So many cheese types!
By some counts, there are more than 1,800 different cheese types in the world. And while there's no single accepted way to divide them into categories, many break it down this way:
Fresh cheeses are the simplest cheeses, made to eat right away. These rind-less cheeses are high in moisture content and can be stringy firm or wet and crumbly. Cottage cheese is one of the most popular fresh cheeses. Cheese made from whey like ricotta and stretched-curd cheese like mozzarella are also considered fresh cheeses.
Soft cheeses are young cheeses that are aged no more than a month. They have a creamy, velvety texture with high levels of moisture and butterfat. Bloomy rind soft cheeses like camembert have a culture added during the cheesemaking process that gives the cheese a white and fluffy rind.
Semi-soft cheese types are made of lightly pressed curds and have a somewhat elastic texture with little to no rind. Popular semisoft cheese types are havarti, muenster, and butterkäse. Semisoft cheeses are great in grilled cheese recipe or a baked mac and cheese recipe.
Semi-hard cheeses are made with curds that are heated, pressed, molded, and left to ferment for up to 8 months or longer. This cheese type includes many of the most popular cheeses in the world: cheddar, swiss, gouda, emmentaler, edam, manchego, monterey jack, and oaxaca cheese.
Hard cheeses have the most complex flavor. These are pressed for hours or weeks to make the curd more compact and remove the whey. Less water content produces a hard texture that can be even crunchy or crystalline. Hard cheeses are typically packed in molds and aged for longer periods. Asiago, parmesan, and pecorino romano are among the most well-known. Ricotta salata is a hard cheese made from ricotta that is salted and left to age for several months.
Blue cheeses have blue-green veins created by mold that is introduced during the cheesemaking process. Roquefort and gorgonzola are the most famous varieties.
Washed-rind cheeses or stinky cheeses are washed repeatedly with a saltwater brine that encourages the growth of a special bacteria gives the cheese its strong flavor. Limburger, taleggio, and epoisses de bourgogn are the most well-known.
Brined cheeses are ripened in a saltwater brine, and are usually white and rindless with salty and acidic flavors. Feta and halloumi our popular examples.