Types of Cheese : Hard and Semi Hard Cheese
Most of the cheese produced and consumed in Wales and the UK can be placed in this category. Cheddar is the most popular and the most copied of the hard cheese. Caerphilly is a softer cheese, sometimes classed as a semi hard cheese because it is only lightly pressed when compared with Cheddar. Hard cheese of the Cheddar type can be defined as a firm cheese with a close texture. A Cheshire type can be a little more open, almost granular in texture, whereas a
traditional Caerphilly has a close but flaky texture.
Traditional cheese, pressed in the old style presses, usually have a degree of openness. This adds to the character of the cheese. Modern commercial blockformers draw vacuum rather than press the curd into shape. This gives a dense cheese, a product preferred for cutting and packing into portions and slices.
However, none of these types of cheese should have round holes typical of some of the continental cheese such as Emmenthal. These holes are the result of the gas produced by
special bacteria added to the starter culture. The colour of the hard cheese will vary according to the season and the milk used. The milk of the cow is a creamy yellow colour whereas sheep and goats milk are much whiter. On occasion a colour - carotene or annatto, is added to the milk to give a coloured cheese such as Double Gloucester and Leicester.
These are natural plant colours. They have no effect on the texture or flavour of the cheese.
The process of making hard and semi hard cheese is basically the same, but the end result will vary considerably. The revival of old recipes, of small scale and farmhouse cheesemaking is again allowing consumers to appreciate the complex flavours that can develop on maturing these cheese.
Large scale commercial production is also providing excellent quality cheese for another sector of the market place.
Types of Cheese