Types of CheeseWe like to separate cheeses into general categories that are easily understood. There are numerous ways to categorize cheese including methods of production (blued, cooked, pressed etc...), aging characteristics (fresh vs aged) and texture (soft, firm, hard etc...). For this section, we opted for a simple and commonly accepted classification that focuses on some combination of the three.
- Fresh, unripened cheeses are those cheeses that may or may not be cultured but which in all cases have not been aged and are intended to be consumed soon after production. Cheeses in this category include queso fresco, cream cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone, quark, fromage frais and fresh goat's milk cheeses such as Westfield Farm Capri logs.
- Mold-ripened cheeses are those that have been aged to allow molds to grow on their exterior to create a rind. In some cases, a specific mold culture added to the milk or is sprayed on the fresh cheese to produce a soft rind that is often described as "bloomy". These cheeses ripen from the outside in. Brie, Camembert and Pierre Robert are a few of the cheeses that fall into this category but lightly aged chèvre also fall into this category.
- Washed-rind cheeses are those that are washed with brine, beer, or eau de vie (among other things) as they ripen to encourage the growth of specific molds (esp. B. Linens) which impart a peachy color to the rind and which ultimately increase the breakdown of the interior of the cheese for a softer texture. Cheeses such as Taleggio, Epoisses and Munster fall into this category.
- Semi-hard cheeses are pretty simply cheese that are not soft and not hard. There's a bit of flex in this category, as some cheeses will be softer when young, but can become hard grating cheeses when aged for a longer period. Typically, this category will include Pomerol, Morbier or young Gouda.
- Hard cheeses are those that have been cooked and/or pressed and aged to remove more of their moisture so that the texture will be hard and the flavors will become more concentrated. Cheeses in this category include Pecorino Gran Riserva, Parmigiano Reggiano and Aged Gouda.
- Blue cheeses are those that have been made in a way that encourages the growth of molds in the interior of a cheese. Blue cheeses are made by innoculating the milk with a specific mold culture such as Pennicillium Roqueforti and by treating the curds gently enough to preserve moisture and a loosely knit texture. Because the added culture is an aerobic mold, it must have oxygen to bloom. In order to get the blue veining in the cheese, makers will pierce the cheese with a set of needles which, when removed create pathways for the oxygen to penetrate to the interior and begin the blueing. Cheeses in this category include Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Great Hill Blue.
- Blended / flavored cheeses are those cheeses that have had a flavor mixed into the curd. Cumin, fennel chili peppers are just some of the ingredients we've seen.