ETYM Old Eng. chese, AS. cęse, from Latin caseus, Late Lat. casius. Related to Casein.
A solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk.
Food made from the curds (solids) of soured milk from cows, sheep, or goats, separated from the whey (liquid), then salted, put into molds, and pressed into firm blocks. Cheese is ripened with bacteria or surface fungi, and kept for a time to mature before eating.
There are six main types of cheese. Soft cheeses may be ripe or unripe, and include cottage cheese and high-fat soft cheeses such as Bel Paese, Camembert, and Neufchatel.
Semihard cheeses are ripened by bacteria (Munster) or by bacteria and surface fungi (Port Salut, Gouda, St Paulin); they may also have penicillin molds injected into them (Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Blue Stilton, Wensleydale). Hard cheeses are ripened by bacteria, and include Cheddar, Cheshire, and Cucciocavallo; some have large cavities within them, such as Swiss Emmental and Gruyčre. Very hard cheeses, such as Parmesan and Spalen, are made with skimmed milk. Processed cheese is made with dried skim-milk powder and additives, and whey cheese is made by heat coagulation of the proteins from whey; examples are Mysost and Primost. In France (from 1980) a cheese has the same appellation controlée status as wine if it is made only in a special defined area—for example, Cantal and Roquefort are appellation controlée cheeses, but not Camembert and Brie, which are made in more than one region.