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Cheese Speak

Artisan or Special Cheese

Cheeses that are generally handmade, and in small batches.

 

Bacteria

Unique microbes used in cheesemaking which produce specific flavours in the cheese. The most common are Brevibacterium linens, used in washed rind cheeses and Propionibacterium, which produces the eyes in Swiss-stye cheeses.

 

Brine

A salt and water solution. While many cheeses are dry salted, some soft cheeses are immersed in brine or washed with a brine solution prior to maturation. Other cheeses, such as feta, are stored in brine.

 

Curd

At the beginning of cheesemaking, the milk is set into a gel, then separated into solid (curd) and liquid (whey) components. The curd is used to make cheese and consists mainly of protein, fat and fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.

Eyes

The holes that form inside Swiss and Dutch-style cheeses. They are formed by the carbon dioxide released by bacteria during maturation.

 

Farmhouse Cheese

Cheese made on the farm using only milk from that farm.

 

Maturation

Also known as ripening or aging. Fresh cheeses are not matured, but most other cheeses spend some time maturing before they are ready to eat.

Mould

Microbes added to the milk during cheesemaking that help ripen the cheese. These edible moulds contribute to the unique textures and  flavours in cheese.

 

Rind

The external surface of the cheese. It can consist of moulds or bacteria (in the case of white mould and washed rind cheeses), a hard crust (such as parmesan or gruyere), or be covered in cloth or wax (as for many cheddars). Generally, fresh cheeses don't have a rind.

 

Rennet

An enzyme that converts milk from a liquid to a solid during the initial stages of cheesemaking. Traditional rennet is derived from animals, but most Australian cheese is now made with non-animal rennet, produced in laboratories.

 

Starter Cultures

Special microbes added to the milk at the beginning of cheesemaking. They help acidity  the milk and produce specific styles of cheese with distinctive flavours and textures.

 

Surface Ripened

Cheeses that ripen from the outside in towards the centre. They normally have a coating of special moulds or bacteria on the outside, such as white mould and washed rind cheeses.

 

Whey

At the beginning of cheesemaking, the milk is set into a gel, then separated into solid (curd) and liquid (whey) components. The whey is either drained away or used to make other products, such as ricotta. Whey consists mostly of the lactose and water-soluble vitamins and minerals from the milk.