ingredient information
Cheese Semisoft
Definition: Cheese falls into two broad categories--fresh and ripened. These categories have numerous subdivisions, classified by texture and manufacture. Categories overlap because a cheese can be entirely different when young than aged. Most cheese begins as milk (usually cow's, goat's or sheep's) that is thickened (sometimes with rennin or special bacteria) until it separates into liquid (whey) and semisolids (curd). The whey is drained off and the curds are drained or pressed. Its now called fresh (or unripened) cheese; examples include cottage cheese and ricotta. For ripened (or aged) cheese, curds are cured by heat, bacteria or soaking. Curds are sometimes flavored with salt, spices or herbs and dyed. After curing, natural cheese begins ripening, during which it's stored until reaching the desired texture. Ripened cheeses are further classified by texture. Hard cheeses like Parmesan and pecorino are cooked, pressed and aged until hard and dry, and are generally used for grating. Semifirm cheeses such as cheddar and Jarlsberg are firm but not crumbly.