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Cheese guide: how to choose a quality product and how to serve it


Source: ADME

Did you know that cheese appeared before writing? And since then, millions of people around the world can not imagine their life without him. But, unfortunately, not everyone knows how to distinguish cheeses from each other, with what it is better to combine them and how to choose the right one, writes ADME.

Photo: Shutterstock

If for breakfast you like to make yourself a sandwich with cheese, love cheesecake or just cut cheese for wine, then you probably often ask yourself: which product is better to take? We offer you a small guide to cheeses.

What is cheese?

How is cheese obtained? Milk is pasteurized, ferment, enzymes or bacteria are added (and sometimes all together), fermented, the dense cheese grain is separated from the whey, the heads are formed and kept from one month to several years. The cheese is ready.

There are more than 2 types of cheese in the world, and each of them is unique. It is made from goat, cow, sheep, mare, camel and even yak milk. And for vegetarians there is soy cheese - tofu.

There are many classifications of cheeses, but in general all cheeses can be divided into:

  • rennet (rennet is used to coagulate milk)
  • sour-milk (sour-milk bacteria are used for coagulation of milk)

Rennet cheeses, in turn, are divided into:

  • solid and semi-solid
  • soft
  • brine

But more on that later.

How to store cheese

Although in fact cheese is already sour milk, it must be stored according to the rules. Good cheese ripens its entire life. From improper storage, it becomes covered with mold or bloom, crumbles, sour and loses its taste. It is better to store cheese in a glass container with a lump of sugar - it absorbs moisture. The optimum storage temperature is 3-8 °, humidity is 90%. Do not store cheeses next to meat, lard, fish. If in the store the cheese lies next to the sausage, this is a violation of the commodity neighborhood. Such cheese should be discarded.

Useful properties of cheese

В cheese a high percentage of protein (up to 25%), fats (up to 60%), calcium, zinc, phosphorus and folic acid. Its proteins are absorbed better than milk proteins. Cheese improves digestion and stimulates appetite, favorably affects the endocrine system, and a large number of vitamins A, D, E, B1, B2, B12, C, PP helps to survive seasonal vitamin deficiency.

Goat and sheep milk cheeses will appeal to those who have lactose intolerance. Depending on the type, calorie content and fat content may be different.

Hard and semi-hard cheeses

Hard cheeses are the ones with holes. Hard cheeses have a low moisture content, they reduce the rate of development of microorganisms, so they are stored longer than soft cheeses. They ripen from 4 weeks to several years. The harder and denser the cheese, the longer it takes to mature.

Representatives: Parmesan, cheddar, maasdam, beaufort, tilsiter, "Russian", "Monastyrsky".

What to eat with: Hard cheeses are added to pasta and sauces. They are sprinkled with hot dishes, salads, served as a dessert with fruit. They are great for hot sandwiches. Lingonberry or onion jam, honey, chopped pear, grapes and apples can be served on a cheese plate made of hard cheeses.

On the subject: Benefit and harm: what happens to the body when you eat cheese

Soft cheeses

Soft cheeses deteriorate faster than hard ones due to the high percentage of moisture. Some varieties may have a mold (camembert, brie) or natural (mara, romadur) crust. Soft cheeses contain up to 85% of digestible proteins, a large amount of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

Representatives: Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Dor Blue, Gorgonzola, Ricotta, Mascarpone, Philadelphia.

What they eat with: Camembert is fried and baked. Ricotta, brie and mascarpone are suitable for baked goods, salads and desserts. Blue cheeses are great for sauces. And soft cheeses will be a great decoration for a cheese plate or fondue. Sweet fruit or onion jam can be served with soft cheeses.

Pickled cheeses

This cheese matures in brine and therefore has no crust. The fat content is no more than 45%, and the salt content reaches 7-10%. Brine cheeses are rich in folic acid, vitamins A, B, C, E, PP.

Representatives: Mozzarella, feta, Ossetian, suluguni, feta cheese, chechil, halumis.

What they eat with: Feta, feta cheese and Ossetian cheese are suitable for salads and cold snacks. Halloumis is eaten fried. Pickled cheeses are great for baking. And, of course, for a cheese plate. You can combine them with fresh strawberries or honey.

Sour-milk cheeses

The main difference between sour-milk and rennet cheeses is the method of fermenting milk. For this, lactobacilli are used. Sometimes rennet is added to fermented milk sourdough. This type of cheese is called mixed.

Representatives: Adyghe, Kharts, handkese, milbenkeze, green, miner.

What they eat with: Adyghe cheese is good when combined with fresh strawberries and honey. Fermented cheeses are great for a cheese platter. You can sprinkle them with capers or nuts. And also use on sandwiches in combination with fresh herbs or avocados.

On the subject: How to eat cheese and serve a cheese plate

How to choose quality cheese

Take a closer look. A good cheese has a uniform yellow color. A bright yellow color may indicate that dye was added to the cheese. Pay attention to the holes: in a good cheese, the holes are about the same size and evenly distributed. The presence of mold and white plaque indicates its improper storage (if the case does not apply to Camembert and blue cheese). The liquid in which brine cheese is stored should not be cloudy.

Take a sniff. Poor quality cheeses often smell like ammonia or acid, and spoiled ones have a rotten and rancid odor. If the cheese does not smell at all, then in front of you is most likely a cheese product. The less milk in the composition, the less pronounced cheese flavor.

Touch it. Hard cheeses have a dense and uniform consistency. The edges should be free of cracks and chips. And the crust itself is pleasant to the touch, not sticky and not slippery. When pressed from liquid cheese, no liquid should be separated. Pickled cheeses should not crumble and stick easily.

Give it a try. Good cheese has no ammonia or sour taste, and it does not grit on the teeth. Pickled cheeses should not be very salty. They are sometimes overloaded to increase shelf life.

Cheese and wine

  • White wine goes better with cheese than red. This is due to the fact that white wine is devoid of tannins. But there are exceptions.
  • Blue cheeses interrupt a delicate bouquet of white wines. Therefore, blue cheeses are great friends with red wine and vintage port.
  • For a plate of soft cheeses, choose dry and semi-dry rosé wines.
  • Light fruit wines will complement delicate goat cheese. Sparkling wines also go well with goat cheese.
  • The combination of hard, strong cheese and sweet white wines is not recognized by all cheese sommeliers. But we advise you to try.
  • The choice of wine depends on the maturity of the cheese. Aged wine is served with mature cheese, young cheese is served with young cheese.
  • Cheese and wine produced in the same area suit each other best.

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