Aged Cheese is the type of cheese that has been allowed to age at a particular temperature, humidity and air purity level, so as to bring out specific character of taste and smell of the cheese. The practice of aging cheese is a traditional one. Techniques such as turning, pressing and washing also matter while producing aged cheese.
Aged cheese can be of numerous varieties, textures and flavors. It may be farmhouse produced or manufactured in large manufacturing plants.
Aged cheese is produced by adding coagulant or rennet to milk. Once it curdles, the curds and whey are separated. The curds are then pressed to form and then allowed to age.
Varieties of Aged Cheese
Aged cheese comes in a number of varieties of textures and flavors. Aged cheeses may be differentiated from each other on the basis of various factors like length of aging, method used for production, bacteria and other additives uses, country or region of origin, texture, fat content, etc. Aged cheese recipes may involve aging from several weeks to several years depending upon the variety to be produced. Aged cheese may be made from cow’s, buffalo’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk.
Here are some common aged cheese varieties
• Bleu Cheese or Blue Cheese: Blue cheese has spots or veins of blue (or blue-gray or blue-green) throughout. It is made by adding a Penicullium mold to milk. It has a sharp and tangy flavor which goes well with many salads, fruits and meat. Examples of blue cheese are Cabrales, Gorgonzola,Roquefort and Stilton
• Stinky Cheese: Stinky cheese has a pungent odor. It is made by washing with brine, wine, brandy, or other liquid. This washing helps to develop the flavor and allows the cheese to retain its moisture. The interior of this cheese is smooth and creamy while the rind is reddish in color.
• Soft Cheese: Soft cheese is aged but not as long as other cheese varieties. Example- Brie and Camembert
• Hard Cheese: This variety is aged for the longest period of time. Flavors may be mild to very sharp. Example- Asiago, Cheddar and Gouda.
Each of these varieties of aged cheese has many other variants in each category. Different aged cheese recipes for preparation of cheese decide on the flavor of different variants.
Popular Aged Cheese Recipes
There are a wide variety of aged cheese recipes used across the globe. Here are some popular aged cheese recipes-
- Cheese Balls: To prepare cheese balls, a mixture of cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese and English cheese spread are mixed together along with grated onion and Worcestershire sauce. The mixture is then rolled into balls and refrigerated overnight. Cheese balls are ready to serve.
- Cheese Puffs: To make cheese puffs, water and butter are heated together and brought to a boil. Flour is added to this, stirring continuously till a ball is formed. It is now removed from heat and egg is added, beating simultaneously. Grated cheese is stirred in this mixture, and the mixture is divided into teaspoonful sized lumps and baked. The cheese puffs are thus ready. They are served warm.
- Cheese Sauce: For cheese sauce recipe, molten butter is mixed in flour along with salt and pepper. Milk is added to this mixture, and it is cooked on low heat. Then grated cheese is added and the mixture is stirred till a smooth consistency is achieved. This cheese sauce goes well with pasta or vegetables.
Nutritive value of Aged Cheese
Aged cheese is high in protein and calcium, and also contains other essential nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin B12. It is beneficial for dental care and bone health. Aged cheeses like Cheddar and Swiss contain little or no lactose, and hence are a good source of nutrition to people suffering from lactose intolerance.