Smooth and easily melted, soft cheeses have a creamy texture and mild flavor. Soft cheeses are aged less than 60 days, and will last for only one to two months. Most soft cheeses melt consistently because they contain large amounts of fat and water, except for queso fresco which holds up well in warm dishes. Farmer cheese is American, while Italian mozzarella is a popular cheese; both are found worldwide.
Farmer cheese is actually made from another soft cheese, cottage cheese. The moisture is pressed from cottage cheese and packed into a solid ball. For some versions, herbs and spices are pressed into the exterior of the cheese. Farmer cheese is served sliced for sandwiches, blintzes' fillings or rolled up with thin slices of smoked meats according to cheese.com. Originally made in the United States, farmer cheese is made from sheep, goat or cow milk, with a wide variety of resulting flavors and textures; it is found worldwide.
Mozzarella originated in southern Italy, but is now a worldwide classic. The white soft cheese comes from spun curd; the curds are kneaded into a shiny ball after a hot water bath. Mozzarella balls are salted before being sent to the market. Mozzarella di bufala is a creamy variety made from cow and buffalo milk in southern Italy according to cheese.com. Fresh mozzarella is sold in a brine of whey, and when it is formed in a ball, the fresh variety is called bocconcini. Mozzarella adds a smooth and creamy texture to dishes, as well as absorbing and intensifying other flavors. Eat mozzarella alone as a snack, serve cubed in salads or sliced with fresh tomatoes. Mozzarella is often used in quesadillas and on pizza.
Queso fresco is a popular Mexican soft cheese, and is a version of burgos, a Spanish cheese. Made from a blend of goat and cow milk, queso fresco has a very mild taste and a grainy texture according to cheese.com. With its acidity, queso fresco adds a depth of flavor to grilled chilis, meats and vegetables, and is often used in Latin cuisine in baked dishes or as a topping for tacos, refried beans and tostadas. This type of soft cheese will soften when heated but does not melt like most other soft varieties. Queso fresco holds up well in chili dishes and warm salads, since the cheese does not melt or become stringy, yet imparts a creamier texture than harder cheeses, such as Parmesan, that are often used in these dishes.
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