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
Visit the excellent CheeseNet for more information--especially their excellent page on Cheese Types. If lactose intolerant or allergic to milk, visit the No Milk Page.
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden