Different Types of Cheese

Behold all the different types of cheese

Sure, you could take a trip around the world to get a glimpse at the wonders different places have to offer. Or, you could stay home and eat your way through all the different types of cheese in the world. From the mild, creamy flavors of fresh cheese to the chewy texture of bread cheese or stretched-curd mozzarella. Or the washed-rind stinkers like Limburger and Taleggio to the strong, tangy flavor of blue cheese. And don't forget the exquisite sophistication of the semi-firm mountain cheeses or the soul-satisfying crystalline crunch of an aged parmesan or gouda.

Here in Wisconsin, we invite you to sample all the different types of cheese along with us. Just don't ask us to choose a favorite – we love all 600+ of our cheese children equally.

What are the different types of cheese?

By some estimates, there are more than 1,800 different types of cheese in the world. And there are almost as many ways of classifying them.

Cheese can be classified by:

  • Milk. Different types of cheese are made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, or buffalo, or combinations of each.
  • Country or region. Many different types of cheese are named after or associated with the place they were first made. Parmesan cheese, for example, originates from the area around Parma, Italy. Gouda was first traded in the Dutch town of Gouda. And cheddar cheese originated in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. One of our state's favorites, Colby, originated in Colby, Wisconsin.
  • Age. Fresh cheese is intended to be eaten right away while other cheeses may be aged from a few months to a few years or more.
  • Texture. Cheese is often categorized by its texture, from soft to semi-soft and semi-firm to hard. Generally, the longer a cheese is aged, the lower its moisture content and the harder it becomes.
  • Flavor. Cheese is often described as having flavors that runs from mild to extra sharp. Mild cheeses tend to be younger cheeses, while stronger flavored cheeses tend to be aged cheeses or cheeses with mold or bacteria cultures introduced during the cheesemaking process.
  • Preparation. Many young cheeses are unripened, meaning they have no additional added cultures. Mold-ripened cheese like blue cheese or washed-rind cheeses like limburger have different mold or bacteria cultures introduced during the cheesemaking process that helps develop stronger flavor. Pasta filata cheeses are stretched during the cheesemaking process to produce a stringy, chewy texture like mozzarella.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What are the different types of cheese?

What are the different types of cheese?

There are more than a thousand different types of cheese in the world, and they are categorized in many different ways. One of the most common ways of talking about cheeses to describe its texture: from soft and semi-soft to semi-firm and hard cheese.

What are the different types of cheese preparation?

There are many different types of cheese preparation techniques, which account for the hundreds of different types of cheese throughout the world.

  • Fresh cheese is made to be eaten almost immediately and includes cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta.
  • Mold-ripened cheese has mold cultures introduced during the cheesemaking process that give cheeses like camembert their gloomy, earthy flavor.
  • Blue cheeses are made by introducing a special type of fungus that creates blue-green veins of mold throughout the cheese.
  • Washed-rind cheeses uses bacteria to ripen the cheese and create strong flavors.
  • Pasta filata cheeses like mozzarella use a pulled-curd technique during the cheesemaking process that gives the cheese a stringy, chewy texture.
  • Brined cheeses like feta and halloumi are matured in a saltwater solution.

What are the different types of cheese dishes?

Cheese features prominently in many of the world's most favorite dishes, including mac n cheese, fondue, cheeseburgers, pizza topped with mozzarella, fondue, and nachos drizzled with cheese sauce.

Wisconsin: home to all the different types of cheese

Here in Wisconsin, we feel lucky to have more than 600 different types of cheese to choose from, and we are always experimenting on ways to make even more. In fact, for more than 175 years, we have been pushing the boundaries of what cheese can and should be (fried cheese curds, anyone?), and mastering traditions while innovating new flavors and textures.

Part of what endears us to cheese is that there are so many different types of cheese to enjoy. From the squeaky freshness of brand-new Wisconsin cheese curds to the colby or muenster cheese in our favorite baked mac and cheese recipe to our award-winning aged gouda and parmesan cheeses, there's an infinite number of new worlds of flavor possibilities. And we wouldn't be Wisconsinites if we weren't determined to explore every one of them, boldly going where no cheese-lover has gone before.

Of course, we invite you to join us on this Wisconsin cheese journey. We promise you'll enjoy the ride.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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