Many countries have their own kind of semi-hard cheese, like the popular, butter yellow Dutch Gouda, the round-eyed Norwegian Jarlsberg or the American Colby. They have milder flavour than hard cheeses and are often found in your favourite sandwich.
Semi-hard cheese is firm, not hard, though they are produced in a similar way. Semi-hard cheese is salted in a brine bath, and the salt is allowed to penetrate the cheese via the brine. The flavour of the cheese is varied by different starter cultures, and they all differ in fat content, moisture, texture, ripening and taste. Some producers make distinctive shapes and sizes to make the cheese product stand out.
A young, mild cheese is superb for melting, or serving sliced with bread. More mature semi-hard cheese has a stronger taste and is popular as a snack.
Most of the semi-hard cheeses are made from cow milk, but not all of them. The popular Manchego, for example, is a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk.
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