WHY DOES CHEESE INCREASE WITH AGE
Ever wonder why some cheeses age for so long while others can be eaten immediately? Why are some cheeses easy to melt in soups, on bread, or on bagels, while others are more difficult to grate over pasta and salads?
It can be traced back to the cheesemaking process, especially an essential stage in cheese production — aging. Although some people may not think about it, it is a fascinating topic and one we will explore in this article. For reference, we’ll discuss the benefits of aging cheese and compare some aged cheeses with fresh cheeses.
We’ll also be looking at the aging process of cheeses in more detail. This complete guide will make you an expert in aged and fresh cheeses.
Relax and enjoy the journey of creating and aging different types of cheeses. We will help you to understand their unique flavors and textures. We encourage you to taste these aged cheeses to discover if they have different flavors.
WHY DOES CHEESE GET BETTER WITH AGE?
Why is aged cheese superior? Aged cheese is better for certain foods and beverages like meat, beer, coffee, balsamic vinegar, cheese, and other fermented goods.
Winemakers age wines to enhance their aromas and soften the tannins. Wide beef varieties are also dry-aged for long periods to soften the meat and give off a wonderful umami flavor.
Aging cheeses can also improve their flavor, texture, and color. Calcium lactate crystals form when cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and pecorino are aged thoroughly. These crystals give rise to rich, hearty, umami flavors, which enhance their taste and quality.
WHAT IS AGED CHEESE?
Any cheese cured in controlled environments, such as caves or cellars, is called aged cheese. Cheese can be aged for as little as a week or for as long as a month. However, experts consider it to be aged if it has been cured for at least six months.
Cheese loses water as it ages. This is why aged cheese has a firmer texture than fresh cheese. Let’s compare aged and fresh cheeses again to understand how it works.
FRESH CHEESE Vs. AGED CHEESE
Some cheeses are best when aged for a while, but others taste better when fresh. Let’s look at two types of aged cheese and one type of fresh cheese to give you an example.
Here are some types of aged cheeses. In a later section, we’ll discuss their aging process in greater detail.
Cheddar With a buttery, moist texture and a slightly melty texture, cheddar is a fan favorite. Adding nuttier and sharper flavors to cheddar cheese can enhance its flavor. Cheddar also develops earthy flavors, a crumbly texture, and a tangy end. Crystals are added for a crunchy texture.
Gouda: Gouda begins with a bland, creamy flavor and then ages. It then develops a deeper gold color, more robust flavors, and a more complex texture.
Parmesan -True Parmesan is a gritty, hard cheese with nutty and fruity flavors. It can be eaten as-is, but it is often used to top savory dishes like soups or pasta to enhance the flavors.
Gruyere: Gruyere’s flavor develops over time. Gruyere is more delicate and creamy in its youth but forms more complex, earthier flavors as it ages.
Manchego: Manchego cheese has a buttery texture and a firm consistency. There are also small pockets of air. As it ages, its color can change from white to ivory-yellow. The rind of the cheese often changes from yellow to beige.