Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What is the Difference Between Soft and Hard Cheese?

With soft and hard cheese, there are many differences that are important to note. Understanding these differences and knowing how they are made will tell you how they are different. With these cheeses you will find that the majority of the differences actually come from the way that they are made and the ingredients that are used, but also there are differences in the cheeses themselves with the texture and the taste. Let’s look at the differences between soft and hard cheese.

Soft Cheese

With soft cheese, generally, you are getting a cheese that has not aged for very long. These cheese are soft, meaning that most of them are not very firm and some can even be spread onto a cracker or a piece of bread. When people think soft cheese, they think of Mozzarella, Brie, Muenster, cheese curds, feta, Blue cheese, and a lot of the goat’s milk cheeses that are very soft. With soft cheese, it is generally not aged very long at all, does not have a long shelf life, and should be used very quickly, otherwise it may go bad. There are a lot of people that enjoy the texture that a soft cheese has and the ability to spread it onto a cracker or bread instead of having to slice it.

Hard Cheeses

Most of the cheese that we eat on an everyday basis is hard cheese. Our cheddars, Colby, Gouda, and Swiss are all hard cheeses. With these cheeses, once the curds were made and drained away from the whey, they generally were pressed with a cheese press to form a block. From there, they were usually aged for a significant amount of time. For hard cheeses, generally they are aged for more than six months, while the soft cheeses are aged for a much shorter period of time. Some hard cheeses will be aged for over a year to give them that sharp taste that people enjoy so much…

There are a lot of differences between soft and hard cheeses, but the main difference really comes down into the amount of time that they were aged. Generally, the less time the cheese is aged, the softer it is. With the hard and soft cheeses, there are also significant differences in taste and texture. Know the differences when you are out shopping for your next great piece of cheese and appreciate what both kinds of cheese have to offer.

-Written by Viktoira Carella

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