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There are basically 3 categories where you can divide cheese in; soft, hard & moulded cheeses. In this 3-post serie the focus in on those 3, to start with soft cheeses (& a crash course of cheese making).
Soft cheeses are...soft. You can squeeze them, they're (sometimes) runny & not particularly made to cook with. They should be eaten within days, as they spoil faster than the firmer cheeses. Below two known soft cheese types.
Camembert is a soft cheese from cow’s milk & originates from Normandy in the East of France. The very first Camembert cheese was made from unpasteurized milk, but now it’s by French law the milk has to be pasteurized, due to health regulations. Pasteurization is basically heating up the fresh cow’s milk to kill the bacteria.
The cheese is made by adding good bacteria (that determines the flavour) & rennet (an enzyme that makes the milk solid) to the pasteurized cow’s milk. After the curd (the solid part) & the whey (the leftover liquid) are separated, the curd is put into the round molds. The molds are then turned for some time, allowing the whey to completely drain from the curds.
When the cheese is dried-up & hard, the surface of each Camembert is sprayed with the mould Penicillium, and laid to rest for a legally required minimum of 3 weeks. This mould creates the distinct white bloomy skin of the Camembert. When the cheeses are ripe, they wrapped in the little known wooden crates ready to be sold.
Camembert’s taste has quite rich & sweet flavours, with buttery smooth texture & earthy aromas.
Mozzarella is the Italian white soft cheese everyone knows. It originates from South Italy, Campania to be precise & is made from buffalo milk. Pasteurized that is.
Mozzarella is made in the special ‘’Pasta Filata’’ technique, giving it that typical elastic soft texture we all love. The cheese-making starts as normal. After the separation of the curd & whey, the curd is laid the rest for a couple of hours. Then the cheeses are put into a hot whey or water bath with temperatures up to 95C. When the cheese begin to float, the whey or water liquid is drained off & the curd is mixed & kneaded until the right soft elastic texture is reached. They’re then cut & rolled in the round balls, vacuum-bagged up with a splash of brine (salt water) & ready for sale.
Mozzarella’s taste is milky with an acidic touch. The texture is quite smooth & creamy with fresh aromas.
More soft cheeses, try: Brie, Munster, Port-Salut & Reblochon.