Muenster Cheese – What It Is and How It’s Different

Cheese is delicious. There is simply no denying it. It goes well with almost everything, is extremely tasty, and comes in various flavors. Today we’re going to talk about Muenster cheese.

What is Muenster cheese? It’s one of those cheeses that everyone praises for its flavor and versatility in recipes, including its pairing with snacks like burgers, quick-and-delicious sandwiches, and salads.

So, what distinguishes this cheese? It’s how it tastes. Continue reading to find out what Muenster cheese tastes like. We will provide you with a deeper understanding of this cheese and valuable information that you can use when eating cheese or incorporating it into recipes.

What Exactly Is Muenster Cheese?

American Muenster is among the most popular cheeses in the United States, owing to its excellent melting properties. Muenster is a semi-soft cheese, which accounts for its excellent melting properties.

This texture frequently indicates that the color is very light, almost white. It is also because this cheese has a buttery flavor, which contributes to its softer texture. It has a mild flavor because it is made with cow’s milk.

If you’re a cheese lover, you’ve probably heard of the French cheese “Munster” and wondered if there’s any connection between it and the American Muenster. There is because American Muenster is mainly an imitation of French Munster.

Alsatian immigrants brought the French Munster to the United States, but the aging process changed slightly because of different environments and cultures. This is why American Muenster has evolved into a completely different cheese than French Muenster.

Based on this, you may be perplexed that Muenster is of Germanic origin. However, because the French region of “Alsace” is located on the border of Germany and France, ownership of this region has constantly changed hands throughout history. As a result, this French cheese has a Germanic name.

Origin of Muenster Cheese

wheels of munster cheese

It was created by Benedictine monks who migrated to France’s Alsace region. The cheese was produced to conserve milk and feed many people. The word “munster” derives from the word “monastery.”

The milk of cows grazing in eastern France’s Vosges mountains is used to make authentic French Muenster cheese. Farmers still make cheese the old-fashioned way today.

Different Types of Muenster Cheese

Muenster cheese comes in various flavors, as we’ve already established. So, let’s go over what these are.

Alsatian Munster

This is the original version of this cheese, but it still has a very mild flavor (like American Muenster). Because of minor disparities in the manufacturing process, Alsatian Munster smells much funkier than American Muenster.

American Muenster Cheese

While this is not the original version of this cheese, it is most likely the one you have heard of. As previously stated, it has a mild and salty flavor and a bright orange rind. Other varieties of Muenster can become smelly with age, but American Muenster is used when it’s young and thus does not smell.

French Munster-Gerome

The base flavor of Alsatian and French Munster is very similar. However, French Munster-Gerome also includes Anise and Caraway seeds in the recipe, so the final flavor of this cheese is quite different.

How Does Muenster Cheese Taste?

a block of Muenster cheese

While you might have heard of Muenster cheese, chances are you haven’t tasted it. The orange exterior of this cheese may be off-putting to some people because it suggests that the cheese could be spicy, but this is not the case.

Muenster cheese is quite mild. This is primarily because this type of cheese is typically used when rather young, so it doesn’t have as much time to mature as other, stronger cheeses. So, as long as this cheese is used fairly quickly after aging, it has a mild flavor, distinguishing it from gouda, swiss cheese, blue cheese, cream cheese, and provolone.

Muenster, however, has a salty kick to it, despite its mildness. Another reason why it is great for melting is that it appears to be already seasoned. It’s rich and earthy, but it’s not spicy. So don’t be put off by the orange rind of this cheese.

What Is Muenster’s Orange or Red Part?

The orange or red coloring around the edges distinguishes Muenster. This could be a very mild Paprika or a vegetable-based coloring. It’s pretty bland, but it’s completely edible.

Why have the coloring in the first place? This is to resemble its European Munster cousin (see the spelling difference). 

Not all American Muensters have the orange coloring; some are completely devoid of it. The only thing the coloration does is add to the visual appeal, which is essentially marketing.

How Should I Eat Muenster Cheese?

a turkey sandwich cut in half with a sliced lime at the center

This cheese melts well, making it perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches or burgers. Place a slice over a burger for the full, melted effect while it’s still on the grill. Make your favorite grilled sandwich with your favorite bread and Muenster cheese.

Because it can be mild, this is an excellent cheese for adding flavor and texture to a dish without overpowering the other ingredients. It could go on a pizza or in macaroni and cheese.

It’s also great in baked potatoes. Cut open the top and grate some cheese inside. Allow it to melt slightly before eating. You could also use a small amount when cooking scalloped potatoes. The combination of mild cheese, cream, and well-cooked potato results in a delicious side dish.

Muenster’s slightly salty flavor makes it a good choice for a sandwich, as it adds seasoning and texture. Try it with a turkey sandwich or ham and salad.

If you like fondue, you could add a handful of Muenster cheese for extra flavor. Alternatively, serve cubes on the side for a cheesy bite. This is also an excellent way to present it as part of a cheeseboard.

If you’re cooking a continental breakfast, this cheese is a fantastic choice because it won’t be too strong in the morning. It goes well with pastries, ham, and even fruit like grapes and apples.

How Long Will Muenster Cheese Last?

When kept refrigerated, some cheeses have an extremely long shelf life. Sadly, Muenster cheese is not among them. This is primarily because Muenster cheese is frequently sold in sliced form and thus is not as hardy as the cheese sold in blocks.

If you buy Muenster in sliced form, it will usually last for about three weeks if kept refrigerated. Some manufacturers may advise using the cheese within a shorter time, especially if it has been opened.