Muenster cheese or also known as Munster, is a semi-soft cheese from the United States. Some also believes that it is an imitation of the Alsatian washed-rind Munster cheese from the German immigrants. But its name is not related to the German city of Munster but rather to the French city of Munster in Alsace. It is known to have originated in that region sometime around the 7th century by either Irish or Italian monks. The name “Munster” translates as “monastery” which was altered from Latin monasterium.
History of Muenster Cheese
Based on the PDO application filed for Muenster cheese, it was first created by monks in the Flecht valley in the area of Europe which is known as the Haut-Rhin of Alsace, in France which borders Germany.
According to some historians, this helped the French master the art of wash-rind cheese making in the middle ages. But today, after many competitions from outsiders, the French AOC Munster is considered to be the best by many people.
In the United States, it was invented in the 1800s by French immigrants, and its home is in Wisconsin.
Characteristics of Muenster Cheese
Muenster cheese is made from pasteurized whole cow’s milk, therefore, it’s not for the low fat fans. It is smooth, pale yellow in color with an orange rind. The orange rind is the result of the vegetable coloring or a very mild paprika that is added to it during the cheese making process. It has a smooth, soft, and moist texture, and it can develop a strong, pungent aroma when aged properly.
The taste of Muenster cheese can vary from mild and bland like the classic white American cheese, to sharp like Monterey Jack. There are several variations on what constitutes Muenster cheese because it is made in Germany and France, as well as in Copenhagen and in Wisconsin.
The North American version of Muenster cheese is supple and pale inside, and is also quite bland. It is useful if you need a cheese that will provide body without changing the taste of other ingredients. Though its rind has some smell, that does not affect the taste of the cheese.
Muenster Cheese Serving and Pairing
Since Muenster cheese melts really good, and maybe one of the best cheese that melts out there, it is usually used in grilled dishes like sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and pizza. You can also include it in macaroni and cheese but it’s better if you will mix it with some stronger cheeses like cheddar for additional taste.
You can also serve Muenster cheese as a snack or as an appetizer before dinner. If you prefer to have it as a snack, it can go well with beer. It can also go well with red wine such as Pinot noir, Beaujolais, and Merlot, and with dry to sweet white wines as well.
So, if you’re looking for a cheese that can offer you endless melting possibilities, maybe you want to give Muenster cheese a try. And aside from using it as an ingredient to dishes, it is also a great appetizer to serve in parties or even just for snacking at home.