
Most popular fresh cheeses include:
- Queso fresco
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
2. Pasta Filata
Pasta Filata, as the name suggests, is the classic Italian stretched-curd cheese. The word “Pasta Filata” is an Italian word meaning “spun paste.” For the preparation of these cheeses, the fresh cheese curd is steeped into a hot water bath, after which it is stretched, kneaded, or spun in different shapes.
The most famous Pasta Filata is the mozzarella cheese. During the heating and kneading process, the protein structure of cheese is aligned, resulting in stretchy cheese when melted.
A famous way of storing fresh mozzarella is by spinning it into balls and storing it in water or brine. Besides this, mozzarella cheese is also stored in the form of bricks and is aged for longer shelf life. Other Pasta Filata cheeses, for example, provolone, are stored for a few weeks or months by air-curing and tying up. Sometimes, people tend to smoke Pasta Filata cheese for extra flavor.
Famous Pasta Filata cheeses include:
- Queso Oaxaca
- Scamorza affumicata
3. Semi-soft Cheese
The major thing seen in this cheese is its texture instead of how it is made. The common thing between all the semi-soft cheeses is their short aging period. These cheeses are usually aged for only a few months; thus, the cheese produced is moist and flexible along with a creamy texture. For example, Havarti is a mild-flavored semi-soft cheese.
The most popular semi-soft cheeses are:
4. Bloomy Rind Cheese
Bloomy Rind cheese is quite interesting because its outside is usually ripened, but the inside is soft and runnier than the outside. The most common Bloomy Rind cheeses are Camembert and Brie; both of them originated in France. The difference between these cheeses is a thin rind of blooming mold.
Bloomy Rind cheeses are exposed to particular strains of mold, i.e., Penicillium camemberti, during their short aging period. The mold then works on the outside of the cheese and converts the fats into aromatic compounds known as ketones.
It is said that this type of cheese should be eaten at room temperature for the best flavor. And if any Bloomy Rind cheese gives out a strong ammonia smell, better not eat it.
Some famous types of Bloomy Rind cheese include:
5. Blue Cheese
Bloomy Rind Cheese is exposed to mold just from the outside, while Blue cheeses are internally inoculated with mold. The particular mold strains used for these cheeses include Penicillium roqueforti.
Here is an interesting fact about blue mold: it only grows when it is exposed to air. Initially, when blue cheeses are pressed in molds, their interiors are completely white. But, during the aging period, cheesemakers expose the cheese to air. After being exposed to air, the mold starts growing.
These cheeses have strong, nutty, and salty flavors. The variety of blue cheeses include:
- Danish Blue
6. Semi-Hard Cheese
The most famous and commonly used semi-hard cheese is Cheddar cheese. The amazing flavor of semi-hard cheeses is the result of two things; the bacteria strain introduced to the milk and the aging period. Different bacteria strains are used for the production of various varieties of cheeses. For making cheddar cheese, the bacteria that used is called Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris.
After using bacteria, there comes the process of aging. This aging period determines the hardness or softness of cheese along with the “sharpness” of its flavor. As the cheese is aged, it loses its moisture, and its natural flavor is also amplified.
Some of the most popular semi-hard cheeses include:
- Monterey Jack
7. Hard Cheese
Hard cheeses have low moisture, such as Parmesan, Asiago, and Manchego. These unique cheeses are categorized by their rich umami flavor and pungent saltiness. Usually, these cheeses are grated over soups and pasta because of the hardness.
Parmesan, originally known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is originated in Italy. Large wheels of freshly curdled milk are soaked in a salt bath for over three months, after which it is aged for around 24 months or even more than that. A unique thick and natural rind is formed around the cheese, which is hard and perfect in flavor.
Hard cheeses include the following:
8. Processed Cheese
Processed cheese is not “actual” cheese but products with similar cheese elements, such as milk fat, milk, lactic acid, whey protein, and salt. But the processed cheese is not made through the traditional process of cheese-making or even a process that resembles it.
Processed cheeses are just cheese-like products consisting of some similar items.
There might be hardly any person who does not love cheese. Cheese lovers should try every type of cheese whenever they get a chance because it should never be taken for granted.