soft cheese = soft paste cheese Cheeses in this category are often spread on bread or crackers to be served as snacks. They're usually not used for cooking. Most soft cheeses should be used within a few days of purchase--they spoil faster than firmer cheeses.
Boursault Pronunciation: boor-SOH Notes: This is a soft-ripened, triple crème French cheese that very rich and mild. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Brillat-Savarin OR Caprice des Dieux OR St. Andre OR Excelsior OR Brie OR Camembert Brie Pronunciation: BREE Notes: This French cheese is rich, mild, and creamy, and it's soft enough to spread easily on crackers or bread. As with Camembert cheese, the Brie name isn't protected so there are lots of mediocre knock-offs on the market. Look for French Bries--they're much better than their American counterparts. The rind is edible. For best flavor, wait until it's perfectly ripe and warmed to room temperature before serving it. Substitutes: Camembert OR Explorateur OR Paglietta OR Carre de l'Est OR Coulommiers OR Reblochon
Brillat Savarin cheese Pronunciation: bree-YAH sah-vah-RAHN Notes: This soft triple crème French cheese is rich, buttery, and mild, though some find it a bit sour and salty. Substitutes: Boursault OR Caprice des Dieux OR St. Andre OR Excelsior
Brinza cheese = Brynza cheese = Bryndza cheese Pronunciation: BRIN-zuh Notes: Look for this salty sheep's milk cheese in Eastern European markets. It's spreadable when young, but becomes crumbly as it ages. Like Feta, it's good in salads or melted on pizza. Substitutes: feta (saltier)
bryndza See brinza.
brynza See brinza.
Camembert Pronunciation: CAH-muhn-BARE Notes: This popular soft-ripened cheese is buttery rich and wonderful to spread on hot French bread. The name's not protected, so there are lots of Camemberts of varying quality on the market. Try to get a French raw milk Camembert--our pasteurized domestic versions are bland in comparison. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Brie OR Explorateur OR Paglietta
Caprice des Dieux Pronunciation: cah-PREES-day-DYOO Notes: This oval French cheese resembles Camembert and Brie. Substitutes: Camembert OR Brie OR Brillat-Savarin OR St. Andre OR Boursault
Carré de l'est = Carre de l'Est Pronunciation: kar-RAY-duh-LEST Notes: This is a square washed rind, moderately stinky cheese from France. Substitutes: Epoisses OR Pont-l'Evêque OR Maroilles OR Brie OR Camembert
Chaource cheese Pronunciation: shah-OORSE Notes: This French cheese is similar to Brie and Camembert, but creamier and more acidic. It's good with champagne. Substitutes: Camembert OR Brie
Coulommiers Pronunciation: koo-lum-YAY Notes: This soft-ripened French cheese resembles Brie and Camembert. Substitutes: Brie OR Camembert OR Chaource
Crema Danica = Crema Dania Pronunciation: CREHM-uh DAHN-ik-uh Substitutes: Camembert OR Brie
Crescenza See Stracchino.
Epoisses = Epoisses de Bourgogne Pronunciation: ay-PWAHZ Notes: This well-regarded French cheese is a member of the washed-rind or "stinky" family of cheeses, but it's a bit more subtle than Limburger, Livarot, or other siblings. It's a little runny when ripe. The rind is edible--taste it to see if you like it. Substitutes: Pont-l'Evêque OR Maroilles OR Muenster
Excelsior Substitutes: Boursault OR Brillat-Savarin
Explorateur = l'Explorateur Pronunciation: ex-plor-ah-TUR Notes: This soft, creamy French cheese is rich and complex. Substitutes: Brie OR Camembert feta Pronunciation: FEH-tuh Notes: This salty, crumbly cheese is common in Greek cuisine. It's often stored in brine; if so, you might want to rinse it before using to remove some of the saltiness. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Brinza (similar but hard to find) OR Haloumi OR cotija OR ricotta salata (better than feta) OR aged chevre
hand = handkäse = handkase = harzer kase = harzer käse Notes: This German washed rind cheese is pungent and stinky. It's good with beer, but it would over-power most wines. Substitutes: Mainz OR Harz OR Limburger
Harz Substitutes: Mainz OR Hand OR Limburger OR Maroilles OR Livarot OR Brick (milder) OR Liederkranz (milder) Notes: Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
Humboldt fog cheese Notes: This excellent soft-ripened goat cheese has a layer of vegetable ash running down the middle. It's an excellent table cheese. The rind is edible, and fairly good. Substitutes: Morbier OR Brie
kochkäse = kochkase Notes: This German cheese is easy to spread. It's great on crackers and rye bread.
Liederkranz Pronunciation: LEE-der-krantz Notes: This cheese was invented by German-American Emil Frey, who wanted to make a domestic version of Limburger cheese. Borden acquired the brand after Frey died, and later sold the brand to a New Zealand outfit. It's hard, and perhaps impossible, to find in the United States. Substitutes: Schloss (very similar) OR Brick OR Limburger (sharper) OR Maroilles OR Livarot OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand Notes: Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
Livarot Pronunciation: LEE-vah-roh Notes: This excellent French cheese is in the washed-rind or "stinky" family. Though pungent, it's not as overpowering as Limburger. The rind is edible, but it's not for faint-hearted. Substitutes: Maroilles OR Limburger OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand OR Brick (milder) OR Liederkranz (milder)
Mainz Substitutes: Harz OR Hand OR Limburger OR Brick (milder) OR Schloss (milder) Notes: Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
Manouri cheese Notes: This Greek sheep's and goat's milk cheese is similar to feta, only creamier and less salty. Substitutes: feta OR ricotta salata Maroilles Pronunciation: mahr-WAHL Notes: This is a stinky washed-rind cheese from France that smells worse than it tastes. You probably don't want to eat the pungent rind. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Livarot OR Pont-l'Evêque OR Reblochon OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand OR Limburger
Paglietta Notes: This soft Italian cheese resembles Brie and Camembert. Use it within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Camembert OR Brie
Pont-l'Evêque = Pont l'Eveque Pronunciation: POHN-luh-VEK Notes: This ancient and well-regarded French cheese isn't as stinky as other washed rind cheeses. It's best not to eat the rind. Substitutes: Reblochon OR Camembert (not as stinky) OR Maroilles (stinkier)
Reblochon cheese Pronunciation: reh-bloh-SHOHN Notes: This rich and creamy French cheese is quite mild for a washed rind cheese, but it's complex enough to be popular with gourmets. The rind is edible, but too pungent for many people. Substitutes: Pont-l'Evêque OR Brie OR Beaumont OR Esrom OR Beaufort OR tomme (nuttier taste) OR raclette OR Port Salut OR fontina
ricotta salata Pronunciation: rih-COH-tah sah-LAH-tah Notes: This mild sheep's milk cheese is used more for cooking than snacking. It's great in salads or in pasta dishes. Look for it in Italian markets. Substitutes: feta (more pungent) OR Manouri
robiola Pronunciation: roh-bee-OH-lah Notes: Two distinctly different cheeses go by the name robiola: Robiola Piemonte is a fresh cheese that's often used on pizza, while robiola Lombardia is an aged, tan-colored soft cheese used for snacking.
robiola Lombardia cheese = robiola cheese (aged) Pronunciation: roh-bee-OH-lah Notes: There are different kinds of robiola cheeses; those made in the Lombardy region are washed-rind soft cheeses that are rich and mildly pungent. Don't confuse this with robiola Piemonte, a fresh robiola cheese from the Piedmont region that's often used to top pizzas or melt into fondues. Lombardy robiolas include Robiola Valsassina = Robiola della Valsassina and Substitutes: taleggio OR Reblochon
Schloss = Schlosskäse = Schlosskase = castle cheese Notes: This Austrian cheese is a marvelous choice for people who like strong "stinky" cheeses. It's good with beer, but it would overpower most wines. Substitutes: Limburger OR Brie (not as stinky) Saint André cheese = St. Andre cheese Substitutes: Boursault OR Brillat-Savarin OR Caprice des Dieux Notes: Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Saint Marcellin cheese = St. Marcellin cheese Notes: A young version of this French cheese is so runny it's sold in small pots; a more aged version is wrapped in leaves. Both are rich and exquisite on French bread. Substitutes: Banon OR Stracchino = Crescenza = Stracchino di Crescenza Pronunciation: strah-KEE-noh Notes: This soft Italian cheese is mild and spreadable. It's great on pizza. Use within a few days after purchasing and, for best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Taleggio (unripened version of Stracchino)
Teleme Pronunciation: TELL-uh-may Notes: This is a California cheese with a mild, nutty flavor. The rind is edible. Substitutes: Camembert OR jack
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden
semi-soft cheese Notes: These cheeses are great for snacking or desserts, and a few are heat-tolerant enough to be good cooking cheeses.
Cheeses lose character when frozen, but many semi-soft cheeses can be frozen and thawed without losing too much flavor, though some become crumbly. For best results, first cut the cheese into small (1/2 pound) chunks, and wrap each chunk in an airtight package. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use the cheese soon after it's thawed.
Substitutes: cheese substitutes
asadero = queso asadero = Oaxaca cheese = Chihuahua® cheese Notes: This stringy Mexican cheese melts nicely, so it's great on quesadillas. Substitutes: mozzarella cheese OR jack cheese OR Muenster OR Provolone
Beaumont cheese = Tomme de Beaumont Pronunciation: boh-MAHN Notes: This French cow's milk cheese has a mild, nutty flavor. Substitutes: Muenster OR Reblochon OR Havarti OR Port du Salut
bierkäse = bierkaese = beer kaese = beer cheese = Weisslacker Pronunciation: BEER-kay-suh OR BEER-case Notes: This is a soft, stinky cheese. German like to put it on rye bread along with some sliced onion, and have it with beer. It's too overpowering to serve with wine. Substitutes: Limburger OR Havarti (This has a similar texture, but it's much milder) Bel Paese Pronunciation: BEHL-pie-AY-zeh Notes: This is a mild, semi-soft Italian cheese that's good with apples, pears, and fruity red wines. It's also shredded and used to make pizza, risotto, and pasta dishes. Substitutes: Fontina OR Taleggio OR Gouda OR Havarti OR Samsoe OR jack OR Muenster OR mozzarella
Brick cheese Notes: This is a pungent American washed-rind cheese. Substitutes: Lagerkaese OR Havarti OR Cheddar OR Limburger (more pungent)
buffalo milk mozzarella See mozzarella.
Caciocavallo = Cacciocavallo Notes: This Italian cheese is similar to provolone. Substitutes: Provolone (not as moist, but similar) OR Kashkaval OR Scarmorza OR Kasseri OR mozzarella
California jack See jack.
casero cheese Notes: This is a mild white Mexican cheese. Substitutes: muenster OR jack
Chaubier cheese Notes: This mild French cheese is made with a blend of cow and goat milk.
corsu vecchio cheese Notes: This sheep's milk cheese comes from Corsica.
Danish Port Salut See Esrom.
Esrom = Danish Port Salut Pronunciation: ES-rom Notes: This Danish cheese is semi-soft and only slightly pungent. It's a great melting cheese and a popular ingredient in casseroles. Substitutes: Havarti OR Saint Paulin
Fiore Sardo cheese Notes: This is an Italian sheep's milk cheese. It's a bit crumbly.
Gouda Pronunciation: GOO-duh Notes: This Dutch cheese has a mild, nutty flavor. Varieties include smoked Gouda, the diminutive baby Gouda, and Goudas flavored with garlic and spices. Goudas are also classed by age. A young Gouda is mild, an aged Gouda = medium Gouda = mature Gouda is more assertive, and an old Gouda = very aged Gouda is downright pungent. Substitutes: Edam (similar, but with a lower milkfat content) OR Samsoe OR Bel Paese OR jack OR Muenster OR cheese substitutes
Haloumi = Halloumi Pronunciation: hah-LOO-me Notes: This salty, crumbly cheese from Cyprus stands up well to heat and can even be fried or grilled. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets. Substitutes: feta (similar flavor) OR mozzarella (similar texture)
Havarti Pronunciation: hah-VAR-tee Notes: This mild Danish cheese is perfect for slicing into sandwiches. It's often flavored with spices and chilies. Substitutes: Tilsit OR jack cheese OR Esrom (more pungent) OR Gouda OR Mahon
jack cheese Notes: This California semi-soft cheese resembles Muenster. It has a mild, nondescript flavor, but it's good cheese to slice into sandwiches or melt into casseroles. It also goes by California jack, Monterey jack, Sonoma jack, and Mexican jack, depending on where it was produced. Efforts to boost the flavor have produced Pepper Jack = Jalapeno Jack. Don't confuse this with aged jack, which is a grating cheese. Substitutes: Muenster OR Gouda OR Bel Paese OR Samsoe
Lagerkaese Substitutes: Brick OR Limburger (softer, stronger flavor)
Laguiole Pronunciation: Lah-YOLE Notes: This is a mild French semi-soft cheese. Substitutes: jack cheese
Lappi Pronunciation: LAP-pee Notes: This is a mild semi-soft cheese from the Lapland region of Finland. It's a good melter and works well in fondues. Substitutes: Emmenthal (very similar) OR Swiss
Limburger Pronunciation: LIM-buhr-guhr Notes: This is a very stinky and salty German washed rind cheese. It's too strong to serve with most wines, so it's often served with beer. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Schloss (milder) OR Maroilles OR Livarot OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand Complements: beer OR onions OR pumpernickel bread
Monterey jack See jack.
Morbier cheese Pronunciation: MOR-byay Notes: This creamy and mild cheese has a dark stripe running up the middle, a reference to earlier times when a layer of ash was added to the cheese to protect it from insects. Morbier has a rich, earthy flavor. It's a good melting cheese, but you might want to cook with a cheaper cheese like Lappi or Havarti. Substitutes: Fontina OR Havarti OR Esrom
mozzarella Pronunciation: mah-tsuh-REHL-uh Notes: Mozzarella is one of the few cheeses that doesn't turn rubbery or ooze oil if cooked too long or too hot, so it's a key ingredient in pizzas and casseroles. It's also stretchy--the long white strings that you often see draped over the sides of pizza boxes are usually mozzarella.
There are two kinds. Low moisture mozzarella is firmer and the best choice for pizza. High moisture mozzarella = fresh mozzarella is more delicate; it's often drizzled with olive oil and serve uncooked as an appetizer. It works in pizza, too, but you should first put slices of it into a colander to drain for about an hour, and put them on the pizza only during the last minute of cooking.
High moisture mozzarella is often packaged in tubs or bags filled with water--this keeps it soft but leeches out some of the flavor. Look for mozzarella di bufalo = buffalo milk mozzarella, which is more interesting than cow's milk mozzarella = fior di latte. Bocconcini (Pronunciation: BOK-kuhn-CHEE-nee) are small balls of high moisture mozzarella. High moisture mozzarellas are much more perishable than their low-moisture counterparts, so use them within a few days of purchase. Substitutes: Scarmorza OR Cacciocavallo OR string cheese (very similar, but extruded rather than molded) OR queso blanco OR Provolone OR Kashkaval OR Kasseri OR Emmenthal (another good melting cheese) OR Bel Paese OR "Tofu Rella" Italian White (a soy-based cheese substitute; use in melted cheese dishes) OR fontina (good on pizzas) OR cheddar (different flavor, doesn't melt as well as mozzarella) OR smoked tofu OR cheese substitutes
mozzarella di bufalo See mozzarella.
Muenster = Munster = Münster Pronunciation: MUHN-ster or MOON-ster Notes: When produced in Europe, Muenster is a mild-mannered member of the normally stinky washed-rind cheese family, though it becomes more pungent as it ages. It's delicious with dark breads and beer or Gewurztraminer wine. American muensters are much milder. Substitutes: jack OR brick OR Port du Salut OR Bel Paese
Oka Pronunciation: OH-kuh Notes: This Canadian semi-soft cheese has a mild, nutty flavor and melts nicely. Substitutes: Raclette OR Emmenthal OR Port Salut
Ossau-Iraty cheese = Ossau-Iraty-Brebis-Pyrenees Pronunciation: OH-so-ear-ah-TEE Notes: This little-known Basque cheese is made from raw sheep's milk, and it's creamy, nutty, and mellow.
pasta filata = spun curd cheeses = pulled curd cheeses = plastic curd cheeses = stretched curd cheeses Notes: These cheeses are stretched and pulled like taffy before being molded, which gives them a springy, elastic consistency. Unlike many cheeses, they stand up well to cooking. This category includes mozzarella, Provolone, Scamorza, string cheese, and Caciocavallo.
plastic curd cheeses See pasta filata.
Port du Salut See Port Salut.
Port Salut cheese = Port du Salut Pronunciation: POOR sah-LEW Notes: Port Salut is a mild French semi-soft cheese. Don't confuse with Danish Port Salut, which is also called Esrom cheese. Substitutes: Saint Paulin OR Esrom OR Havarti OR jack OR Muenster OR brick OR Bel Paese
provolone Pronunciation: PROH-vuh-LOH-nuh OR PROH-vuh-LONE Notes: This Italian cheese is like mozzarella, only firmer and more flavorful. It's often used in sandwiches and on on pizza. Substitutes: Caciocavallo (lower in fat) OR Scamorza OR mozzarella OR kasseri OR smoked tofu OR cheese substitutes
pulled curd cheeses See pasta filata.
queso asadero See asadero.
queso blanco Substitutes: mozzarella OR Muenster
queso Menonita See queso Chihuahua®.
Saint Paulin cheese Pronunciation: SAHN poh-LAHN Notes: This French semi-soft cheese is creamy and mild. Substitutes: Esrom OR Havarti
Samsoe = Samso Pronunciation: SAM-soh Notes: This versatile Danish semi-soft cheese is mild and nutty. Substitutes: Emmental OR Tybo OR Gouda OR Bel Paese
Scamorza = Scamorze Pronunciation: skuh-MOOR-tsuh Notes: This cheese is similar to mozzarella, only smaller and firmer. It's often smoked. Substitutes: mozzarella OR Cacciocavallo OR Provolone
Sonoma jack See jack.
spun curd cheeses See pasta filata.
string cheese Substitutes: mozzarella (molded rather than extruded, but otherwise very similar)
Syrian cheese Substitutes: jack cheese OR Muenster cheese
Taleggio Pronunciation: tah-LEZH-oh Substitutes: Stracchino (ripened version of taleggio) OR Bel Paese OR fontina Notes: This creamy Italian cheese is one of the better stinky cheeses--not too tame, not too wild. It's great on crackers or bread, but it's also a good melting cheese and works well in casseroles and even on pizza. The rind is edible, but not to everyone's liking. Substitutes: Robiola Lombardia OR Urgelia cheese OR Limburger (stronger and considered inferior)
Tilsit = Tilsiter = Tilsit Havarti Notes: This is a good sandwich cheese. Substitutes: Havarti (not as flavorful) OR jack cheese OR Esrom (more pungent) OR Gouda OR Mahon
Tomme Crayeuse cheese Pronunciation: TUM cray-YOUZ Notes: This soft French cheese is rich and buttery. Don't eat the rind. Substitutes: Tomme de Savoie OR Saint Nectaire OR Muenster Tomme de Savoie cheese = tomme de montagne Pronunciation: TUM de sah-VWAH Notes: This is a mild and pleasant French cheese that's semi-soft when young, firmer when aged. Substitutes: Tomme Crayeuse OR Saint Nectaire OR Muenster
Tybo Pronunciation: TIE-boh Notes: This mild Danish cheese is great on sandwiches. Substitutes: Samsoe
Urgelia cheese = Queso de l'Alt Urgell y la Cerdanya Pronunciation: ur-HAIL-ya Notes: This creamy Spanish cheese is a member of the washed rind (a.k.a. stinky) cheese family, but it's mild and subtle. Substitutes: Taleggio
Vacherin Pronunciation: vahsh-er-AHN Notes: This is a cheese-lover's cheese, with a complex nutty flavor. It's a good melting cheese that's often used to make fondues. Try heating it a bit and serving it with crusty French bread. Substitutes: Fontina OR Appenzell OR Emmenthal
1 C shredded = ¼ pound
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden