Cheese is a complex food thats flavors are developed through 4 character shaping components.
4 Character shaping components:
1. Type of Milk
2. Size of the Curd
A note from the chef:
Simple I am but that is the man I am, macaroni and cheese what a favorite. My
grandmother makes the best, extra sharp cheddar, condensed milk, dried mustard,
whole milk,roux, and some fresh ground pepper of course. I can envision dipping the
spoon into the sauce after the cheese incorporates, coats the spoon, and savoring
every bit, going back again for more. With out a doubt one of my most favorite dishes
of all time. I used to always be a "cheese cooked" guy, not really appreciating different
cheeses. Like people, cheeses each have their own characteristics.
I worked for a catering group out of Boston “Creative Gourmet” in the late 90’s, where
we would do cheese displays on a regular basis. Occasionally we would get the most
atrocious cheese that you could believe. Morbier, you could not believe the vomit like
smell when you opened this cheese up. Initially I was aghast that people would
actually eat this cheese. Then it sank in, if it smells that bad, and is that expensive,
there has to be something to it. I tried the Morbier, oh my, it was delicious subtle
almost fruity. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and totally thought of cheese
differently, this doesn’t mean you will enjoy it, but if you have a chance give it a try.
Characteristics and Making Cheese
1. Type of Milk and coagulation of proteins- the type of milk (cow, goat, sheep, horse
and camel) has enzymes added to it called rennet. This rennet speeds up the
coagulation of the proeteins, forming a custard textured solid which seperates
from the liquids.
2. Shaping the curds - These solid proteins are like a big gelatinous cake that is then cut
into different sizes,the larger the curd yields a softer cheese, medium curd would
be firmer and small would be hard. The larger the curd the more moisture is
retained. Examples would be for soft: Brie for hard: reggiano parmesan
3. Salting - this character building phase assists developing the cheese as it matures in the
next phase. The salt acts as a control in bacteria growth, rind structuring, and
flavor. It is here that a blue cheese would be injected with the bacteria or mold
culture which gives blue cheese its distinct "veins" and flavor characteristics.
Some cheeses are introduced to a white mold as in Brie.
4. Maturing -is the final stage of the cheese making process. This is where the flavors
develop in the controlled atmosphere of a ripening cellar or storage room. The
release of carbon dioxide & ammonia in the presence of oxygen combine to
sharpen flavors over the course of time. The cheese can be "basted" with
solutions such as "wine" or another solution with specific flavor profiles. The
flavors develop the longer it matures.
Click on the following page Cheese and Descriptions to see some cheeses and their characteristics.
Also click on Glossary of Cheese to learn some common cheese terms