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Cheese Terms

Blue: A strain of penicillium is added to the milk before the rennet stage - nowadays, the cheese is generally pierced with rods to allow air in and encourage the mould to grow.

Fresh Cheese: These range from fromage frais to mozzarella and are only left to curdle for a few hours.

Hard Cheese: The curds of this type of cheese have been cut-up finely to drain more of the whey, then matured for months or years - rather than weeks.

Low Fat Cheese: These are made from skimmed milk.

Natural Rind: French goats' cheese usually has a natural rind, which means the fresh cheeses have been left to drain and the rind to develop. See 'Rind'; 'Washed Rind'

Paste: The substance inside the rind.

Pressed Cheese: The curds of this type of cheese have been pressed, to extract whey more quickly.

Raw milk: Made with unpasteurised milk, so shouldn't be eaten by the very young or the elderly. Cheese made with raw milk generally has more character than that made woith pasteurised milk.

Rennet: A enzyme coming from the stomach of a calf or lamb. This is used to help the separation of milk into curds, which are then used to make the cheese, and whey - the remaining liquid (which is sometimes made into butter). Vegetarian alternatives are used in the production of cheese suitable for vegetarians.

Rind: The exterior - this is sometimes edible, as with Brie, or sometimes not, as with Edam. See 'Natural Rind'; 'Washed Rind'

Semi-Hard: The curds of this type of cheese have been drained and then matured so they are firmer, drier and richer in flavour than soft cheeses.

Semi -Soft: The curds of this type of cheese have been cut-up to release whey, resulting in a drier texture.

Soft white cheese: This category is used to describe soft cheeses such as Brie. Most soft white cheeses are curds that have been drained and matured, and have a characteristic white mould.

Starter: A culture added to milk to speed-up and control the curdling process in fermented food - such as cheese.

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