Semi-Soft and Semi-Hard
Semi-soft cheeses have a smooth and mostly creamy interior with little or no rind. Like fresh cheeses, these usually have high moisture content and are often pungent. They can be quite mild. Raw milk and pasteurized milk are both used in this category. Semi-soft cheeses include Baby Swiss, Colby, farmer, Fontina, Gouda, Havarti, Monterey Jack and Muenster.
Semi-hard cheese ages well and imparts flavor, body and texture changes over time. Cheese makers produce the firmer semi-hard cheeses by cutting the curds small and cooking them at higher temperatures. Semi-hard cheeses include cheddar, Colby, Edam, Gruyere and Swiss.
Two popular options for purchasing semi-soft and semi-hard cheeses are shredded and pre-sliced. Shreds may combine semi-soft cheeses such as Monterey Jack, semi-hard cheeses like cheddar and pasta filata cheeses like mozzarella all in one package. The percentage of each cheese in a blend can determine the browning of a specific dish or pizza. Blends of shreds are available in regular, feather and fancy shreds to reach the needs of every consumer.
Pre-sliced products offer labor-saving convenience and cost-saving portion control. Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Swiss are commonly used sliced natural cheeses because of their distinct flavors. Cheddar products are expertly cured to develop a smooth, even-bodied cheese with outstanding eye appeal and a rich, nutty flavor. Monterey Jack presents a delicate taste with a soft texture for a unique bite. Swiss cheese, made with sweet dairy cream, offers a mellow, nutty flavor with a touch of sweetness and a distinctive look.
- Use sliced products on cold or hot sandwiches for added appeal.
- Sliced cheeses can be used to create appetizing fresh fruit and vegetable trays.
- Blend cheese in casseroles, omelets and quiches for a distinguishing taste.
- Shredded products are great for salads and salad bar applications.
- Serve melted shredded cheese on top of french fries, baked potatoes, nacho chips and Mexican entrees.
- Add shreds to soups for increased flavor and new recipe ideas.