Guide to Fresh Cheese

From creamy goat cheese, fluffy Ricotta, soft mozzarella, and crumbly feta, they are all an example of fresh cheese in its purest and youngest forms. Cheese that falls into this category are known for their mild, simple, and sometimes tangy or salty flavor. Since they are fresh, this type of cheese doesn’t have a rind, and they are not aged for a significant amount of time. Fresh cheeses are often creamy, spreadable, or crumbly. They are often sold in plastic packaging or in tubs. In this article, we are going to know more about the different types of fresh cheeses and how they are made. Learning about the major cheese brands can help you choose the right one for any occasion.

How Fresh Cheese is Made

The first thing that is done when it comes to making fresh cheese is to curdle milk by adding acidifying bacteria. These acidifying bacteria convert the milk sugar or lactose into lactic acid. After that, a coagulant like rennet is added to mesh the milk proteins, and this helps to turn the liquid milk into a solid curd. Take note that cheeses that go through a long and slow acidification process, which can take hours and even a day to create. This process helps the cheese to develop a more fragile and delicate texture compared to the cheese that is boiled and acidified with a more massive dose of rennet, which has a rubbery texture. But whether it has a fragile texture or a rubbery curd, both kinds of cheese are considered fresh.

Types of Fresh Cheese

  • Cottage Cheese – This variety of fresh cheese has a soft and creamy texture. Cottage cheese often starts with milk proteins, which are turned into curds and separated from their watery whey afterward. The curds that are gathered are then washed in order to get rid of any remaining acid so that the cheese will have a mild to slightly sweet taste. Cottage cheese is made of skim milk, and at the end of the cheese-making process, they add a dressing made from cream or milk with the curd.
  • Farmer’s Cheese – This fresh cheese variety is essentially cottage cheese before it was dressed. Farmer’s cheese is sometimes hung or pressed in cheesecloth so that it will have a crumbly but solid texture. Different countries have their own versions of the farmer’s cheese. For example, the Mexican queso fresco has a slightly spongy texture which can be salted or not, and the Indian chenna, which is like a dry cottage cheese that has a texture which can be easily cut into cubes.
  • Fromage Blanc – This variety of fresh cheese originated in France. It has a thicker and smooth texture, and it is made out of cultured cream.
  • Cream Cheese – Cream cheese has lesser fat content compared to mascarpone cheese. It also has a slightly tangy taste because of its lactic acid bacteria content. Cream cheese was created in the United States in the 1800s when a cheesemaker in New York made a milk-based, French-style cheese, and he decided to add cream to the process.
  • Quark – This fresh cheese is a low-fat version of the cottage cheese and farmer’s cheese. The thickness and consistency of Quark cheese depend on which country it is made. For example, if the quark cheese is made in Israel, you can expect it to have a creamy style and drier texture, while in Poland and Russia, quark cheese has a soft pressed cake of curds that are mixed or broken up with other dairy products.
  • Mascarpone – Also called Italian cream cheese, Mascarpone is an Italian version of the cream cheese. Mascarpone is created by mixing acid to heavy cream. This type of fresh cheese has a smooth and creamy texture, along with a slightly sweet taste. Some people describe this cheese as a whipped cream without the air.

Ricotta – This type of fresh cheese has a lighter, more delicate, and fluffier texture compared to other fresh cheeses. Ricotta is mostly made from protein-laden whey, which is a leftover from making cheese. Compared to the different cheeses that are listed here, Ricotta is the only one that is cooked curd, coagulated by heat, and firmed by using acid. Which is why Ricotta is the Italian word for re-cooked.