There are many ways to classify cheese. We will try to keep it simple and easy. Five basic types of cheese are as follows:
• Blue Cheese
• Soft & Fresh Cheese
Within each type of cheese there are ways to further break down each category. We would like to just break it down by different milk types within each classification. The different milk types are as follows:
• Cow’s Milk
• Goat’s Milk
• Sheep’s Milk
• Buffalo Milk
• Mixed Milk (any combination of the above)
To give further information on each cheese type this is a detailed description of each.
Blue Cheese – (or bleu cheese) is a general classification of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk cheeses that have had Penicillium added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue, blue-gray or blue-green mold, and carries a distinct smell. Some blue cheeses are injected with spores before the curds form and others have spores mixed in with the curds after they form. Blue cheeses are typically aged in a temperature-controlled environment such as a cave. Some samples of blue cheese include Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Mitiblue, Point Reyes, and Maytag.
Soft & Fresh Cheeses – is the second classification of cheeses that can be made up of all the different milk types as well. The fresh cheeses are typically light or mild in flavor and need to be consumed in a more rapid fashion. The soft cheeses are aged a bit longer than fresh cheeses and can be mild to strong in flavor. They will typically have a longer shelf life usually up to one month. Some examples of fresh cheese include Mozzarella, Cornilly, and Robiola Bosina. Soft cheeses include Brie, Brie de Meaux, and Rocchetta.
Semi-Soft Cheeses – these are cheeses that have a slightly firmer texture than soft cheeses but not aged long enough to be considered a hard for firm cheese. They range in flavor profile from mild to strong, and tend to be good for cooking as they usually melt well. Some examples of semi-soft cheeses include Chimay, Fontina Val d’aosta, Humboldt Fog.
Hard Cheese – these are cheeses that are aged for a long period of time, generally over 6 months to up to 5 years. They are not only grating cheese, they include all types of cheese which are great for any cheese board. There is generally much less moisture in these cheeses as the cheese matures they tend to get a unique crystallization which is packed with flavor. They include Parmigiano Reggiano, 5 Year Old Gouda, Pecorino Romano and Gruyere.
Stinky Cheese – there are cheeses that have been given there name by their smell. They are usually softer in nature and have a washed rind usually orange in color and sticky my texture. Typically there smell is stronger than the flavor profile but not always the case, so beware! They include Epoisse, Camembert, and Monte Enebro.