Our Guide to 10 Different Types of Cheeses

Throughout history, and in pretty much every culture in the world, cheese holds its own. From stand-alone snack to culinary complement, the appetite for cheese isn’t waning anytime soon.

Today, more than 95 percent of American households purchase some type of cheese with annual sales reaching $18 billion.​ Not bad for a food that has a 7,200-year-old past.

The earliest evidence of cheesemaking dates back to ancient Egypt, though most scholars believe that cheese predates recorded history without a definitive place of origin. Remarkably, the art of cheesemaking has remained fairly consistent over time. Cheese curd is produced when the protein casein, found in milk, coagulates into a solid mass. Through fermentation, casein becomes curd. This is where the art comes in; cheesemakers are then able to modify taste and texture to produce the diverse types of cheese we have today.

Acidification modulates the acidity levels. The enzyme rennet transforms milkier textures into cheesy solids. Curds and whey are cut to create harder cheeses or barely cut for softer cheeses. Cooking creates tender rather than crumbly textures. Salt is added to enhance flavor and preserve the final product, which is pressed into the shapes we see in the store. Finally, through the aging process, cheese matures into the flavorful food we all love.

Exploring Cheese Variety

Classic dishes around the world owe much to the diversity of different types of cheeses created throughout history. Here ’s our list of a few of the most popular cheeses on the spectrum.

Blue Cheese

The trademark blue-veined color and strong odor is the result of mold being added to cheese.

Those who overlook blue cheese’s unusual qualities will experience a creamy, robust flavor profile. Made in many varieties all over the world, blue cheese can be crumbled into chopped salads or melted into savory appetizers.

  • Fat content: 28.74g/100g
  • Texture: creamy
  • Color: blue
  • Flavor: salty, sharp, tangy
  • Aroma: stinky, strong

Cheddar

Originating in the English countryside, this pasteurized cow’s milk cheese has become one of the most widely eaten cheeses in the world today. The flavor, texture, and aroma attributes of Cheddar continues to develop as the cheese is aged. With its smooth texture and sharper taste, cheddar can go from casserole complement or cheeseburger topper to cubed party snacks.

  • Fat content: 9 g/100g
  • Texture: compact and crumbly
  • Color: pale yellow
  • Flavor: mild and creamy to sharp
  • Aroma: light to pungent

Colby

This soft, moist Wisconsin cheese is a milder version of cheddar. Because of its subtler flavor profile, Colby is commonly used as a practical table cheese, paired with wine, sandwiches, and salads.

  • Fat Content: 32.11g/100g
  • Texture: firm, open and springy
  • Color: yellow
  • Flavor: sweet
  • Aroma: mild, sweet

Gouda

This soft Dutch cheese is a staple of European cheese boards and brings subtle flavor notes to wine-tasting. Gouda can also be smoked and flavored and offers many versatile applications as a unique substitute in traditional cheese dishes. Think Gouda mac and cheese.

  • Fat content: 31 g/100g
  • Texture: compact, crumbly, dense and springy
  • Color: Cream or light yellow
  • Flavor: creamy, full-flavored, nutty, sweet
  • Aroma: pungent

Monterey Jack

This American cheese originated in Monterey, California has a high moisture content making it an excellent melting cheese for soups and sauces. Marbled with Colby or enhanced with jalapenos, Monterey is also the perfect cheese-and-cracker choice for appetizers.

  • Fat content: 30.28g/100g
  • Texture: compact, creamy, firm, open and supple
  • Color: White or cream colored
  • Flavor: buttery, mild
  • Aroma: aromatic

Mozzarella

This southern Italian cheese, originally made from buffalo’s milk, is a soft, mild cheese that is a staple for classic dishes such as lasagna and traditional pizza with a subtle milky cheese flavor. Mozzarella is a Pasta Filata cheese which gives it great melting characteristics and allows it to stand apart from other cheeses in both flavor and performance.

  • Fat content: 20 g/100g
  • Texture: springy, stringy and supple
  • Color: white
  • Flavor: milky
  • Aroma: fresh, milky

Muenster

This soft American cheese is based on its German washed-rind cousin. Brought to the U.S. by German immigrants, it quickly became adopted into American cuisine. It’s excellent melting quality has made it the foundation for grilled cheese recipes as well as a topping for burgers. It also pairs nicely as a table cheese with beer and wine.

  • Fat Content: 30.04g/100g
  • Texture: elastic, smooth and supple
  • Color: pale yellow
  • Flavor: mild, savory, sharp
  • Aroma: pungent

Parmesan

Parmesan is a hard, dry cheese that originated in the Parma region of Italy. Made from pasteurized milk, and aged for a minimum of 10 months, Parmesan offers a strong flavor that adds robust nutty notes to Caesar salads or as the finishing touch to pasta dishes.

  • Fat content: 25.83 g/100g
  • Texture: crystalline, dense and grainy
  • Color: straw
  • Flavor: fruity, nutty, savory, sharp
  • Aroma: strong

Provolone

This semi-hard Italian cheese has similarities in taste to Mozzarella. This is also a Pasta Filata cheese, so elastic strings of curd become exceptionally rich and tasty when melted. For this reason, Provolone intensifies the flavor of hot paninis and baked pasta dishes.

  • Fat Content: 26.62g/100g
  • Texture: firm, grainy and open
  • Color: pale yellow
  • Flavor: buttery, mild, sharp, spicy, sweet, tangy
  • Aroma: pleasant

Swiss

No, Swiss cheese is not from Switzerland. This American cheese with its distinctive holey appearance (known as eyes) is a result of carbon dioxide bubbles that form during the aging process. The bigger the eyes, the stronger the flavor. Swiss is the perfect partner for fruit and deli meats.

  • Fat content: 7.8 g/100g
  • Texture: firm
  • Color: pale yellow
  • Flavor: nutty, sweet
  • Aroma: Pungent

Taking Cheese Flavor in New Directions

Certainly, the taste for cheese flavor is here to stay. As a food producer, finding innovative ways to introduce robust cheese flavor into packaged food applications requires the mastery of a dairy ingredient developer.

DairiConcepts offers expertise across the cheese flavor spectrum, customizing flavor profiles for unique taste experiences, all while keeping products clean label. Their standard of identity in cheese offerings brings authentic flavor to multiple food categories, while their concentrated cheese paste, AMPLIFI, gives any product a boost of cheese flavor without the added cost. Ask about their dairy type flavors, powders and seasonings, which are ready for customized formulation to fit your needs. The possibilities begin with your product vision.

Team up with DairiConcepts and explore the vast range of cheese note formulations that can enrich your products. It’s time to dial up the power of cheese with a committed partner.

DairiConcepts has become the innovative partner for food manufacturers that need customized ingredient solutions. Doing more than just helping food producers achieve their dairy flavor goals, DairiConcepts is creating better flavors, creamier textures, and clean label foods. They’re delivering a product with the desired flavor in mind while keeping up with consumer’s evolving tastes. Order a sample to experience the DairiConcepts difference.