Types of Cheese

Types of Cheese
Types of Cheese (Image: sxc.hu)

There are hundreds of varieties of cheese. The storing process as well as the texture and way the cheese is manufactured embodies each type of cheese. Cheese made by different manufacturers and companies can often times taste slightly different from one brand to the next. With a long history, cheese is both a traditional food and a common staple of many countries around the world.

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Types

Some types of cheese include pressed and uncooked, such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack; cooked cheeses such as Parmesan or a Reggiano; Blue cheese falls under the blue veined category, and include the Roquefort and the Gorgonzola; rind cheeses such as the English Stilton are considered the more odorous types of cheeses and are often more pungent in taste and develop a rind that is either natural or washed to form a light crust that protects the creamy texture of the cheese inside; soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie are popular in appetizers and puff pastries; fresh cheeses such as mozzarella, cream cheese and farmer's cheese are popular cheeses used in recipes for baking and are typically uncooked.

Features

Most cheese is cured, stored and then processed at a plant or by an individual and then wrapped in a plastic or wax skin. Some cheese, such as ricotta and cottage cheeses, are placed in a plastic or glass container to be delivered to the consumer, allowing for freshness and also convenience. Processed cheeses can be placed in aerosol cans for easier dispensing. Some cheese is wrapped in decorative foils and paper for holiday gift giving as well as for advertising purposes and consumer presentations. Cheese can come in cubes, sticks, crumbled, sliced, shredded, wheels, blocks, balls, carved shapes, glass jars and sealed containers.

Identification

Most cheese is wrapped in clear plastic so it is easy to identify the type of cheese inside. Solid cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack are usually all one color, although they may also be sold marbled with two varieties intertwined. Blue veined cheese can easily be identified as being a white cheese with a bluish green hue running though the cheese. Rined cheese comes in a circle or sphere and often times has a bright yellow to brown piece of plastic around the edges.

Considerations

You cannot predict the taste of cheese by the name alone. Cheese ranges from mild and almost tasteless to pungent and even foul smelling in some instances. One must acquire a taste for many types of cheese, especially the pungent washed-rind cheeses such as Limburger. Mild cheese such as Cheddar is a favorite cheese around the world. If one is lactose intolerant or allergic to milk, care should be utilized when consuming cheese as it is considered a dairy product.

Function

Cheese can be melted, sprinkled, crumbled, squeezed and placed on food or eaten by itself, making it one of the most versatile foods available. Cheese is also one of the most widely interchanged foods in cuisine, and appears in thousands of different recipes created around the world.

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