Cookbook Profile

A Cheese Compendium
From The Cheese Bible

Cow's milk has a fat content of 3.7% and total protein of3.4%; Sheep's milk has a fat content of 7.4% and total protein of 5.5%; Goat's milk has a fat content of 3.5% and total protein of 3.4%.

Calcium is the main mineral in cheese. On average, hard cheese has a higher calcium content than soft cheese. For example, per 100 grams, Parmesan has a calcium content of 1290 mg.; Cheddar has a calcium content of 820 mg.; Brie has a calcium content of 185 mg.

Sixty percent of the Pecorino Romano produced in Italy is actually made on Sardinia, which has the most sheep of any region in Italy.

The village of Cheddar, located at the foot of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England, gave its name to Cheddar cheese, whose origins can be traced to the twelfth century. Today, Cheddar is the most widespread cheese type in the world.

Buffalo-milk mozzarella must have at least 50% FDB (fat in dry matter) while cow's-milk mozzarella must have at least 44% FDB.

The use of the name Roquefort is legally protected in France. Only cheeses that contain at least 52% FDB, are made from raw sheep's milk, and are ripened in the caves around the area of Roquefort may bear this name. Laws to protect the name and quality of this cheese were enacted as long ago as 1411.

Gruyére is named after the castle of Gruyére, in western Switzerland. Gruyére differs from Emmental in its smaller size, fewer and smaller (or no) holes and a surface bacterial treatment.

Cheeses should be stored at about 54 degrees F. short-term and 39 to 42 degrees F. long-term. Do not freeze cheese because severe cold can make the cheese turn bitter. Wrap semi-hard cheese in foil, plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Wrap cheeses that have an interior mold (Roquefort, blue cheese) in foil. Wrap soft cheeses in parchment paper or a damp cloth. Damp cloths are a tried-and-true solution for keeping cheese fresh, but they must be moistened at least once a day.

The riper and softer the cheese, the more difficult it is to cut. Cheeses can be sliced more easily when they are cool. If you use a knife for cutting, dip it in hot water as often as possible, since the fat in the cheese will melt easily from the heat of the blade.

The longer the cheese platter is to stay out, the larger the chunks of cheese should be. Try to keep the platter covered with plastic wrap for as long as possible.

Some good cheese pairs for canapés are Tilsit with Roquefort, Cheddar with Fontina, Gouda with semi-hard goat cheese and Roquefort with Port-Salut or a similar mild, semi-soft cheese.

Merlot and Pinot Noir are good cheese partners. Rosé wines pair well with soft, fresh cheeses.


The Cheese Bible
By Christian Teubner, Friedrich-Wilheim Ehlert
and Heinrich Mair-Waldburg

Penguin Studio
Publication Date: October 1998
Hardcover, $32.95
256 pages, 1,000 plus full-color photographs
ISBN: 0-670-88129-5
Reprinted by permission.


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This page created March 1999