Glossary for the Classification of Cheeses

IMPORTANT: The moisture percentages listed below under each cheese classification represent the moisture on a fat free basis (MFFB), as per the following formula:
MFFB = % of maximum moisture (as per cheese labelling) divided by (100 minus (fat % as per cheese labelling))

Fresh cheese

The fresh cheese contains a moisture of 80% and higher. These cheeses should be consumed as soon as possible. Storage for this type of cheese is limited.

Characteristics

  • Moisture 80% and higher
  • No aging allowed
  • Limited storage

Soft cheese

This cheese contains between 67 and 80% moisture.

(a) Bloomy rind:

The soft cheese, bloomy rind has a rich and creamy texture with a slight elasticity in the cheese. The aging process depends on its thickness. This cheese has a mixed coagulation with slow draining, inoculated with specific moulds.

(b) Washed rind:

The soft, washed rind cheese has a rich and creamy texture with a slight elasticity in the cheese. During the aging process, the cheese is turned over regularly and brushed or washed in brine with beer, mead, wine or spirits

Characteristics

  • 67-80% moisture

(a) Bloomy rind

  • Smooth and creamy texture (slight elasticity in the cheese)
  • Aging depends on thickness
  • Mixed coagulation with slow draining; inoculated with specific moulds

(b) Washed rind:

  • Smooth and creamy texture
  • When aging, cheese is turned over regularly, brushed or washed in brine with beer, mead, wine or spirits

Semi-soft cheese (washed, brushed and natural rinds)

The semi-soft cheeses contain between 62% and 67% moisture. The texture can be soft and creamy. When aging, the cheese can be washed (washed rind) in brine with red smear (with or without alcohol). The cheese can also be brushed and/or develop a natural rind.

Characteristics

  • 62-67% moisture
  • Texture can be soft and creamy
  • When aging, the cheese can be washed (washed rind) in brine with red smear (with or without alcohol). Cheese can also be brushed and/or develop a natural rind

Firm cheese

This cheese contains 50% and 62% moisture. The texture for this cheese is firm and elastic. Among the firm cheeses, you will find some cheeses that are not aged and are milder. Aging for this type of cheese can last from months or years.

(a) Washed, brushed and natural rinds:

This firm, washed, brushed and natural rind cheese has a drier texture and has a certain elasticity. When aging, the cheese can be washed (washed rind) in brine with red smears (with or without alcohol). The cheese can also be brushed and/or develop a natural rind.

Characteristics

  • 50-62% humidity
  • Firm and elastic texture
  • Some firm cheeses are not aged and are milder
  • Aged for months or years

(a) Washed, brushed and natural rinds

  • Drier texture, relatively elastic
  • When aging, cheese can be washed (washed rind) in brine with red smears (with or without alcohol). Cheese can also be brushed and/or develop a natural rind

Hard cheese

This cheese has a moisture of less than 50%. It is harder to grate. The cheese can be aged and stored for several years.

Characteristics

  • Under 50% moisture
  • Hard cheese for grating
  • Can be aged and stored for several years

Veined cheese

The production for the veined cheese is similar to the soft or semi-firm cheeses. It is commonly referred to as blue cheese. This cheese is aged for several months in a humid cave or in a curing room. The cheese is pierced with skewers to help the air circulate through the cheese and facilitate the creation of blue veins.

Characteristics

  • Production similar to soft or semi-firm cheeses
  • Commonly referred to as blue cheese
  • Aging for several months in humid cave or curing room
  • Pierced with skewers to help the air circulate through the cheese and facilitate the creation of blue veins

Milk Treatment

Pasteurized

Milk has been pasteurized by being held at a temperature of not less than 61.6°C for a period of not less than 30 minutes, or for a time and a temperature that is equivalent thereto in phosphatase destruction, as determined by official methods MFO-3, Determination of Phosphatase Activity in Dairy Products, November 30, 1981 (i.e. 72°C for 15 seconds).

Raw milk

Milk has not undergone a thermisized treatment above 40°C.

Thermisized

Milk has undergone a short and advanced thermal treatment at a temperature of 59°C to 65°C for a period of 15 to 20 seconds. This procedure eliminates, in part, certain bacteria susceptible to cause an infection and impoverish the lactic flora.

Type of Manufacturing Process

Farmstead

The milk is processed at the farm and uses only the milk produced on the farm.

Artisanal

The milk is processed off the farm premises and uses milk produced from one or several farms using several methods for the manual manufacturing of cheeses.

Industrial

The milk is processed using manufacturing methods that are highly mechanical and automated. The milk comes from several farms