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Aged Cheese Types
Aged cheeses are among the most numerous varieties of cheese in the world. Whether they are artisan cheeses from a small farmstead or huge commercial wheels aged cheeses come in an almost infinite variety of textures, flavors, and types.
- Cheese can be made from any type of milk. Most of the cheese in the world today is made from one of the following types of milk:
It is produced by adding rennet or another natural coagulant to the milk and allowing to separate into curds and whey. Once this happens the curds are pressed into a form and allowed to age.
Factors that Create the Differences in Cheese
There are numerous factors that make each category or type of cheese different. Here are some of them:
- Bacteria and other additives used
- Country of origin
- Fat content
- Length of aging
- Type of milk
Some Aged Cheese Types
Nearly all cheese is ripened, another way of saying aged. The longer the cheese ages the firmer the cheese becomes and the sharper the flavor. Some cheese needs to age for several years while other cheeses age for a period of weeks or months before they are mature.
There are too many types of cheeses to list all of them in a short article, or even in a book. Each region and every creamery has its own unique variety of cheese. Following are some of the most popular types of aged cheeses.
Bleu Cheese or Blue Cheese
Blue cheese has a blue- green veining throughout the cheese. It is made from any type of milk to which a type of Penicullium mold is added. The cheese is pieced all over to allow more oxygen and thus more mold in the cheese.
Bleu has a sharp, tangy flavor that goes well with many fruits, nuts, salads, and meats. Some types of bleu cheese are:
Cabrales is a Spanish cheese made with goat or sheep's milk. It has a spicy flavor.
Gorgonzola is an Italian cheese that is crumbly and has a salty,pungent flavor.
Roquefort is a French cheese that has a distinctive green mold. It is tangy and sharp.
Stilton is a cheese that is only made in three counties in England. It has a mild, nutty flavor and creamy texture.
What a funny name for cheese, right? Yet certain aged cheese types go by this moniker. They are also called washed rind cheeses because they are bathed in a brine, wine, brandy, or other liquid. This washing helps to develop the flavor and allows the cheese to retain its moisture. The rind is generally a reddish color while the interior of the cheese itself is creamy and smooth.
Stinky cheese has a pungent odor that can be detected from several feet away. The odors associated with this type of cheese run the gamut from dirt to rotten eggs but the flavors are often amazingly complex.
Affidelice is a cow's milk cheese from the Burgundy region of France. This is a soft cheese with a spoonable texture. It is quite pungent.
Dorset is a semi-soft cheese with a buttery flavor.
Morbier is a mild French cheese which is defined by the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through it middle. It has a mild, nutty taste.
Taleggio is a semi-soft cheese from northern Italy. It is aromatic in scent yet mild in flavor with a moist, melt in your mouth texture and buttery flavor.
Soft cheeses are aged but not quite as long as other cheese. This puts them in a realm between fresh and truly aged cheese.
Brie is a buttery, smooth cheese that becomes runny as it ages. It goes well as an appetizer or dessert cheese.
Camembert is a smooth cheese that has a mushroom-y earthy taste when fully ripe. It is the cheese most often associated with France and was developed there in the 1700s.
This is the longest aged cheese type. The flavors run the gamut from mild to very sharp and the textures can be very firm to crumbly. Types include:
Asiago is a crumbly textured cheese with a flavor that is similar to Parmesan.
Cheddar is a hard cheese that can be mild to very sharp depending on how long it is aged.
Gouda is a buttery, smooth Dutch cheese.
Parmigianino is a pungent, crumbly cheese.
Pecorino is an Italian cheese that is made from sheep's milk. It has a crumbly texture and a nutty flavor.
Swiss is a sharp and sweet cheese from Switzerland that characteristically has holes in the cheese.
Each of these varieties of aged cheese has many other varieties within each category. It is a great idea to get an unfamiliar cheese once a month or more and just give it a try. You can open up an entire world of flavor, texture, and history in a delicious way.