Welcome to our Cheese Dictionary
From the French word “affine” which means to refine, here it refers to the process of maturing and aging cheese.
Professional overseer of cheese aging.
Refers to cattle grazed in alpine regions during summer, which defines particular qualities of the milk and resulting cheese such as Gruyère, Beaufort, Appenzeller and Comté.
Describing cheese that smells or tastes of ammonia, being overripe or spoiled. This is the result of the natural breakdown of the surface bacteria of white mould cheese with the air which can be extremely bitter to taste. This process is a reminder that cheese is a natural, dynamic product that is best consumed when the cheese is at its peak ripeness.
An orange-red food colouring and mild condiment derived from the seeds of the Achiote tree. It is often used to impart a yellow or orange color to foods, but sometimes also for its flavor and aroma.
Artisan cheeses are those made from milk sourced from a specific farm or region. A number of our cheese makers are in this class because we feel that the resulting cheeses have specific flavours that reflects those regions or herds. Other styles are Farmhouse and Industrial.
The term ‘bloomy rind’ describes soft cheeses that have a white rinded exterior, such as Brie or Camembert. Because the air surrounding the cheese drives mould growth around the outside of cheese, it is often seen as ripening from the ‘outside in’.
Blue mould introduced into the cheese by piercing to introduce oxygen.
Bacteria used on wash rind cheeses that creates an orange crust and strong odour.
Cheese that is sprinkled with vegetable ash such as goat’s cheese.
A process of coagulating and draining curds together for a few hours until they amass and can be sliced and stacked.
Describes the smooth dense texture of a cheese such as Cheddar.
Describes a cheese with small holes in it such as Colby.
These are the milk solids once coagulation has taken place.
Molecules that assist the aging process of cheese.
Refers to holes in cheeses such as Swiss.
Farmhouse cheeses are those made on the same farm or property that the milk is sourced from. Our cheese makers are predominantly in this class because we feel that the resulting cheeses reflect the specific characteristics of their unique milk and provenance.
French for ‘cheese made on the farm’ or ‘farmhouse cheese’.
Refers to cheeses that are young and less than a few weeks old. Cheeses such as ricotta and chevre are examples of fresh cheese.
French for cheesemaker
A yeasty mould used in bloomy rind cheeses as a secondary process to stop Penicillium candidum from overwhelming and giving a bitter flavor.
Unripe cheese, not ready to eat.
Industrial cheeses are those made from milk that isn’t sourced from a specific region or farm. Quite often these cheeses are made in massive scale to service major retailers or manufacturers and they lack the specific profiles or flavours that more unique practices highlight.
These are organisms that grow in yogurt and cheese culture.
Normandy Style Camembert
The first ever Camembert was made in Normandy from unpastuerised milk and then treated with mesophilic bacteria and added rennet. The cheese is then ripened with spray Penicillium to give it a bloomy edible rind and distinct flavour. Normandy cheese is supposed to come from specific “Vaches Normandes” cows from within the region however strict import regulations, particularly around the import of raw milk cheeses, have restricted it’s consumption. A number of cheeses branded as such in Australia and the US are thus incorrectly labeled.
French for parsley, where the mould resembles a sprig of parsley. Used in reference to finely moulded cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton.
Particular mould strains have been associated with making specific cheeses. Penicillium Candidum is a mould strain often added to make soft, white mould or bloomy rinded cheeses. It is made from fungus (mould strains associated with mushroom) which can explain why many identify a mushroomy smell to this cheese type. It probably also explains why white mould cheeses are so amazing with truffles, but don’t get me started..
Note that if you’re allergic to penicillin, this doesn’t mean that you’re not able to eat these cheeses as the strain is different and the amount in each cheese is minuscule.
The mould used to make blue cheeses and named after its origin, the cheese caves of Roquefort in France.
A type of cream cheese.
The enzyme used to coagulate milk for cheese production. Can be an animal, vegetable or microbial product.
Another name for washed rind cheese, which is washed in a yeast solution.
A broad term to describe cheeses that ripen from the outside of the cheese. These include bloomy, white and wash rinded cheeses or any cheese where the mixture of bacteria on the outside of the cheese, whether from the cheese or added by the cheese maker after manufacture, matures the cheese.
This cheese contains a minimum of 70 percent fat and is of the soft variety.
Refers to cheese such a Gouda where part of the whey is replaced with water resulting in a low lactose, sweeter cheese.
Washed Rind cheeses are bathed or scrubbed with brine or other liquids, such as alcohol, to encourage the growth of the surface culture – Brevibacterium Linens. This gives Washed Rind cheeses a sticky orange surface which at time may be seen as overpowering due to the ‘stinky sock’ smell. Don’t be put off by this because quite often the paste inside is incredibly soft and luscious, with a depth of flavour that many rank as the most interesting and appealing style.
Cheeses are often wrapped in wax as a preserving technique where long term aging, without the presence of air, benefits them. Generally the different wax colours also indicate the attributes of the cheese. Black wax denotes a well aged, sharp cheese. Red wax indicates a medium flavour and Yellow wax often indicates a mild or lighter strength cheese.
Whey is the liquid left over after coagulation.
Skilled cheese makers have been able to unravel the structure of whey to extract another style of cheese from this left over liquid. Using heat treatment and balancing the pH of the whey appropriately a number of fresh cheeses can be made before the left over whey is disposed of. A common example of this is Ricotta.