The following are basic facts to know about how cheese is made.
According to how much fat content is removed from the milk, we will have:
- Whole milk fat cheeses:42% fat content
- Semifat: less than 42% fat
- Skimmed: less than 20% fat
During the preparation of cheese, the curd can be brought to various temperatures; accordingly the results can vary.
- Raw cheese: If temperature does not exceed 100 °F (38 °C).
- Semi-cooked: If temperature is between 100-120 °F (38-49 °C).
- Wholly-cooked: If temperature exceeds 120° F (49 °C).
Aging is determined by the time the cheese is allowed to rest from the time it is done. Therefore we have:
- Fresh: Cheese consumed immediately.
- Aged: Those cheeses that must rest in proper storages for long periods, before they are ready for consumption.
According to how a cheese is made, it can be categorized as follows:
- Fresh: i.e., mozzarella, mascarpone
- Soft: i.e., gorgonzola, stracchino, taleggio
- Hard: i.e., parmigiano, pecorino
How to Keep Cheese
It is best to keep cheese in a dark, humid, ventilated room, at a constant temperature of 45-50 °F (7-10 °C). If it has to be refrigerated, it is advisable to store in the vegetable section in perforated paper or cheese cloth to allow air to go through.
How to Serve
The basic rule is to serve cheese at room temperature at all times. Cheese can be served with fruit, or vegetables. For instance, pecorino romano is traditionally served with fava beans, and goat cheeses with radishes. Bread, of course, is a most important element in serving cheese large crusty country loaves, olive bread, walnut bread and bread with sesame seeds are all appropriate. Many cheeses are suitable to serve cooked, especially the soft, fresh types such as: mozzarella, ricotta, fontina.