A soft cheese is any young or fresh cheese with a high moisture content that makes it soft enough to spread. Unripened soft cheeses have a mild and milky flavor, while ripened soft cheeses are aged for a few weeks to allow mold within the cheese to grow and impart more flavor.
A soft cheese is made without pressing the curd to squeeze out the whey, or milk liquids, resulting in a cheese with higher moisture content. Soft cheeses are only slightly aged or not aged at all, giving them a softer texture but a shorter shelf life. While hard cheeses may last months, soft cheeses only last weeks at most.