Cheese is a very versatile product that has a wide range of textures and flavors with different uses. The texture and variety of cheese can range from soft to firm, smooth/ creamy to curdy, brittle to long, mechanically open to close or from cheese with splits to round eyes.
The physical properties of cheese are largely determined by the casein content, the type, number, and strength of casein interactions, cheese composition, and ripening reactions.
In a fresh, un-ripened cheese like cottage cheese or cream cheese, the curd can be used immediately; but ripened cheese involves the addition of selected strains of bacteria, mould, yeast, or a combination of these that change the cheese’s flavour and texture as it ages.
Cheese ripening gives microorganisms and enzymes in the cheese curd an opportunity to hydrolyze mainly fat, protein, and lactose.
Types of cheese (depending upon their ageing)
There are more than 800 varieties of cheese which are reported, but the best cheese is classified into the following categories:
1. Semi-hard cheese
This cheese contains less than 40 % water, which is also called as medium moisture cheese, which is usually created by heating raw milk, starter cultures, and enzymes.
Example: – cheddar, Edam, Swiss, Gouda, and Gruyere.
2. Semi-soft cheese
This contains around 39-50% of water.
Example: – Muenster, Monterey Jack.
3. Soft-fresh cheese
This type of cheese is called an acid- set cheese since the milk is usually coagulated with lactic acid and sometimes even rennet. This cheese is not cured or aged.Source: Thats Amore Cheese
Example: – Queso, Fresco, cottage cheese, cream cheese.
4. Soft-Ripened cheese
This type of cheese is mould-cured to develop a soft texture and pungent flavor and this type of cheese is versatile and interchangeable. It can be easily sliced for cold applications and have excellent melting properties.
Example: – Brie, Camembert, Blue, Gorgonzola.
This type of cheese has very elastic consistency and excellent stretching, melting and browning properties.
6. Restricted Melt cheese
This type of cheese is only used in the specific type of applications where the main concern is leakage of cheese.
Example: – Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco.
This is the best cheese which is well known as Pizza cheese!
It has an excellent stretching quality which makes it the most favourite cheese used.
Mozzarella and cheddar cheese are the most widely used cheese applications in India! Its always better to know what you eat!
Read Also: Here is the fascinating story on how cheese was discovered.