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dept=1026 Cheese Connoisseur's Glossary
Technical Terms and Phrases Used to Discuss Artisanal Cheese The world of artisanal cheese is complex and varied, and can be difficult to navigate. To help you guide you in your quest for cheese knowledge, we have assembled this glossary. Here, you'll find definitions and explanations for many of the technical terms used on this site and in the cheese world at large. To supplement your endeavor, don't forget to explore our wine and beer pairings, educational classes, and blog entries. With these tools in hand, you'll soon be the ultimate cheese know-it-all! acid A description used for cheese with sour flavors. affinage (AH-fee-nahj) The craft of maturing and aging cheeses. affineur/affineuse The person behind the maturation and aging of cheeses. ammoniated The term usually used for bloomy or washed rind cheeses, giving off a strong smell or taste of ammonia. annatto A vegetable extract deriving from achiote seeds that is used to color a cheese red, yellow, or orange. artisan A skilled manual craftsperson. artisanal cheese Cheese that has been hand-crafted in small batches according to time-honored techniques, recipes, and traditions. bacteria Microscopic, single cell organisms found everywhere. Bacteria are integral to the production of every type of cheese. They promote complex flavor development, rind growth, and acidification. The large majority of bacteria in cheese are beneficial and non-pathogenic. bacterial surface Used to describe the rind of cheeses such as Munster d'Alsace and Epoisses, indicating a heavy growth of bacteria on the surface and unique flavor. bleu The French word for cheeses that are blue-veined. bloomy rind Type of cheese the rind of which has be coated with Penicillium candidum, allowing it to ripen from outside in. Camembert and Brie are examples of bloomy rind cheeses. bluing Blue mold found in blue cheeses. body The general name for the texture of cheese. Cheese body can be further described alternately as firm, weak, pastry, flaky, close, short. brine A mixture comprised of water, salt, and often some type of spirit. Brines are used to "wash" cheeses, inhibiting mold growth and promoting flavor development. bruised Term used to a describe a cheese that is off-color or possesses dents or other abnormalities. butterfat content
A horizontal tasting with cheese involves tasting similar cheeses side by side. such as tasting various cheddars. enzymes Enhances the coagulation of milk. eyes The technical name for holes formed in certain cheeses after fermentation. often as a result of the addition of a bacterial starter culture. These are some of the particularly exciting and educational ways to compare various cheeses side by side. cave Originally a real cave or cellar. It should be noted that lactose is consumed by bacteria in the production of cheese and converted to lactic acid. when cut curd is heated to expel more whey. salted. curing The stage in cheesemaking when the cheese is left to ripen and lose some of its moisture. pressed for some time causing it to lose moisture. when the cheese is stored at a certain temperature and humidity for a period of time in order to allow its flavor and texture to develop. lactose Natural sugar found in milk. in Swiss cheeses. forming curds and whey. Casein is broken in half by rennet in the production of cheese. along with rennet. cendre Denotes the sprinkling of cheeses with dark vegetable ash commonly seen on young goats' milk cheeses. maturation Part of the process of cheesemaking. It is used to coagulate (curdle) milk. . draining When curds and whey are separated. used to drain cheese curds or line cheese molds. casein The technical name for milk protein. farmstead Describes cheese made solely from milk produced on the same farm. or more specifically. Milk allergy is often confused with lactose intolerance. fat content The amount of fat in dry matter in cheese. etc. an enzyme found in the fourth stomach of a milk-fed calf. and the whey is allowed to drain off. fresh cheese Cheese that has not been ripened or aged. lactose intolerance A physical intolerance and inability to process milk sugars.similar to whey. or several blues. cheese cloth A cloth. cream The fatty element of milk.g. dry matter The part of cheese consisting of solid (versus liquid) matter. lactic acid The acid produced in milk or curd during cheesemaking. Also known as affinage or aging. several Loire valley chevres. e. curd The solid portion of coagulated or curdled milk. horizontal tasting (see also vertical tasting) The terms horizontal tasting and vertical tasting come from the wine world. hard cheese Cheese that has been aged. having either a course or fine texture. chevre or chèvre (SHEV-reh) A cheese made from goat's milk cooked curds A facet of cheesemaking. calf rennet A substance derived from rennin. or only contain trace amounts. Most cheeses over 60 days old do not contain any lactose. From time to time Artisanal offers cheese tasting classes that employ one of these formats. Today. a cave can be a specially calibrated refrigerated cooler used to maintain the precise humidity and temperature levels ideal for aging cheese.The amount of fat in cheese. buttermilk The liquid remaining after cream is curdled and churned to make butter .
speeding along coagulation. dark orange). gray. red. Different types of cheese require salting at different stages of the production process. It manifests either internally or on the surface. Tangy flavors are often related to cheeses that are higher in acid. while also imparting a flavor of its own. rennet was derived from the lining of the fourth stomach of an unweaned ruminant animal (e. metal. Typically.mold molding When added artificially to a cheese. starter The bacteria added to milk at the very beginning of the cheesemaking process. The rind acts as a barrier between the cheese and the outside environment. produced in a restricted area of the Aosta Valley is officially recognized as a Prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale. or lamb). kid. bloomy rind. Penicillium candidum A mold often added to soft-ripened cheeses that promotes the growth of a white. Toma veia. tangy Often used to describe the flavor of goat's milk cheese. rendering the milk "clean". The starter serves to acidify the milk. cloth. containing holes to allow for drainage. paste/pate The interior of a cheese. Short Time. Toma Val di Lanzo. Toma varies with region and locale of production. pasteurization The process of heating milk to destroy pathogenic (and beneficial) bacteria. This mold is usually beneficial or innocuous. rennetting The step in the cheesemaking process in which rennet is added to coagulate (curdle) the milk. and GMO varieties represent the majority of the market. These molds help determine the final shape of the cheese. usually on the rind of a cheese. Avoid consumption of bright yellow. and also adds to the complexity of flavor. high moisture cheeses that are aged for relatively short periods. mold describes a fungus or fungiform bacteria necessary for the development of the cheese. microbial. It is made primarily in the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions of Northern Italy. providing protection during transport and to discourage surface mold growth. Camembert and Brie are popular examples of soft cheese. enhance flavors. Toma di Gaby. rennet A plant or animal derived substance that contains the enzyme rennin. pricking The process of piercing a cheese with long needles in order to introduce the air necessary for certain types of fermentation. a calf. Artisanal Premium Cheese specializes in ripening cheeses to their full flavor potential. Toma di Locana. skim milk Milk from which part or all of the fat (cream layer) has been removed. usually blue mold growth. darker-colored molds are beneficial or harmless (blue. Toma (Italy)(TOMA) Toma is a soft or semi-hard. brown. but can be harmful as well. ripening The process of maturing a cheese. or jet black molds. Italian cow's milk cheese. Cheese can also develop mold spontaneously or naturally. pressed cheeses Cheeses that have been pressed to further expel whey. Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano are popular examples of pressed cheeses.5 degrees Fahrenheit (or 72 degrees Celsius) for at least 15 seconds. Rennet is crucial to the coagulation of milk in the cheesemaking process. Milk is held at a temperature of 161.g. Today. A step in the cheesemaking process in which curds are poured into wood. Toma del Maccagno to name a few which are recorder in Pierre Androuet dictionary of . soft cheese Unpressed. salting When salt is added during the cheesemaking process to draw out liquid. Toma di Battelmatt. or plastic molds. Traditionally. Toma del Pesio. and stave off pathogenic bacteria growth. plant-derived. rind The outside of a cheese. paraffin The type of wax used to coat cheeses. The typical method employed is HTST or High Temperature. The Toma Piemontese variety from Piedmont has Protected Designation of Origin status under EU legislation while the Toma di Gressoney.
Often called raw milk. the word was coined solely because it rhymed with Roma. bacterial. Tommes are normally produced from the skim milk left over after the cream has been removed to produce butter and richer cheeses. . the cheese itself is ancient. is often used as a source of vegetarian rennet.g. The name may have developed from the old French term tumer. Tomme d'Aydius and Tomme du Revard. From time to time Artisanal offers cheese tasting classes in one of these particularly exciting formats.cheese of the world. for example. vertical tasting (see also horizontal tasting) The terms vertical tasting and horizontal tasting come from the wine world. they are generally low in fat. which was published in 1477 in Turin. rustic taste of mature Tomme. Milk used to produce 'cooked cheeses' is heated to a much higher temperature. In the case of the cheese. washed-rind cheese Used to describe a type of cheese that is washed periodically in a brine solution in order to promote rind growth and develop flavor. It has a rather thin rind covered with white or red mould. etc. The most famous of these is Tomme de Savoie. or floral sources rather than from livestock. Tomme de Savoie but not Tomme de Beaujolais. Tomme au Fenouil. it is often fed to hogs. When they are made in farm they are named Tome fermiere des Bauges. In either case. wine. vegetarian rennet Rennet derived completely from fungal. Cheese connoisseurs appreciate the round. beer. mild taste of the young cheese and the distinctive. Pantaleone da Confidenza discussed it in his Summa Lacticinorum. A vertical tasting with cheese involves tasting the same cheese at various ages. instead of just Tome des Bauges. or reheated to produce ricotta cheese. cheese made from milk that has not been pasteurized must be aged at least 60 days before it can be sold. e. for instance with vegetables or a salad. However. if not overripe. from as young as possible (just barely cheese) also described in The Cheese Plate as stage 1. The Tome des Bauges AOC are made in both. Each type of wash imparts its own unique flavor. Tomme de Montagne is a collective term for the upland varieties. the most complete lexicons do contain the expressions "promettere Roma e Toma" (to promise heaven and earth) and "capire Roma per Toma" (to take Rome for Toma). which means to fall. Tomme Vaudoise is a splendid addition to any cheeseboard and can also be eaten as a dessert or as part of a meal. Tomme is traditionally used to make aligot. There are many varieties of Tommes. Whatever the origin of the name.g. This is one of many fun ways to compare various cheeses side by side. The cardoon thistle. farm or dairy. Other Tommes include Tomme Boudane. cider. an Auvergnat dish combining the melted cheese and mashed potatoes. spirits. triple crème (CREHM) Cheese that contains more than 75% fat in dry matter (e. whey The liquid portion of the milk left when milk is curdled. Pierre Robert and Brillat Savarin). which are usually identified by their place of origin. unpasteurized cheese Cheese made from milk that has not been pasteurized. uncooked cheese Cheese produced where the milk is only heated to 36 degrees Celsius and coagulated at a slightly lower temperature. and is creamy in consistency. or when there is too little milk to produce a full cheese. Molded as a small disk of 75g to 125 g (4 oz) according to the Swiss Cheese Marketing Board. Tomme (Swiss) Tomme Vaudoise is a melting soft cheese speciality from the Vaud canton and the Geneva region. As a result. Examples of washed-rind cheeses are Epoisses and Munster d'Alsace. to well-aged. Tomme / Tome (French) (TOME) Tomme is a type of cheese. History: The word toma does not appear in the Italian dictionary. Tomme de Crayeuse. brine. Examples of uncooked cheeses are Cantalet and Fromage de Savoie. The rind may be washed in water. High in protein and carbohydrates. it may refer to the dropping of the rennet into the milk to make it curdle. and is a generic name given to a class of cheese produced mainly in the French alps.
Appearance A term referring to all visual assessments of cheese.com/cheese/Glossary. A hint of ammonia is not objectionable. especially the Cheddars.aspx Acid A descriptive term for cheese with a pleasant tang and sourish flavor due to a concentration of acid. Aged Generally describes a cheese that has been cured longer than six months. a yellow-orange hue. Aging Often referred to as curing or ripening. sometimes sharper flavors than medium-aged or current-aged cheeses. color and texture. may be affine au marc de borgogne. A washed-rind cheese. (2) The process of curing cheeses.. depending upon the cheese variety. Aromas may also specify particular tastes . which range from faint to pronounced. sour taste indicates an excessive concentration of acid which is a defect. granular or stirred-curd. Colby.http://www. See Curing and Ripening. Cheese may lack aroma or display aromas. Pronounced aftertastes usually detract from the pleasure of a cheese. (3) One who finishes or cures cheese would be an affineur. from its wrapping. bitter or irritating in taste or smell. a white brandy made from grape pomace during curing.e. for example. rind. Ammoniated or Ammoniacal A term describing cheese that either smells or tastes of ammonia as a result of being overripe or mishandled (i. By contrast. to how it looks when handled. tasteless and is not a preservative. broken or cut. Aftertaste The last flavor sensation perceived after tasting a cheese. This condition may afflict the rinds of cheese varieties with white mold (bloomy) rinds. American A descriptive term used to identify the group of American-type cheeses which includes Cheddar. but heavy ammoniation is.eatwisconsincheese. Affine (1) The French word meaning to finish or refine. Annatto A natural vegetable dye used to give many cheese varieties. Annatto is odorless. a cheese with a sharp or biting. Aroma is closely allied to flavor. Acrid A term used to characterize cheese that is sharp. Affineur One who cares for the aging of cheeses. Aroma A general term for the odor or scent of cheese. although cheese with a distinct odor may exhibit a mild flavor while cheese lacking odor may present a strong flavor. and washed or soaked-curd cheeses. Aged cheeses are characterized as having more pronounced and fuller. held at fluctuating temperatures). Camembert and Chèvres. Monterey Jack is also included in this group. meaning the rind has been washed with marc. aging is the process of holding cheeses in carefully controlled environments to allow the development of microorganisms that usually accentuate the basic cheese flavors. such as Brie.
earthy. oily and nutty. Artisan A term describing cheese made in small batches. The aroma of any cheese is most distinctive when the cheese is first cut into. often with milk from a limited number of farms. pronounced aromas.or scents. Aromatic A descriptive term for cheeses with distinct. Assertive A term indicating the presence of a pronounced taste or aroma. Astringent . such as fruity. The cheese rind may have a different odor than its interior. Having unique texture or taste profiles developed in small sealed production or by specialized producers.
Rheological tests also differentiated the twelve cheese types (P<0. texture is evaluated by hand and is defect-oriented. and a Bohlin VOR rheometer. Mississippi State. Texture quality can be evaluated by judges trained to use the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) scorecard. respectively. Panelists are trained on selected universal mouth texture attributes that have been correlated with instrumental texture methods. : Sensory panelists were able to differentiate all cheese types using the developed terms (P<0.A. The objectives of this study were: to develop a texture lexicon for cheese using both hand and mouth evaluated terms with universal cheese anchors. DRAKE. GPA of sensory results generated three dimensions which described 38. Rheological tests can discriminate among cheeses in a similar way as human assessors. Mississippi State University. and lack of cheese references and no correlation to traditional ADSA terms for the texture profile method. consensus plots of sensory data and the relationship between sensory and instrumental data were explored using generalized procrustes analysis (GPA). Here. D. and to correlate these terms with rheological measurements. Instrumental texture measurements were conducted using a TA. Food Science & Technology. Truong. texture can be evaluated using a texture profile panel. And C. Twelve different experimental and commercial processed and natural cheeses were evaluated. A sensory panel (n=10) identified nine mouth-evaluated terms and six hand-evaluated cheese texture terms with cheese references. V.05).R.05) and showed high correlation with dimensions 1 and 2 of the GPA. Mouth-evaluated terms were highly correlated with identical hand-evaluated terms (r = 0.95). Following multivariate analysis of variance and individual analyses of variance. and 17 % of the variance.XT2 Texture Analyzer. a VT550 Haake viscotester.DEVELOPMENT OF A CHEESE TEXTURE LEXICON AND CORRELATION WITH RHEOLOGICAL MEASUREMENTS by M. Daubert Dept. Hand and/or mouth-evaluated descriptive terms can be used to differentiate cheese texture. MS 39762-9805 Texture and mouthfeel are important quality factors in cheese. Alternatively. 20. . There are drawbacks with both of these texture analysis methods including nonlinearity of the ADSA scale.
today’s aging caves are state-of-the-art units that allow for different temperature zones and other settings that accommodate the needs of different types of cheese. Some cheeses are made to age for two years or longer—Asiago. Photo courtesy Artisanal Cheese. for example. ALPAGE Refers to cheeses made from Alpine meadow milk. It is an analogous division of labor to the agriculturalist who grows the grapes and the winemaker who creates the wine. Fine restaurants noted for their cheeses and which offer many different cheeses. Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano.ACID or ACIDIC A term used to describe a cheese with a lightly sourish flavor. Others age for just a few weeks to several months before they are ready to enjoy. cahve. particularly soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. Cheddar.000 years ago to acquire the bacteria and other environmental elements that provide their distinctive qualities. AMMONIATED Certain cheeses past their prime and overripe. have a full-time affineur to ensure the cheeses offered to diners are at peak development (“a point”) for their enjoyment. can smell and often taste of ammonia. The longer they are aged. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. like Picholine and Artisanal in New York City. AGED CHEESE Except for the fresh cheese group. *In the industry the French pronunciation. Affinage is an expertise separate from cheesemaking. where she tends to the aging and care of more than 300 cheeses. They are still safe to eat. Grana Padano and Cheddar. While some farmstead cheeses in Europe are aged in the same rock caves used 1. Director of Affinage at Artisanal Cheese in New York City. is used. all cheeses are aged. AFFINAGE and AFFINEUR The aging of cheese to its optimum maturity. Aged cheeses: Gruyère. the harder the paste becomes (that’s the main edible portion under the rind) and the more pronounced (sharp) the flavor. The affineur manages the cave* in which the cheeses are aged. . or ripened. Daphne Zepos. Emmenthaler. See maturation.
It is used in cheeses such as Brie and Cheddar. AOC (APPELLATION d’ORIGINE CONTRÔLÉE) Controlled designation of origin. For the last century at least. the AOC mark guarantees. that the cheese originates from a specific region of France and has been produced in a traditional way. Photo courtesy ArtisanalCheese. Some traditional cheeses once had a natural orange hue caused by the vitamin D that cows ingested from grazing on green plants.ANNATTO or ACHIOTE A natural food coloring derived from the ground seed pods of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana. which guarantees that: (1) The cheese was produced within a specific geographical area. which guarantees the authenticity and quality of the products. (4) The producers submit themselves to review by a public control commission. This variation persuaded some cheesemakers to color their cheeses so they would look uniformly nutritious. But commercial cheeses are made from milk from cows that aren’t permitted to graze. Selles-sur-Cher was the first chèvre to be designated AOC. Even with fine cheese. . The earliest cheese colorings were carrot juice and marigold petals. The seeds are lightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg.O. from milk from specific herds of animals in the same area and partly matured there. (2) The cheese was made using strictly defined methods that have been handed-down over several centuries. in 1975. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. winter milk comes from cows that are fed silage (forage plants that are stored in a silo). See also D. While annatto adds a slightly sweet and peppery flavor to recipes. Annatto seeds. and D. It is made of raw goat’s milk.O. type of rind. (3) The characteristics of the cheese that have been precisely defined —its size.P. also known as the Lipstick Tree). among other things. the cheeses that result from this milk are white.com. native to Central and South America. There are 35 types of cheese carrying the AOC mark. texture and minimum fat content—are adhered to strictly. cheesemakers who wish to use color have used annatto instead. it does not impact the flavor of the cheese. in butter and margarine and in custard powder (and has numerous non-dairy applications. also called achiote for the achiote tree on which they grow. Cheese is naturally the color of the milk from which it is made. such as smoked fish).
In English. You can buy it from iGourmet. The cheese is generally aged by an affineur. See washed rind cheese. In the 1880s.com. While most strong-smelling cheeses will also be strong-tasting. but are not overly strong-tasting cheeses unless well-aged. such as Epoisses. which can vary from faint and milky (fresh cheeses). Germany and Netherlands. Livarot and Munster. was originally created by Belgian Trappist monks. creamy. flavorings and inclusions (nuts. See also farmstead cheese for the difference between artisan cheese and farmstead cheese. Brick and Liederkranz have distinctive aromas. which is now divided between modernday Belgium.” AROMA A cheese’s scent. Brie-like flavor with an incredibly pungent aroma.À POINT Pronounced ah-PWAN in French. fruits. This washed rind cheese. à point refers to a cheese which is at the peak (the “point”) of its development. with particular attention paid to the traditional cheesemaker’s art. New Yorker Emil Frey copied the recipe for Limburger and created Liederkranz. flowers. . this is not a hard and fast rule: Limburger. to pungent and overpowering.) may be added. Limberger may be the most famous “stinky” cheese. AROMATIC Another word for a washed rind cheese. etc. Artisan cheeses may be made from any type of milk. herbs. to bring out the finest characteristics in color and texture as well as the allimportant taste. say “at peak” instead of “at point. It originated in the historical Duchy of Limburg. or aromatic. ARTISAN CHEESE Artisan cheese refers to cheese that is produced in small batches. This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese has a tangy. to lightly aromatic. at the perfect stage to be consumed. As little mechanization as possible is used in the production of the cheese.
BARNYARDY A term often used to describe a cheese’s aroma and sometimes its taste: Aged goat cheeses are often barnyardy. the cloth becomes an indeible part of the rind. These are known as ash-covered goat cheeses (or chèvres). . the ash-covered variety is a bit creamier than the plain cheese of the exact same age. nutty flavor. is shaped like a pyramid with the top cut off (in fact. Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Romano. the cheese gets creamier with age. Asiago is a grana-type cheese. the pressed cheese is wrapped with a sterile cloth “bandage”.) Typically pale yellow in color. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. it is sometimes called Pyramide). See a comparison of Asiago. it gets more flavorful and more crumbly as it ages. made from cow’s milk.com. generally instead of wax. the ash was used to protect the delicate cheeses during transport. It is considered a positive characteristic of the cheese. After the curds are removed from the press. the ash actually makes the cheese ripen more quickly. This is a technique used with fine Cheddar. some goat cheeses are dusted with a fine powder of charcoal ash. Originally. a group that also includes Grana Padano and Parmigiano Romano. Asiago has a mild. named after a town in France’s Loire Valley where it is made. cheddary.ASH-COVERED After they are molded into shape. BANDAGE-WRAPPED or BANDAGED A cheese that has been wrapped in cloth. in general. traditionally from oak but today often vegetable ash. While some people think it is now decorative in these days of modern transportation and refrigeration. You can buy it from ArtisanalCheese. ASIAGO One of the most common Italian cheeses. This classic French chèvre is available plain or coated with wood ash. Valençay. See the photo of Fiscalini Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar on the next page. (Grana is the Italian word for grain. With the Valençay goat cheese at the right. Asiago cheese with figs. It is a sweet curd. semi-cooked cheese in the grana group. it refers to a coarse-grained cheese.
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