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Can cheese be frozen?
Yes, but it’s not recommended. Hard cheeses freeze better than other types. To freeze, cut into small pieces (less than a half-pound and less than one inch thick) and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. To thaw, leave in refrigerator for several hours and use soon afterward.
Can I eat cheese if I'm lactose intolerant?
Yes, if you are careful to select certain types of natural cheeses. Natural hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Jack, and Gouda, as well as soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert, contain little or no lactose.
Can I eat the rind of cheese?
You can usually eat all parts of cheese except the wax coating and the bandage wrap found on some types. However, the rind of some cheeses can be quite strong and, to many people, unpleasant tasting. Some very hard cheeses such as Aged Cheddar and Dry Jack can have chewy, pungent rinds that may overwhelm the cheese. Some very aged, natural rind cheeses have rinds that are earthy or even moldy tasting. But again, it’s a matter of personal preference.
What role does rennet play in cheesemaking?
Rennet is a traditional word for the coagulant used in cheesemaking. At the start of the cheesemaking process, enzymes in the form of rennet or other coagulants are added to the vat and cause the milk to thicken so it can be separated into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). Some of the rennet used in cheesemaking remains entrapped in the cheese and helps break down the structure as it ages. Although the coagulant does not contribute much to the flavor of the cheese, too much rennet may cause a cheese to taste bitter.
Is raw milk better than pasteurized for making cheese?
It would be nice if there were a simple answer, but the best answer is, sometimes, but not always. This is because many factors influence cheese flavor. But, all things equal, if the milk comes from cows that graze on pastures rich with vegetation and the cheese is made immediately after milking – then using raw milk will give a cheesemaker more complexity to work with and a skilled cheesemaker will be able to creatively express that complexity in the flavor of the cheese.
Is high-fat milk the best for cheesemaking?
It depends on the type of cheese you are making. Certain cheeses, like Gouda and Parmesan, require milk lower in fat.
How does terroir influence the flavor of cheese?
Terroir, in the U.S., is defined as “a sense of place,” referring to subtle local influences in the flavor of food or wine. Cheesemakers here in America can create terroir by skillfully managing a number of practices. These include choosing the right animal breed for their climate, feeding them on pasture that includes local vegetation, allowing indigenous microbes into their starter culture, and letting as much environmental influence into their aging room as regulations will allow.
Should cheese always taste the same every time you eat it?
Good natural cheese should taste consistently good, but it may not always taste exactly the same. Some cheeses are sold to end users who demand a high degree of flavor consistency and other cheeses – often specialty or artisan cheeses – are sold to end users who prize flavor diversity, especially when it is produced seasonally. The one thing that has to be consistent is the quality of the cheese.
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