Natural Hard & Semi Hard Cheeses
This cheese group impresses with its great variety. Compared to other cheese groups, hard and semi-hard cheese matures longer on average than other cheeses. This results in a wide range of flavors from mild to flavorful to intense. The interior of semi-hard cheese can be closed or have broken holes. A very well-known example of large holes is Emmentaler.
Product variety and use
Depending on the length of the ripening period and the water content, semi-hard cheese is divided into three groups:
- Medium-hard cheese has a ripening time of between 3 and 5 weeks. A well-known example of this is buttercheese.
- Semi-hard cheese has a ripening time of 4 to 5 weeks, well-known representatives are Gouda, Edam and Tilsiter.
- Hard cheese must mature for at least 2 months, depending on the variety, the maturation period can be up to 3 years. During this long ripening period, a distinctive taste develops, which increases in intensity with increasing ripening time. Traditional representatives of this group are Emmentaler, Bergkäse Mountain Cheese, Cheddar and Parmesan.
Medium and Semi-hard cheese is suitable for both cold and warm culinary pleasure. They are often used on bread, in salads, for cheese platters or on their own as a snack. They are also very popular for seasoning and gratinating warm dishes, as well as for preparing cheese fondues. Mediume semi-hard cheese in particular is ideal for gratinating or raclette, as it spreads evenly and smoothly over the dish. At really high temperatures, it turns golden brown and crispy. Hard cheeses that have matured longer are also suitable, but they melt less and give the dish a more intense taste.
Method of production
As diverse as the varieties are, their production is just as varied. Basically they follow the steps as you can read under "Cheese making". There are differences, for example, in terms of maturation. Cheeses like Emmentaler are only treated with salt water, others like strong mountain cheeses are additionally cultivated with red cultures, which intensify the taste and aroma.