How To Buy Soft Cheese?
When it comes to buying cheese there is variety galore to make your pick from, through the texture and flavor. There are the hard, semi-soft, semi-hard, the soft cheese and many more in a long-line to satiate cheese-lovers from around the world.
Before we move on to the tips on buying soft cheese, let us explore as to what are the different varieties of soft cheese available.
Soft Cheese – Nature and texture
Each cheese’s texture and flavor varies with its country of origin. The basic properties remain the same but they “firm up” in varying degrees- texture and taste-wise depending on the way they are made. Soft-ripened cheeses are also referred to as surface-ripened or bloomy cheeses, which can be made from raw or pasteurized milk. The rind of the soft cheese is edible and is made by spraying a special mold on the surface of the cheese, during the short ripening process.
The soft-ripened cheeses
• Brie: With its mild fruity and tangy flavor, brie is a popular soft cheese, that goes well with fruits or savory crackers .
• Camembert: With a mild salty flavor tinged with a nutty flavor, the French cheese is famously associated with nuts, fresh, dried fruits and baguettes.
• Teleme: This California specialty cheese is tangy with a nutty flavor and has a white rind. Soft and creamy in texture, the cheese is finished in three styles namely flour teleme, semi-soft teleme and the plain teleme. This soft-ripened cheese can be used as a table cheese, and is customarily used in dishes such as risottos and pizzas .
Soft, un-ripened Cheeses
There are also the soft un-ripened cheeses, which are not allowed to mature or go through the aging process. These include:
• Cottage cheese: At the time of making cottage cheese, the milk curds are not pressed rather they are stirred, which renders the soft, creamy texture and a milky flavor.
• Cream cheese: Mild and velvety in texture, this acid curd cheese, needs a starter culture for the process.
• Quark: Of German origin, this cheese is soft, creamy and can be used as a spread.
• Neufchatel: The cheese is soft and creamy with a nutty and mildly sweet flavor.
• Mascarpone: The cream cheese of Italian origin has a buttery flavor.
• Ricotta: Another Italian soft cheese, which has a moist texture, smooth-sailing its way into many an Italian recipe.
• Fromage Blanc: Belongs to the very soft variety of cheese, which makes it good as a spread.
Tips on buying soft-cheese
Now that you have some bit of knowledge about the soft-cheese varieties, here are a few tips on buying it:
• Soft cheese does not have a long shelf –life, so it is important to refer the expiry date and “best before use” period before buying.
• Most of the soft-cheeses are basically made from three milk types – cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s. Cow’s milk cheese renders a buttery texture; goat’s milk, a tang and sheep’s milk cheese has a nutty flavor. You know what to expect when you know the origin of the cheese.
• Another good beginning with cheese is to go for the cheese test where you could request your cheese-seller to allow you to taste the cheese.
• Find out about the best use of the cheese you are going to buy. If you don’t have sufficient information, consult a cheese expert who would be able to give you some guidance.
• Know about which wines will go best with different varieties of soft cheeses, as each variety has a distinct flavor and texture.
• Your nearest supermarket will have the basic soft cheeses available. There is also the grocer’s who will sport the variety you want and, last but not the least you can also buy the cheese online, but be sure of the brand before you buy.
Soft cheese, which can melt or crumble in your mouth oozing with the milk of richness all the way down, is a delight and, when you have the right pointers about buying one, the tryst with your cheese can be one of “Oo la la”!
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