What is aged cheese?
Aged cheese is cheese that is left to ripen for several weeks to several years to develop more flavor and, in the case of many aged cheeses, a firmer and more crystalline texture.
What's the difference between fresh and aged cheese?
Aged cheese loses moisture as it grows older, so it tends to be harder than young cheese, which is usually softer and more pliable. Young cheese is better for melting, while aged cheese is better for adding flavor.
Why does aged cheese have more flavor?
As cheese ages, it goes through several chemical and biological reactions. As the milk sugar lactose in the cheese breaks down into lactic acid, it produces a sharper and sourer taste the longer the cheese is aged. Cheese also undergoes proteolysis, a process where complex long-chain proteins are broken down into smaller amino acid compounds giving aged cheese its nutty, fruity or smoky flavors as well as a crystalline texture in some cheese. Certain cheeses may also have special bacteria and mold cultures added, producing additional flavors as the cheese ages.