Chèvre

Chèvre

Chèvre is literally French for goat’s cheese which has been made by farmers for hundreds of years particularly in the regions south of the Loire River.

While we tend to consider Chèvre a soft cheese, there are versions that are semi-soft and firm.

Its taste relies on its moisture content, age and density but tends to be tangy. Most Chèvre cheeses are not aged beyond four months.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised goat’s milk
  • Type B cheese starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (F3343000 small pyramid basket is recommended)
  • Cheese cloth or drainage mat

Feta

Feta

Traditionally made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk, most Feta sold around the world today is partly or wholly made from cow’s milk.

It’s not known exactly when Feta was first produced but there are references to cheese-making in ancient Greece as far back as the 8th Century BC.  The Greek word ‘feta’ comes from the Italian word ‘fetta’ meaning slice.

Feta is a brined cheese, meaning it’s covered in a brine solution of un-iodised salt and water which gives the cheese a salty and tangy taste.  Its texture depends on its maturity and can range from creamy to crumbly.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow or sheep’s milk
  • Type A or B starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Lipase (optional but provides a traditional flavour)

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (P00631 square cheese basket is recommended)
  • Cheese cloth

Brie/Camembert

Brie/Camembert

Brie and Camembert are among the best-known French cheeses.

Brie, named after the French region of Brie, is also known as the ‘Queen of Cheeses’. It has a soft, creamy texture and its taste will depend on the ingredients that are used.

Camembert hails from the Normandy region of France and was first produced by a local farmer, Marie Harel, in 1791. Like Brie, Camembert is a creamy cheese that is milky and sweet when young and becomes rich and buttery as it matures.

Both Brie and Camembert are white mould-ripened cheeses traditionally made with raw milk. Most modern Camembert and Brie cheeses are stabilised, meaning their pH is stabilised with a Type E starter.

There is little real difference between the two cheeses although a wheel of Brie tends to be about 14 inches wide compared to 5 inches for a Camembert wheel.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow’s milk
  • Type E for a modern recipe or Type B for a traditional recipe
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • White mould spores

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (P00627 or 800516 are recommended for Camembert; P00608 or P00712 are recommended for Brie)
  • Cheese cloth or drainage mat

Edam

Edam

The Dutch port town of Edam gives its name to this semi-hard cheese that was once the most popular cheese in the world.

Due to its ability to mature well and become very old, Edam was the cheese of choice during the 14th to 18th Centuries especially on board ships travelling to far-away colonies.

Edam cheese should have a smooth, creamy texture with a delicate flavour and is great for melting.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow or goat’s milk
  • Type B cheese starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Colour (optional)

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (F0361700 mini gouda basket is recommended)
  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese cloth or drainage mat (optional)

Pepato

Pepato

Sometimes known as Pecorino Pepato, this sheep’s milk cheese originates from the province of Ragusa on the Italian island of Sicily.

It’s similar to Romano cheese but is made distinct by the addition of whole black peppercorns which give its flavour an extra intensity.

It is an oily cheese due to the high levels of butterfat in the sheep’s milk and can be used as an alternative to parmesan in Italian dishes.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised sheep’s milk
  • Peppercorns
  • Type C Starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Lipase

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (P453340 small hard cheese basket is recommended)
  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese cloth (optional)

Sweet Swiss

Sweet Swiss

Sweet Swiss is a milder form of the traditional Swiss Emmental cheese and is good for melting.

The distinctive holes in the cheese are created when the added bacteria reacts with the other ingredients to release carbon dioxide which slowly forms bubbles. Officially, the holes created by the bubbles are called ‘eyes’.  A Swiss cheese without holes is referred to as ‘blind’.

As its name suggests, the taste of Sweet Swiss should be less savoury than that of the traditional Emmental. Its texture should be firm and supple.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow’s milk
  • Type B cheese starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Propionibacterium culture
  • Colour (optional)

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (P29310 hard cheese basket is recommended)
  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese cloth or drainage mat (optional)

Gouda

Gouda

Named after the Dutch city of Gouda, it’s often referred to as a sweet curd cheese because of the type of starter used.

The first references to Gouda cheese appeared in the 12th Century and it was traditionally made from cow’s milk. However, it can also be made using sheep or goat’s milk.

Gouda can be eaten young or matured with its flavour and texture dependent on the aging time. It usually has a sweet taste and a springy texture. Its texture will harden and its flavours strengthen the more it is matured.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow, sheep or goat’s milk
  • Type B cheese starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Colour (optional)

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (F0361700 mini gouda basket is recommended)
  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese cloth or drainage mat (optional)

Romano

Romano

A popular Italian cheese, Romano dates back to the first century BC.

Traditionally, there are three main types of Romano:

  • Pecorino – made from sheep’s milk
  • Vaccino – made from cow’s milk
  • Caprino – made from goat’s milk

A cheese can only be rightly called Pecorino Romano if it comes from the Lazio region of Italy.

Romano cheese should be aged for at least five months. Versions made from goat or sheep’s milk will have a sharp taste while cow’s milk Romano will have a much milder flavour. Its texture should be dense and crumbly.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow, sheep or goat’s milk
  • Type C cheese starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Lipase

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (P45340 small hard cheese basket is recommended)
  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese cloth (optional)

Parmesan

Parmesan

Parmesan is the English name given to the traditional Italian cheese Parmigiano Reggiano which first appeared in the valley of the River Po in the 12th Century.

For a cheese to be truly called Parmesan, the milk should come from cows solely feed on fresh grass and hay and should be made only between April 1 and November 11 each year.

Parmesan-style cheeses are now widely produced throughout the world and are a popular accompaniment to pasta dishes and Italian salads.

Parmesan should have a dense, grainy texture with a fruity and nutty taste.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow’s milk
  • Type C Starter
  • Rennet
  • Salt
  • Lipase

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese basket (P453340 small hard cheese basket is recommended)
  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese cloth (optional)

Cheddar

Sometimes described as the most eaten cheese in the world, cheddar first appeared in the UK county of Somerset in the 12th Century. Its name comes from the caves in the town of Cheddar which were used to store the cheese.

The term cheddaring is derived from the cheese-making process whereby the curds are turned and stacked to drain off the whey. The curds are then kept warm for between 90 minutes and two hours.

Cheddar should have a crumbly texture. Young cheddar will have a creamy, mild taste while more mature cheeses will have stronger, more complex flavours.

Shopping list

Ingredients

  • Un-homogenised cow’s milk
  • Type A Starter (for a different flavour, use a Type B starter)
  • Rennet
  • Salt

Specialist equipment

  • Cheese wax
  • Cheese basket (P00653 Ikg hard cheese basket is recommended)
  • Cheese cloth (optional)