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How to Classify Cheese

How to Classify Cheese

Some examples of hard cheeses, clockwise from top left: Emmentaler, aged provolalone, Gruyere, manchego, aged Gouda, aged Cheddar, aged pecarino antico mugella, ricotta salata.

Culinary Institute of America

Semi-Soft Cheeses

Semi-soft cheeses include a wide variety ranging from mild and buttery to very pungent and aromatic. They are allowed to ripen in several ways. Dry-rind cheeses are those that are allowed to form a natural rind during ripening. Gouda and Edam are semi-soft cheeses that are sealed in wax prior to the aging process. These cheeses, which get their names from two towns in Holland, have been made for eight hundred years. Gouda is made from whole milk and tends to be softer and richer than Edam, which is made from part-skim milk and is firmer in texture. These cheeses may be either flavored or smoked, and are available in mild and aged varieties.

Semi-Soft Cheeses

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