WHAT IS CHEESE?
Cheese is often defined as a protein and fat concentrate, or more simply, as concentrated milk. However, powdered and condensed milk are also protein-fat concentrates. Obviously, there is an essential difference. Milk, in the majority of cases from cows, is the basic raw material of cheesemaking. Dairy cows, or other mammals, convert fodder (grass, hay, grain, etc.) into milk.
The animals are milked twice a day, mainly by machines. In cheesemaking, the concentration of protein and fat is not achieved by condensing the milk, as for example by evaporating its water content. Instead, the milk is fermented and transformed into a semi-solid mass that is cut by a cheese harp to eliminate a certain amount of liquid (whey).
Fermentation is a process by which a carbohydrate, in this case milk sugar, is changed (broken down) into lactic acid mainly by means of bacteriological activity. Fermentation is a source of energy providing the basis for the reproduction and maintenance of different types of bacteria. This process affects the character of the final product:CHEESE.
A secondary fermentation is often induced or furthered to achieve certain specific properties as in the case of ripened cheese. Such secondary fermentation occurs without a breakdown of milk sugar, but with a breakdown of amino acids, fatty acids, etc., instead. Controlled fermentation of milk produces some of our most popular foods such as buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt and cheese.
CHEESE IS CONCENTRATED, FERMENTED MILK Milk consists mainly of protein, milk fat, and water. In cheesemaking the first major processing step consists of coagulating the milk to separate the solids (curds) from part of the liquid (whey). With the exception of some small components of the dry matter which are retained in the whey, cheese contains most of the ingredients of milk in concentrated form. Generally, hard and cured cheeses contain less water; soft and fresh cheeses more.
BASIC KINDS OF CHEESE
All cheese is basically classified as: - Natural cheese - Processed cheese - Imitation cheese
NATURAL CHEESE is made directly from milk, occasionally from whey. It is either the fresh or cured type. In cheesemaking, the word “natural” is a purely technical term to distinguish one type of cheese from processed and imitation cheese with no qualitative meaning attached to the term. This is often not clearly understood by consumers. Natural cheese is from a qualitative point of view “more or less” natural, depending on factors such as use of pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, silage or non-silage milk, the use of additives to retard the development of mold, or the use of food colors. Natural cheese made from milk is called “fresh cheese” or uncured cheese. Examples of this are Cottage Cheese and Cream Cheese. Natural cheese made from whey is called cured cheese. Examples of cured cheese are Cheddar, Swiss, Camembert and Mysost.
PROCESSED CHEESE is made by blending and/or melting one or more varieties of natural cheeses with or without other ingredients such as emulsifiers, herbs, spices, meats or other flavoring agents. Originally, all cheeses were natural; fresh milk was fermented in a controlled manner to produce specific types of natural cheese. Only from the beginning of the 20th century on was natural cheese commercially blended or melted to create processed cheese. Due to the technological progress in cheesemaking, it is often difficult for a layman to determine from looks or taste what actually is a natural or processed cheese. Processed cheese has three sub-groups. Pasteurized Process Cheese that is most closely related to the natural cheese. Pasteurized Process Cheese Food that resembles pasteurized process cheese, but cream, milk or other components may be added. Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread that is similar to pasteurized cheese food, but seldom with an apparent relationship to the natural cheese used. Edible stabilizers are added and the water content increased. Both pasteurized process cheese food and pasteurized process cheese spread normally have a higher water and lower fat content than pasteurized process cheese, but the content of carbohydrates is considerably higher.
IMITATION CHEESE is any cheese that contains in some degree protein and fat from a non-animal source. Such imitation cheese is less expensive to process and is a recent product created in response to “cholesterol ” among dieters. Fear of too much cholesterol intake is seldom based on knowledge of factors relevant to nutrition and good health. In fact, faddist attitudes toward cholesterol intake can actually impair a diet rather than improve it. Several products called cheeses are on the market which are partially or exclusively produced from plant fat and protein. None of these imitations should be considered cheese in its strict sense because they are not derived from milk. In imitation cheese, protein as well as general nutritional content are not of the same high value and are not the result of a direct conversion of nature’s food – milk – into a milk concentrate and preserve. There is considerable confusion in regard to the meaning of the work “imitation” due to the fact that the U.S. Standards of Identity require the addition of the word “imitation” to any natural or processed cheese not containing the minimum fat or moisture content called for by U.S. Standards, even if the cheese is made from milk only. Imitation cheese with a dairy base has more the 50% milk or cheese components. Imitation cheese with a plant base has more than 50% plant components.
MODERN CHEESEMAKING METHODS
Fundamentally, the steps of cheesemaking are the same as they’ve been for centuries . . .
1. The process begins with fresh milk to which is added a starter culture that determines the character of the cheese; followed by the addition of color and rennet (a coagulator). The milk curdles in the vat until it is like a large custard and ready to cut with special multi-wire curd knives.
2. It is cut once horizontally and once vertically which makes thousands of cubes.
3. Stirring is begun until the curd is heated.
4. The whey is then left to drain, packing the curd against the sides of the vat.
5. The curd is then cut into slabs.
6. It is then turned and matted in a technique known as cheddaring.
7. The milling machine shreds the slabs.
8. The curd is returned to the vats for salting.
9. Salted curd is packed into stainless steel cheese hoops lined with heavy parchment to form the wrapping for the finished block of cheese. Finally the cheese is ready for curing and aging.
Temperature and humidity, vital factors in the proper curing of cheese, are carefully maintained in the curing rooms at all cheese plants. As a rule, the cheeses stay on the shelves of the factory curing rooms about four days. They are then branded with code numbers showing the plant, date of manufacture, and vat number – the pedigree of the individual makes of cheese.
Following this the cheeses are parafined and boxed. They may be held at the factory where they were made for further curing. Since storage space is limited in most factories, however, they usually are shipped to large warehouses for curing. Generally, cheddar cheese is cured from 60 days to two years.
The shorter curing period produces cheese of milk flavor and smooth waxy body. The longer the curing period, the sharper the flavor and the more change there is to the character and consistency of the body. The methods for making all cheeses are much the same as with cheddaring. The differences are the milk, the details of setting the milk, curing, stirring, heating, draining, pressing, salting the curd, and the cutting. Variances produce different characteristics and qualities for each kind of cheese. One very interesting point is that it takes 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese.
FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT CHEESE
No single book or even a series of volumes can begin to tell more than a fraction of the interesting facts about cheese. In cheese history, cookery, tradition and literature there is a rich store of material for student and connoisseur. One needs to be an authority on cheese to enjoy it. Knowledge does add to the pleasure in this field as it does in all others, however.
STANDARDS FOR CHEESEMAKING
In the United states all cheeses are made from either pasteurized milk or cured for a sufficient time to destroy all harmful micro-organisms present in raw milk. Being held at a temperature of 143 degrees F. for at least thirty minutes or at higher temperatures for a shorter period of time may pasteurize milk. The minimum time cheeses made from raw milk must be cured is 60 days.
Parmesan cheese must be cured for fourteen months and Muenster cheese must be made from only pasteurized milk. Exact standards for the manufacture of all cheese varieties made in the United States are not prescribed.
SUCCESSFUL CHEESE COOKERY
Cheese is a protein food and, as all other proteins, is toughened by high heat. All cheeses should be cooked at low temperatures, whether for simple melted cheese sauce, a soufflé, or a cheesecake. Whenever possible, cheese should be melted in a double boiler or chafing dish rather than over direct heat. Attention to this simple rule should insure the success of many a cheese dish. Do not overcook. As soon as cheese is melted, it is cooked. Overcooking will produce the same toughening effect as cooking with too high a heat.
Equivalent measurement: One – half pound of bulk or package cheese, of any variety, will make two cups of shredded cheese.
Most cheeses have different origins, tastes, and characteristics. Experts often recommend a certain type for certain serving or eating occasions. Cheese, like wine, is a matter of taste preference and is to be considered when choosing for eating or cooking. When selecting a cheese for cooking your should realize that some cheeses melt more easily than others; and some cheeses, such as blue (mold) cheese, are not recommended for cooking.
Thing to Remember -
If the cheese has a plastic-like, smooth texture, it melts easily. - If the cheese is a crumbly cheese, usually it is not good for cooking but is good for salads and fruit dishes. - If the cheese is hard and dry, grating is recommended.
Serve cheese at room temperature for top flavor. Always melt cheese at low temperatures.
CARE OF CHEESE
The keeping quality of cheeses varies greatly. Some of the hard varieties (Swiss and Parmesan) have good keeping quality. Soft cheeses (Camembert and Cream Cheese) are relatively perishable. All cheeses require special care in handling after being cut. American Cheddar, both in bulk and processed form, has good keeping quality, but once cut it tends to dry out rapidly. Mold may form on any natural bulk cheese. This mold is in no way harmful; it may be cut off before the cheese is served with no detriment to the quality or taste of the remaining cheese.
Pasteurized process cheese keeps well whenever leftover portions are rewrapped in the original wrapper and refrigerated. Bulk cheese may be wrapped in waxed paper, aluminum foil, or plastic rewrapping material. Tightly covered dishes of plastic or glass are excellent for keeping cheeses under refrigeration. Except for cooked hot cheese dishes, all cheeses should be kept under refrigeration until a few hours before serving. The flavors are best savored when the cheese is neither overly cold nor overly warm. Camembert, for example, should stand at room temperature until it has reached a semi-soft condition.
Storage recommendations for natural cheese are made to maintain the degree of curing or flavor development that is present at the time of purchase. Long holding even at refrigerator temperature will result in some additional curing and a sharper flavor. This may not be desirable, but it should be understood. Cheese should not be kept outside the refrigerator for extended periods. Exposed to air and heat, cheese dries out, “oils off” and might become moldy. Proper storage at 40 degrees F. preserves the original flavor and appearance and insures full use of the cheese without waste. While in the refrigerator cheese should be wrapped to keep it fresh and moist. Waxed paper, plastic film, aluminum foil and plastic bag are all satisfactory wrappings. The original package wrapping may be used. The important point to remember is cover tightly. The wrapping should be in close contact with the cheese to exclude air. With larger cheese which are wax coated, a portion for immediate use should be cut off and the cut end covered lightly to prevent drying.
Another effective method of protection is to dip the cut surface of the cheese in hot paraffin. Melting paraffin in a pie plate and dipping the cut surface for a few seconds can do this. Natural cheese when poorly wrapped or under moist conditions may develop mold spots. This is generally a form of harmless mold and does not affect the remainder of the cheese for eating purposes unless it has penetrated too deeply. The mold spots can be scraped off and no harm to the flavor will be noticed unless the mold has penetrated deeply into cracks in the cheese. In such cases the moldy portions should be discarded. Cheese that has become dry, especially Cheddar, Swiss and Italian varieties, may be grated and kept in covered container in the refrigerator. Use within a few days to avoid change in flavor that results from exposure to air.
Cheese (except Cottage Cheese) tastes best when it is served at about room temperature. Cut off the amount of cheese needed for serving and return the rest to the refrigerator. For best eating, cheese should be allowed to warm up for about thirty minutes after removal from the refrigerator. After the meal, the unused serving portions should be tightly wrapped and returned to the refrigerator. Small portions may be wrapped and placed in a wide mouth jar with a screw tip lid or they may be placed in the convenient plastic or metal food containers that are provided with tight covers. Pasteurized process cheese, cheese foods and cheese spreads owe their flavor to the blend of ingredients used. Because they are pasteurized in the final processing stage they do not undergo any significant flavor changes if kept at or below 70 degrees F. room temperature. It is advisable, however, to keep these products in the refrigerator after the packages are opened. When room temperatures are much above 70 degrees F., it is advisable to place these products in the refrigerator as soon as purchased to prevent drying and “oiling off” which makes the product unattractive. - Cut and serve only as much cheese as you expect to use. Though a wheel of cheese looks much more handsome than a wedge, no cheese – not even hard Cheddar – will benefit from re-refrigeration after it has been out a number of hours. - Leave enough room around each cheese so that it can be cut easily.
A board too closely covered with cheeses gets messy quickly, and makes it awkward for guests to help themselves. - Do no place strong and mild cheeses unwrapped next to each other. These should be placed well apart or served separately. - Vary the accompaniments to strong cheese. A strong cheese may be supported by beverages that are equally hearty, or their strong tastes may be contrasted with light wines and beers and with sweet butter and plain breads.
FREEZER STORAGE (AS IT PERTAINS TO HOME USAGE) NO CHEESE SHALL BE FROZEN AT STORE LEVEL.
Certain varieties of cheese can be placed in the freezer with only slight damage to the texture or eating quality. These are the hard and semi-hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, Edam, Gouda and Brick. The soft cheeses do not generally fare so well in freezing because of changes in body characteristics that are undesirable. The soft cheeses include Liederkranz, Limburger and Camembert. Bleu cheese or Roquefort tend to become crumbly after freezing and thawing; therefore, freezing is not recommended. Whole cheeses such as longhorns or loaves in their original wax coatings are protected against moisture loss if the wax coating is not broken. An overwrap, however, is advisable. For greater convenience these cheeses may be cut and wrapped in smaller portions. As a general rule, the individual pieces should not be larger than one pound to insure fast freezing. These portions should be tightly wrapped in a moisture-vapor-proof material such as aluminum foil or plastic film. Care must be taken to press the wrapping close to the surface of the cheese to prevent air pockets and drying. There is a tendency for the cheese to become dry and crumbly after frozen storage because of the crystallization of moisture during freezing. There is also the tendency for the cheese to lose surface moisture unless tightly sealed. Upon removal from frozen storage, the cheese may show mottled color due to frozen moisture on the surface. The product will resume its normal color when completely thawed. Cheese removed from the freezer should be thawed out slowly and with the wrapper on to prevent loss of moisture. Placing the package of cheese in the refrigerator or a cool room overnight is advisable.
S U M M A R Y
Care of Cheese in the Home The following suggestions on proper cheese storage can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the product. Wrap goat cheese in polyethylene wrap. Goat cheese will keep best if wrapped very tightly in self-adhering plastic wrap before it is refrigerated.
Wrap semi-hard cheese in a moist cloth. Semi-hard cheese which tends to dry out can be wrapped in a cloth which as been dampened with plain water or a mild vinegar solution. If you are going to use a vinegar solution, may we suggest 10 parts of water to one part vinegar.
Wrap soft fresh cheese in aluminum foil. Foil conserves the moisture of soft cheeses and makes them easier to handle as well as protecting them from odors. Cheese should not be subjected to changes in temperatures. It is advisable to remove only the amount of cheese one expects to use and allow the rest to remain in the refrigerator rather than warming up the whole cheese and then returning the bulk to be cooled again. In general, do not freeze cheese. It is generally not advisable to freeze cheese. Some cheeses – Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Camembert, and Parmesan – may be frozen if your freezer is 0 or lower. The texture of frozen cheese may be altered and appear rough, mealy or pebbly.
Do not expose cheese to high temperatures. Long exposures to the heat of a kitchen or heated dining room will cause the cheese to sweat some of the fat captured in the curd. Scrape mold from cheese and then serve as usual. The molds or yeast that form during storage can be wiped or cut from the cheese. They do not usually penetrate the cheese. It is a good practice to sponge cheese occasionally with a mild solution. Allow 4 to 6 ounces as a main course, or 3 ounces as a side portion to a meal.
GLOSSARY OF CHEESE TERMS NATURAL CHEESE –
That which is made directly from milk by coagulating or curdling the milk, stirring and heating the curd, draining off the whey, and collecting or pressing the curd.
PASTEURIZED PROCESS CHEESE – A skillful blend of Natural cheeses pasteurized to a point at which all further ripening stops. Minimum butterfat content – 50%. Maximum moisture content – 40%.
PASTEURIZED PROCESS CHEESE FOOD – Similar to Process Cheese in that it is a blend of cheeses but other ingredients may be added. Minimum butterfat content – 23%. Maximum moisture content – 44%.
PASTEURIZED PROCESS CHEESE SPREAD - Similar to Cheese Food except that an edible stabilizer is added. Moisture content is slightly higher and fat content slightly lower. Federal standards require 44% to 60% moisture and minimum 20% milk fat.
FLAT (WHEELS) – Round style, weighing between 32 and 37 lbs. Approximate dimensions: 6 ½” high, 14” in diameter. Waxed over cheesecloth bandage.
DAISY (WHEELS) – Weighs between 20 and 22 lbs. Approximate dimensions: 4” high, 13” diameter. Waxed over bandages.
MIDGET (WHEELS) – Small round wheel. Approximately 5” high, weighing between 11 and 12 lbs. Waxed and bandaged.
MAMMOTH (WHEELS) - A style of any American cheese (Cheddar) over 100 lbs. up to 17 tons. Comes in various shapes and sizes depending on the weight.
COLD PAK – The method of blending one or more varieties of cheese without the aid of heat.
BARREL CHEESE – Style of cheese which is cured for principal use in Process cheese manufacturing. Barrel cheese usually weighs from 470 lbs. to 640 lbs.
BLOCK – Cheese which is rectangular in shape and weighs slightly over 40 lbs.
LONGHORN – Cylindrical in shape, approximately 13” long, and weighing approximately 12 lbs. Cylinder diameter is less and height is taller than Flats and Daisies.
PRINT – A style of cheese that is rectangular in shape normally in 10 lb. loaves.
MIDGET HORN – A style similar to Longhorn except the size will range from 6 to 24 ounces. Usually saran-wrapped and wax coated.
RENNET – An enzyme from the stomach of a veal calf added to the milk at the initial stages of cheesemaking to cause the milk to coagulate
WHEY – The milky-watery substance that has been separated from the curd.
CHEDDARING – The process in making Cheddar Cheese whereby slabs of matted curd are piled one on top of the other to promote drainage of whey and the development of the acidity in the cheese.
MILK – Milk that is not pasteurized.
WASHED CURD – A semi-soft type of cheese generally sold fresh that is not aged.
PARAFFIN – A waxy substance used to coat the cheese to prevent mold.
BULK CHEESE – Cheese still in its original manufactured form such as a 40 lb. block of Cheddar Cheese.
PREPACKAGED CHEESE – Cheese that has been cut to a precise shape and weight and then packaged before it is shipped to the retail outlet. Available in random and exact weights.
LARGE EYE CHEESE – A name often used to describe Swiss cheese because of its characteristic large holes.
STATE BRAND – This signifies that the cheese is a state’s finest grade, i.e., Wisconsin Grade A. Grades are based on flavor, body, texture, color and appearance.
TRADITIONAL SHAPES AND SIZES OF CHEESE The pictures below are for your information as to ties in the overall “history” of cheese. Many of our items we sell today took their names or descriptions from these bulk shapes. Mammoth Cheddar Flat 100 lbs. & up Approx. 70 lbs. Approx. 32 lbs. Block Block Bar 40 lbs. 20 lbs. 10 lbs. Longhorn Daisy Midget Approx. 13 lbs. Approx. 20 lbs. Approx. 11 lbs.
CHEDDAR - Origin, Cheddar, England - Semi-hard, firm textured, white or orange in color - May be mild, mellow or sharp depending upon aging -One of the largest selling cheeses in American
COLBY - Origin, United States - Similar to Cheddar, but softer with more holes - Mild and white to medium-orange in color -An excellent choice for those who like a mild cheese
BRICK - Origin, United States - Creamy yellow in color, semi-soft to medium firm in texture - Numerous holes – salt, nut-like flavor -Good as snack, in sandwiches or appetizer
MUENSTER - Origin, Muenster, Germany - Semi-soft, mild to mellow flavor - Resembles brick type cheese -Packaged as sliced, chunk, round or wedges
SWISS - Origin, Switzerland - Pale yellow, semi-hard with large “eyes” or holes - Sweet, nut-like flavor -World’s most favorite sandwich cheese
BLEU - Origin, France - Semi-soft with distinctive blue-green veins - Crumbles easily - Much like Roquefort, which is made from sheep’s milk - Excellent as appetizers, in salads, or on hamburgers
MOZZARELLA - Origin, Italy - Sometimes called “Pizza Cheese” - White, milk flavored cheese - Melts to creamy smoothness and becomes slightly elastic when heated - A form of Fresh Cheese
EDAM – GOUDA - Origin, Holland - Generally recognized by their distinctive shape of round body with flat to and bottom - Mild, nut-like flavor, soft texture - Excellent for use on cheese trays
PROVOLONE - Origin, Italy - Light yellow in color; semi-hard, to firmness - Flavor ranges from mellow to sharp and may have a salty, smoky tang - Made in a varity of shapes such as balls, pears, or salami shapes - Used in ravioli or other cooked pastas, snacks or appetizers
PARMESAN - Origin, Parma, Italy - Hard, granular texture; sharp flavor - Made partly from defatted cow’s milk - Sold both as chunk or grated form
LIMBURGER - Origin, Limburg, Belgium - Soft, full flavor - Highly aromatic - Tastes better than it smells!!
CHEDDAR CHEESES Cheddar cheeses were made in England originally; however, today they are manufactured in quite a number of countries. Fully cured Cheddar is a hard, natural cheese. The rind is artificial, mostly wax, and not edible. Some Cheddars have a color added and are called “colored cheddar”. It is always made from cow’s milk, either raw or pasteurized (if made from raw milk, it is labeled as such). The texture is slightly granular, if properly cured; if it is young, the texture is smooth. Cheddar comes in various sizes; the largest commercial size is approximately 90 lbs. However, Cheddars up to 500 lbs. have been produced for special purposes. The smallest commercial size is the 8-ounce stick. Cheddars come in different shapes such as wedges, rounds or blocks. In this hemisphere, most Cheddars come from Canada, Wisconsin, upstate New York, and the New England states, mostly Vermont. There is a small amount of Cheddar coming in from England because of very restricted import license. Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, etc., do also produce Cheddars, but these are mostly used for manufacturing purposes and come in under the name of Colby Cheese. Cheddar gets a sharper taste the longer it matures. It should be stored in a cool dark room and turned frequently to assure proper uniform aging. Most of the Cheddars we buy are aged properly, but can be kept in storage for a long time under proper temperature and long storing will improve the flavor. Cheddars are sold as “mild”, “medium”, or “aged”.
DANISH CHEESES BABY GOUDA (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural cheese, semi-soft to hard. Also called Mini Fynbo or Mini Samso. Size: - Approximately 7 ounce Balls, red wax cello-wrapped. Flavor: - Mild, but distinct aromatic flavor. Pale yellow inside. Inedible wax crust. Life: - Over 3 months under proper refrigeration, ages very well. Use: - Dessert cheese, suitable for gift baskets, excellent snack cheese and with wine.
BLEU CHEESE (DANABLU) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Blue mold cheese with veins. Size: - 6 lb. rounds. Flavor: - Distinct Bleu Cheese flavor which is unmistakable, thin crust is edible. Life: - Over 6 months if kept under proper refrigeration and turned every two weeks. Danish Bleu Cheese becomes sharper as it ages. Use: - Dessert cheese, with fruit, with wine; can also be used for salad dressings or as a snack with crackers.
DANBO (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese, firmly pressed. Size: - 13 lb. squares, flat, paper wrap. Flavor: - Very distinct, between mild and tangy, unique taste. Crust is not edible. Life: - One year or more if kept under proper refrigeration and turned once a week; Danbo is one of the cheeses which improve very much by aging. Use: - Dessert cheese, table cheese, excellent with wine, and a must for a “Smorgasbord”.
FETA (Goat’s / Cow’s Milk Blended) Type: - A newcomer to the Danish cheese scene. Danish Feta has the true Feta taste; however, it is made from part skim milk. It is packed in brine like any other Feta. Size: - 1 lb. or 35 lb. tins. Flavor: - True Feta flavor (goat’s milk taste), excellent white firm body, slightly drier than Balkan Feta because of the use of part skim milk; excellent quality. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept under refrigeration. Use: - Dessert cheese; excellent with wine or as a snack cheese
FONTINA (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft cheese. Size: - Rounds, approximately 14 – 23 lbs. Flavor: - Mild, slightly sweet and pleasing, semi-soft to firm texture. Life: - 3 months and longer if properly refrigerated and turned once a week. Ages very well with the flavor getting more pronounced. Use: - Table cheese, goes very well with wine
HAVARTI (DANISH TILSIT) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural, semi-soft to hard cheese. Size: - 9 lb. loaves; also 8 ounce bars (mini Havarti) Flavor: - Mild and sweetish if young; after approximately 8 weeks it ripens to moderate sharpness and piquant flavor. Firm texture, tiny holes, white to yellow depending upon the state of maturity. Crust is not edible. Life: - Can be kept 4 months or longer if properly refrigerated and turned frequently. Use: - Table cheese or for sandwiches; very good with light wine or beer.
PORT SALUT (ESROM) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft natural cheese with tiny holes. Size: - 2 ½ lb. flats or 8 ounce bars; foil wrapped. Flavor: - Mellow and gentle flavor, lingering aroma, cuts like thick cream when left at room temperature for a while. Crust is edible although some prefer not to eat it. Inside is soft and pale yellow color. If not stored under refrigeration, it will blow up after awhile and develop a stronger flavor. Connoisseurs of Esrom prefer it that way. Life: - Six months if kept under refrigeration and turned Use: - Dessert cheese with wine or fruit.
SAMSOE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese with hole formation, Swiss type. Size: - 30 lb. rounds. Flavor: - Nut-like, sweet flavor, firm texture, crust is not edible, pale yellow inside, holes are smaller than holes on Swiss cheese. Life: - One year or longer if kept in a dry-cool place or under refrigeration and turned once a week. Aging improves flavor of Samsoe. Use: Table cheese, dessert cheese, with fruit, wines and can be used for fondue (melting).
TYPBO (EDAM) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese in the Edam family also called Banquet Cheese. Size: - 5 lb. loaves with red was; paper wrapped. Flavor: - Mild aromatic, pleasing aftertastes, firm texture, pale yellow inside; crust is not edible. Taste sharpens slightly after 3 months. Comes play or with caraway seeds. Life: - 6 months or longer if properly refrigerated and turned at least once a week. Use: - Ideal dessert cheese, use with fruit or wine; can also be used for melting.
ENGLISH CHEESES CHESHIRE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural cheese, semi-soft to hard. Size: - 9 lb. vac-pac rindless blocks. Flavor: - One of the oldest English cheeses, allegedly invented during the 12th Century. Firm texture, but more crumbly than Cheddar which it resembles. Rich, mellow, slightly salty taste; excellent aftertaste. Comes in two versions: white and yellow. The yellow version has coloring added. Life: - 3 months or longer if properly chilled and turned once a week. Flavor sharpens as it ages. Has an excellent aging quality. Use: - Cheshire is also sometimes called Chester.
CAERPHILLY (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft cheese, originally made in Wales. Size: - 9 lb. vac-pak rindless blocks. Flavor: - Very mild, white color, slightly moist and granular texture, very slight tangy taste. Life: - 3 months or longer if kept properly refrigerated and turned once a week. Use: - Easily digestible cheese, for those who like mild cheeses, table cheese, dessert cheese, also nice for picnics. Goes well with a robust wine or beer.
GLOUCESTER (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - 9 lb. vac-pak rindless blocks. Flavor: - Mild and rich; creamy mellow; texture is smooth, close and waxy; very firm; pleasing aftertaste. Life: - 3 months or longer if properly refrigerated and turned once a week. Use: - Dessert cheese; with fruit; with a pint of Bitters.
WENSLEYDALE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Medium/hard natural cheese. Size: - 9 lb. vac-pak rindless blocks. Flavor: - White to creamy-parchment colored; mild taste; flaky texture; flavor is similar to Stilton but a wee bit stronger Life: - 3 months and longer if refrigerated and turned once a week. Use: Dessert cheese, with robust wine or beer, and a “must” with apple pie!
STILTON (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Blue mold cheese. Size: - 14 lb. wheels or 7 lb. wheels; foil wrapped. Flavor: - Sometimes called the KING OF CHEESES. It has a rich and mellow flavor, piquant aftertaste, milder than Roquefort or Gorgonzola because of the use of cow’s milk. It has narrow blue-green veins and a wrinkled rind that is not edible. Texture is slightly flaky. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept under proper refrigeration and turned at least once a week to assure uniform aging; must be stored in a dark room. Use: - Tell your customer not to spoon it, but it should be cut with a knife. Excellent dessert cheeses; good for crumbling over salads and originally was the companion with Port Wine.
FRENCH CHEESES BEAUMONT (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft cheese. Size: - approximately 3 ½ lb. rounds. Flavor: - Distinct nut-like flavor, but mild; pale yellow paste with tiny holes; soft texture; reddish looking crust is not edible. Life: - Approximately 4 months at 45 temperature if turned weekly. Use: - Dessert cheese, very good with red wine.
BOURSIN (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Fresh-milk white cheese; soft ripened with added cream. Size: - 3 – 5 ounce rounds. Flavor: - Very creamy rich since 70% is butterfat. Slightly acid; very thin edible crust. Boursin is one of the true delicious cheeses. Use: - Dessert cheese; breakfast cheese; goes with wine, cognac, or any festive occasion.
BRIE (FROMAGE OF BRIE) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Soft ripened white mold cheese. Size: - 2 ¼ - 5 lb. rounds in chipwood box Flavor: - Soft, creamy, edible crust. Life: - 4 – 5 weeks under proper refrigeration. Use: - Dessert cheese; with any wine. Remarks: Brie is the best known French cheese and is also called the QUEEN OF CHEESES. Several hundred years ago, Brie was one of the tributes which the subjects had to pay to French Kings. Brie is a very delicate cheese and must be handled properly. Contrary to public opinion (and this requires consumer education), Brie is at its peak of flavor when the surface is slightly brown. As long as the surface is still white, the cheese is not mature. Cutting Brie before it ripens will stop the maturing and it will never come around properly. Brie can be cut when it is soft to the touch and does not any resistance. We recommend that you take out the Brie in the morning and leave it out on the back of the case since this does stimulate sales considerably. Don’t forget to sign it!! When you place Brie on the case it should, after a while, run like a heavy mass. After closing in the evening, put the Brie back under refrigeration. If you receive Brie in very young condition, you should keep it out for a day or two so that it ripens at room temperature. However, do not cut it yet. Just let it sit until it is ripe enough for selling. If you store Brie for later use, turn it over once a day which will assist uniform maturing and prevent caving in on one side. CAMEMBERT (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Pasteurized process cheese with grape seeds coating. Size: - 3 lb. rounds and 7 ounce wedges, vac-pak cryovac. Flavor: - Very mild, inoffensive process cheese flavor; grape seeds can be eaten or taken off before eating. Life: - 6 months and longer if kept under refrigeration. Use: - Dessert Cheese.
GOAT CHEESE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Soft ripened white goat cheese. Size: - 6 – 8 ounce in the shape of a pyramid. Flavor: - Distinct goat milk flavor; soft texture; thin crust if fully edible; white color. If outside of the cheese is discolored, it does not mean that the cheese is spoiled since discoloration is normal on these types of cheeses. Also normal is slight mold, which should be scraped away but is not harmful either if eaten. Life: - Average 6 weeks if properly refrigerated and film wrapped. Use: - Dessert cheese; also good with robust wine.
ROQUEFORT (Ewe’s Milk) Type: - Blue mold cheese, semi-soft Size: - 6 lb. rounds. Flavor: - Sharp, peppery, piquant and distinct. The blue mold is added to the curd by mixing it with powdered containing the Penicillium Roquefort mold; curing is done in caves. The texture is crumbly. Life: - 3 months or longer if kept under refrigeration and and turned weekly in a dark refrigerator. Use: - Dessert cheese, for dressings, crumbled on a salad, making dips, eaten with robust wine, placed on dark bread and many other uses.
PORT SALUT (ST. PAULIN) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - St. Paulin and Port Salut are the same cheeses, only the names differ. Port Salut is a licensed name for this type of cheese if produced under a royalty arrangement with a French monastery, ABBEY OF NOTRE DAME DU PORT SALUT. Hence, the name, “Abbey Port Salut”. The same cheese made outside of the licensing arrangement is called St. Paulin. Size: - 4 lb. rounds or 9 ounce package. Flavor: - Mild and very pleasing; creamy texture, but firm enough for slicing. Texture is butter-like. The color is pale yellow; the crust is not edible. Life: - Use: - Dessert cheese, goes well with fruit or light wine.
GERMAN CHEESES BIANCO (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural double cream 55% Tilsit type cheese. Size: - 6 lb. loaves; foil wrapped Flavor: - Mild and unique; very smooth; similar to a very creamy Tisiter; tiny holes formation; texture is creamy but firm enough for slicing; nearly white paste; thin crust is edible or may be cut away. Life: - 6 months or more if kept under proper refrigeration and turned weekly. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese, goes very well with robust wine or fruit.
BUTTERKAESE (BUTTER CHEESE) (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural cheese, semi-soft to hard. Size: - 6 lb. loaves, cryovac. Flavor: - Although it is called “Butterkaese”, it does not contain butter. The cheese derives its name from the butter-like texture, flavor, and color. The thin crust is not edible. This is a cheese with a very unusual taste. Life: - 6 months if properly refrigerated and turned weekly. Use: - Table cheese; dessert cheese; good with robust wine or beer; also good with fruit.
CREAM CHEESE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural Rahmkaese (creamy cheese). Size: - Approximately 2 ½ lb. flats; foil wrapped. Flavor: - Very mild and pleasing; tiny hole formation; nearly white paste; smooth texture; thin crust may or may not be eaten depending upon the consumer. Very unique cheese. Life: - 6 months or better if kept refrigerated and turned weekly. Use: - Ideal dessert cheese; goes well with light wine or fruit. Note: The name Cream Cheese does not indicate that it is like American cream cheese. Cream cheese is a literal translation of the German work Rahmkaese that is actually a “creamy cheese”.
HAND CHEESE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Sour milk natural ripened cheese with less than ½% buttermilk. Size: - 3 round patties per goldfoil-roll. Flavor: - Pungent; dark yellow color; no crust; for lovers of strong cheese. Life: - 6 months or more; can be frozen and defrosted without damage due to virtual absence of fat. Use: - With beer or robust wine and dark bread; sprinkle with caraway seeds or marinate with vinegar and oil. Ideal for a rustic feast.
LIMBURGER (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Soft-ripened cheese. Size: - Prepacked approximately 7-ounce bars. Flavor: - Strong; thin edible crust; soft texture. Inside is nearly white. Limburger is soft-ripened cheese that has been cured for over two months before shipment. During the cure it is constantly brushed with brine until it has absorbed all the salt. Life: - 4 – 6 months under proper refrigeration. Use: - A treat for the lover of strong cheeses with beer or red wine and dark bread.
TILSTER (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - 9 lb. loaves; foil wrapped. Flavor: - More pronounced flavor than Scandinavian Tilsiters. Tiny hole formation; firm texture suitable for slicing. Inside is off-white; crust is not edible; excellent flavor and aftertaste. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept under refrigeration and turned weekly; aging improves the flavor. Use: - Table cheese, sandwich cheese, good with robust wine and beer.
SMOKED CHEESES (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Pasteurized process cheeses with smoky flavor. Size: - 4 ½ lb. sausage shaped. Flavor: - Mild, smoky flavor; flavors obtained either plain, with caraway seeds, with salami, or with ham. Inoffensive taste with universal appeal. Artificial crust is not edible. Use: - Sandwich cheese, for canapés, with beer or wine.
FETA (Sheep’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft white cheese. Size: - 1 lb. jars or tins, 35 lb. tins. Flavor: - Distinct sheep’s milk flavor, strong; slightly acid; firm texture; crumbly consistency; white color. Life: - 3 months or more if tins or jars are unopened; after opening be sure that cheese is covered with brine all the time, otherwise it will mold fast. Must be kept refrigerated at all times, unopened or not. Use: - Eating cheese, goes well with robust wine, Retsina, or beer and dark bread.
GREEK CHEESES FETA (Sheep’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft white cheese Size: - 1 lb. jars or 35 lb. tins Flavor: - Distinct sheep’s milk flavor; strong; slightly acid; firm texture; crumble consistency; white color. Life: - 3 months or more if tins or jars are opened; after opening be sure that the cheese is covered with brine at all times, otherwise it will mold fast. It must be kept refrigerated at all times, unopened or not. Use: - Eating cheese, goes well with robust wine, Retsina, or dark bread and beer.
KASSERI (Sheep’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft to hard natural cheese. Size: - 20 lbs. and up. Flavor: - Strong sheep’s milk flavor; firm body. Life: - 3 months or longer under proper refrigeration Use: - Eating cheese, goes well with robust wine, Retsina, or dark bread and beer.
HOLLAND CHEESES GOUDA (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft to hard natural cheese, depending upon age. Size: - Up to 10 lbs. Flavor: - Slightly sweet, nut-like; firm texture; pale yellow color; wax coating is not edible; usually 48% butterfat; one of the world’s greatest cheeses. Life: - 6 months or better if kept refrigerated and turned at least weekly. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese, excellent with beer or wine.
EDAM (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft to hard natural cheese. Size: - 2 – 4 lb. balls; 5 lb. blocks, waxed, cello wrapped. Flavor: - Similar to Gouda but slightly drier texture and taste because it usually contains only 40% butterfat; the flavor is more pronounced if aged. Non-edible crust. Life: - 6 months or better if kept refrigerated and turned at least weekly.
LEYDEN (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft to hard natural cheese with caraway or cumin seeds added. Made from part-skim milk with artificial color. Size: - 9 or 15 lb. rounds. Flavor: - Bland flavor but seed give it a good taste. Life: - 3 months or more if properly refrigerated and turned. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese; excellent with beer or wine.
SMOKED GOUDA (Cow’s Milk) - Same as regular Gouda except that this cheese is slightly smoked and comes in 4 ½ lb. salami-shaped pieces with artificial crust.
GOUDA WITHOUT SALT ADDED (Cow’s Milk) - Same as regular Gouda in 10 lb. size only. However, no salt is used during manufacturing. Since the natural salt in the milk is infinitesimal, consumers on a salt-free diet can use this cheese. However, no dietary claim is made on this cheese.
ITALIAN CHEESES GORGONZOLA (Cow’s or Goat’s Milk or Mixed) Type: - Bleu cheese molds. Size: - 24 lb. wheels. Flavor: - Distinct sharp flavor, similar to French Roquefort; semi-soft; smooth to slightly grainy texture; blue-green veins throughout the cheese; light yellow paste with darker rind. Life: - If young can be kept near a year or longer under proper refrigeration and if turned frequently. Taste sharpens with age. Use: - Dessert cheese, with robust wines; good for salads and dips; good for canapes.
PROVOLONE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - From 2 to 110 lbs. Flavor: - Slightly smoky flavor; mellow; compact; smooth paste-like texture; pale yellow color; crust is not edible and ranges from yellow to dark; has strings to hang from the rafters for a better display. Life: - Will hold up to 3 years if properly stored in a cool place and if turned frequently for uniform curing. Do not hang by string when curing, rather lay flat. Use: - If up to 9 months old, use as table cheese; larger forms can be used for table cheese even if up to 14 months old (slower ripening on larger forms). Aged cheese to be used for grating.
ROMANO (Cow’s, Ewe’s or Goat’s Milk) Type: - Very hard natural cheese. Size: - Most popular size is 30 to 60 lbs. Flavor: - Mild, but piquant depending on the type of milk used; slightly granular texture; no holes; flavor sharpens as it matures; crust is not edible. Life: - 3 years or more if kept refrigerated and turned frequently. Use: - If up to one year old, use as table cheese or with red wine; if over one year old, use for grating. Note: If made from cow’s milk Vacchino Romano If made from ewe’s milk Pecorino Romano If made from goat’s milk Caprino Romano
PARMESAN Type: - Very hard natural cheese. Size: - Wheels up to 70 lbs. Flavor: - Made from part skim milk; piquant flavor; crust is not edible. Texture is very fine, granular. Must be cut with a saw since it is this hard. Life: - 3 years if stored cool and turned frequently. Use: - Primarily used as a grating cheese for Italian dishes; French onion soup; also good for salad dressing; or grate it on dark bread with lots of butter.
BEL PAESE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft cheese. Size: - 4 lb. wheels; 1 lb. rounds Flavor: - Mild; sweet; soft, firm texture; yellow paste; artificial crust is not edible; this is a Port Salut type cheese with a very pleasing taste. Life: - Approximately 3 months under proper refrigeration. Use: - Dessert cheese, good with light wine and fruit.
FONTINA (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft to medium/hard cheese. Size: - Most popular sizes are 14 and 30 lb. wheels. Flavor: - Mild; slightly sweet and pleasing; semi-soft to firm texture; pale yellow inside; crust is not edible. Life: - 3 months or longer if properly refrigerated and turned once a week. Ages very well with the flavor getting more pronounced. Use: - Table cheese, goes well with wine.
RICOTTA (Milk Whey Cheese) Type: - Soft cheese (hard if from Sicily). Size: - 5 lb. size is the most popular. Flavor: - Very mild tasting cottage cheese-type; similar to cream cheese; dry if aged. Sicilian type is hard in texture. Ricotta is made from whey collected from making other cheeses and re-cooked. Life: - 2 – 3 weeks on fresh Ricotta, stored under refrigeration. Use: - Used for most Italian dishes; hard Ricotta can be used for grating.
NORWEGIAN CHEESES BLEU CHEESE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Blue mold natural cheese. Size: - 6 lb. rounds; foil wrapped. Flavor: - Slightly sharp peppery taste, but mild aftertaste. Thin crust is not edible; will sharpen during aging. Life: - Up to 3 weeks under proper refrigeration and frequent turning. Use: - Dessert cheese, salads, dressings, dips, canapes.
EDAM (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft to hard natural cheese. Size: - 4 lb. balls, red wax. Flavor: - Mild and sweet; firm consistency; pale yellow paste, crust is not edible. Life: - Up to one year if properly refrigerated and turned weekly. Taste improves with age. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese, good with wine or fruit. Can be mailed during the cooler season.
GJETOST (Goat’s Milk) Type: - Hard cheese made from boiled goat’s milk whey; either blended with cow’s milk (called “B/G”), or from 100% goat’s milk (called “Ekva”). Size: - 8 ounce to 1 lb. prepacked in foil; 9 lb. in bulk. Flavor: - Sweetish caramel taste, dark brown in color, hard texture. Life: - Non-perishable; just keep in a cool place. No bacteria action since it is made from cooked milk. Use: - Dessert cheese and for sandwiches; must be sliced paper-thin; good on Norwegian flatbread as a snack; Norwegian children eat Gjetost in place of candy.
JARLSBERG (NORWAY BABY SWISS (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard Swiss-type cheese. Size: - 20 lb. rounds or 11 lb. blocks in cryovac. Flavor: - Consistency, texture and hold formation is similar to Swiss cheese, but flavor is more nut-like and it has a beautifully pleasing aftertaste. The texture is not too dry and not too moist, but just right. Artificial crust is not edible. Life: - One year or longer if kept refrigerated and turned once a week to assure uniform aging. The taste improves with age. This is one of the best cheeses in the world. The 20 lb. size perfect for easy handling and the wax cover protects it well during an extended storage for aging. Use:
TILSIT (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - 9 lb. loaves. Flavor: - Mild Tilsit flavor (milder than German Tilsiter), similar to Danish Havarti; pale yellow inside; firm texture; crust is not edible; improved flavor with age. Very pleasing cheese on the mild side. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept refrigerated and turned frequently. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese, for sandwiches, good with robust wine or beer.
SWEDISH CHEESES FONTINA (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft natural cheese, red wax. Size: - 11 lb. rounds. Flavor: - Very mild; firm consistency; pale yellow color; crust is not edible. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept refrigerated and turned weekly. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese, for sandwiches.
SKANDIA TABLE CHEESE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Semi-soft natural cheese; yellow wax crust. Size: - 11 lb. rounds. Flavor: - Very mild; firm consistency; pale yellow color; crust is not edible. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept refrigerated and turned weekly. Use: - Table cheese, dessert cheese, for sandwiches.
TILSIT Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - 9 lb. loaves; foil wrapped. Flavor: - Similar to Danish Havarti with the same characteristics. Mild and sweetish if young; after approximately 8 weeks it ripens to moderate sharpness and piquant flavor. Firm texture, tiny holes, white to yellow color depending upon the state of maturity. Crust is not edible. Life: - Can be kept 4 months or longer if properly refrigerated and turned frequently. Use: - Table cheese or for sandwiches, very good with light wine or beer.
SWISS CHEESES EMMENTAL (Cow’s Milk) (Also called EMMENTALER) Type: - Natural hard-pressed cheese. Size: - Approximately 180 lb. wheels and 10 lb. rindless backless super cuts in cryovac. Flavor: - Mild, sweetish, nut-like; elastic texture with hold formation, rind is edible; pale yellow color; flavor becomes more pronounced with age. Life: - 2 years or more if properly cured by placing the wheels in a dark, refrigerated room, and the cheese turned frequently. This assures proper maturing and improves the flavor. Use: - Table cheese, sandwich cheese, dessert cheese, salads fondues, with any beverage – universal use.
GRUYERE (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - 80 lb. wheels. Flavor: - Similar to Emmental but more pronounced; smaller hold formation; crust is not edible; texture is chewy, very pleasing aftertaste, well-aged Gruyere should have small cracks. Life: - 2 years or more if properly refrigerated and cheese is turned frequently. Use: - Table cheese, sandwich cheese, and the “must” cheese for fondues.
APPENZELLER (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Natural hard cheese. Size: - 15 lb. wheels. Flavor: - Subtle flavor and aroma; smaller and fewer holes than Emmentaler; cured in white wine and spices which gives it the unique piquant flavor; firm texture; golden yellow paste, crust is not edible. Life: - 2 years or more if properly refrigerated and turned frequently. Use: - Raclette is the name of the cheese and also the name of a dish made by melting thin slices or broiling thin slices under a broiler (or better still, with a faclette oven) and served with boiled potatoes, pickles or green salad. Also to be used for topping broiled fish before broiling or placing on top of spaghetti dishes before taking them out of the oven.
SAP SAGO (Cow’s Milk) Type: - Very hard grating cheese. Size: - 1 ½ to 3 ounce cones; foil wrapped. Flavor: - Sharp flavor, pungent aroma due to the use of a powder made from clover leaves and added to the cheese during manufacturing. Green color, no rind, cheese is made from slightly sour skimmed milk. Life: - 6 months or longer if kept under refrigeration. Use: - Salads, pasta dishes, used in cooking.
CHEESE VARIETIES AND DESCRIPTIONS You have just completed a review of many of the most popular cheese varieties. There are countless more. We strongly recommend: U.S. Dept of Agriculture Handbook #54, CHEESE VARIETIES AND DESCRIPTIONS. The handbook is a valuable aid that answers many questions about cheese. The library, cheese manufacturers, salesmen and bookstores are all excellent sources for additional cheese information.
MOLDS Probably the best known microorganisms, molds, are widely distributed in nature and grow under a variety of conditions. They are also plants and a part of the fungi family. Nearly everyone has seen mold growth on damp clothing and old shoes. So many may find it hard to believe that mold is a microorganism. However, the mold we see with the naked eye is actually a colony of millions of mold cells growing together. Molds vary in appearance. Some are fluffy and filament-like; others are moist and glossy; still others are shiny.
REPRODUCTION AND GROWTH
Unlike bacteria, molds are made up of more than one cell. Vegetat cells sustain the organism by taking in food substances for energy and the production of new cell material. Reproductive cells produce small “see” cells called spores. Unlike bacterial spores, mold spores are the source of new mold organisms. Bacterial spores generally form only when environmental conditions are unfavorable. Molds produce a stem consisting of several cells. Together, these cells form a “fruiting body”. The fruiting body produces the spores which detach and are carried by air currents and deposited to start new mold colonies whenever conditions are favorable. Mold spores are quite abundant in the air. Any food allowed to stand in the open soon becomes contaminated with mold if adequate moisture is present. Some types of molds are also psychrophiles and can cause spoilage of refrigerated foods. Molds are important to the food industry. Among their many contributions are the flavor and color they add to cheeses, and the making of soy sauce.
They also play a role in the making of such chemicals as citric and lactic acid and many enzymes. Molds can also cause problems in foods. Certain kinds can produce poisons called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins have only recently been discovered and little is know about what causes molds to produce them. Probably the best know use of molds is in the drug industry, where they help produce such antibiotics as penicillin. Cheese provides materials that are very satisfactory for the nutrition of molds and, since spores are so widely distributed, development of these organisms occurs when the requirements as to air, humidity and temperature are met.
Because of the air supply necessary, mold growth occurs mainly at the surface of the cheese. It may be partly controlled by a coat of paraffin but cracks in the paraffin, which often are due to collection of moisture beneath, afford an opportunity for growth to start and it then may extend rather rapidly. Special types of waxes that are flexible and adhere well to the cheese are helpful in controlling mold growth and reducing loss of moisture from the cheese. In some instances mold growth follows openings down into the cheese, and the plugging of cheese commonly results in development of molds along the opening and the returned plug. Humidity and temperature of storage rooms for cheese commonly are suitable for mold growth so that limiting the air supply is the principal meals of control. Any surface mold that develops on hard natural cheese should be trimmed off completely before the cheese is used. However, in mold-ripened cheeses such as Bleu and Roquefort, mold is an important part of the cheese and can be eaten. If mold penetrates the interi of cheese that are not ripened by molds (such as Cheddar and Swiss) are cut away the moldy portions or discard the cheese.