The Simple Things - - WELLBEING -

Fresh cheese Un­ripened young cheese with no rind or mould. Typ­i­cally curds are trans­ferred into moulds, which are left to drain for a few days be­fore be­ing sold. One to try: Crowdie.

Soft Cheese Young cheese, such as Tun­worth, often char­ac­terised by white rind. Peni­cil­lium (a type of fungi) can be added at the start of the process; as the curds ma­ture, the Peni­cil­lium mould blooms, pro­duc­ing en­zymes that ripen the cheese.

Semi-soft cheese Older, ripened soft cheese. In­cludes washed-rind cheeses, which are made by wash­ing the rinds of ma­tur­ing cheese with brine or al­co­hol to en­cour­age the bac­te­ria that cre­ate smelly or­angey or pink­ish rinds and break down the soft cen­tre un­til silky and veg­e­tal, as with Celtic Prom­ise.

Hard cheese The likes of Ched­dar, Lin­colnshire Poacher and Lan­cashire be­come firmer and drier the longer they’re aged, de­vel­op­ing flavour. Dif­fer­ent meth­ods of cut­ting, heat­ing and drain­ing the curds are used to achieve dif­fer­ent re­sults; cheeses are often pressed to drive out mois­ture, and wrapped in cloth to ma­ture.

Blue cheese Both soft and hard cheeses may grow moulds while ma­tur­ing be­cause of mi­crobes present in the at­mos­phere. Mod­ern cheese­mak­ers add blue mould mi­crobes (such as Peni­cil­lium

roque­forti) to milk and use tech­niques such as turn­ing and pierc­ing to en­cour­age veins of blue mould. Blue Stil­ton is a clas­sic ex­am­ple.

Ched­dar­ing Bri­tain’s favourite cheese is named af­ter the Som­er­set vil­lage of Ched­dar, where vast cloth­bound cheeses were aged in the caves of Ched­dar Gorge as long ago as the 12th cen­tury. The name also refers to the tech­nique used to drain the curd. It is cut into slabs that are stacked and turned to force out whey, then milled (cut into tiny pieces), salted and pressed into moulds.

Ren­net The en­zymes that co­ag­u­late milk are sourced from the stom­achs of un­weaned calves and are a byprod­uct of the dairy and veal in­dus­tries. Mass-pro­duced cheeses are usu­ally made with veg­e­tar­ian ren­nets, cul­tured in lab­o­ra­to­ries.

Starter cul­ture Lac­tic acid bac­te­ria are added to milk at the start of the cheese­mak­ing process to be­gin the con­ver­sion of lac­tose (milk sugar) to lac­tic acid. Most starter cul­tures are mass-pro­duced in labs and avail­able to cheese­mak­ers as freeze-dried sa­chets. More tra­di­tional mak­ers use bulk starters – liv­ing bac­te­ria that have been gath­ered from farms and kept alive in labs. A small num­ber of nat­u­ral cheese­mak­ers still cul­ti­vate starters from their own soured milk.

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