semi-soft cheese Notes: These cheeses are great for snacking or desserts, and a few are heat-tolerant enough to be good cooking cheeses.
Cheeses lose character when frozen, but many semi-soft cheeses can be frozen and thawed without losing too much flavor, though some become crumbly. For best results, first cut the cheese into small (1/2 pound) chunks, and wrap each chunk in an airtight package. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use the cheese soon after it's thawed.
Substitutes: cheese substitutes
asadero = queso asadero = Oaxaca cheese = Chihuahua® cheese Notes: This stringy Mexican cheese melts nicely, so it's great on quesadillas. Substitutes: mozzarella cheese OR jack cheese OR Muenster OR Provolone
Beaumont cheese = Tomme de Beaumont Pronunciation: boh-MAHN Notes: This French cow's milk cheese has a mild, nutty flavor. Substitutes: Muenster OR Reblochon OR Havarti OR Port du Salut
bierkäse = bierkaese = beer kaese = beer cheese = Weisslacker Pronunciation: BEER-kay-suh OR BEER-case Notes: This is a soft, stinky cheese. German like to put it on rye bread along with some sliced onion, and have it with beer. It's too overpowering to serve with wine. Substitutes: Limburger OR Havarti (This has a similar texture, but it's much milder) Bel Paese Pronunciation: BEHL-pie-AY-zeh Notes: This is a mild, semi-soft Italian cheese that's good with apples, pears, and fruity red wines. It's also shredded and used to make pizza, risotto, and pasta dishes. Substitutes: Fontina OR Taleggio OR Gouda OR Havarti OR Samsoe OR jack OR Muenster OR mozzarella
Brick cheese Notes: This is a pungent American washed-rind cheese. Substitutes: Lagerkaese OR Havarti OR Cheddar OR Limburger (more pungent)
buffalo milk mozzarella See mozzarella.
Caciocavallo = Cacciocavallo Notes: This Italian cheese is similar to provolone. Substitutes: Provolone (not as moist, but similar) OR Kashkaval OR Scarmorza OR Kasseri OR mozzarella
California jack See jack.
casero cheese Notes: This is a mild white Mexican cheese. Substitutes: muenster OR jack
Chaubier cheese Notes: This mild French cheese is made with a blend of cow and goat milk.
corsu vecchio cheese Notes: This sheep's milk cheese comes from Corsica.
Danish Port Salut See Esrom.
Esrom = Danish Port Salut Pronunciation: ES-rom Notes: This Danish cheese is semi-soft and only slightly pungent. It's a great melting cheese and a popular ingredient in casseroles. Substitutes: Havarti OR Saint Paulin
Fiore Sardo cheese Notes: This is an Italian sheep's milk cheese. It's a bit crumbly.
Gouda Pronunciation: GOO-duh Notes: This Dutch cheese has a mild, nutty flavor. Varieties include smoked Gouda, the diminutive baby Gouda, and Goudas flavored with garlic and spices. Goudas are also classed by age. A young Gouda is mild, an aged Gouda = medium Gouda = mature Gouda is more assertive, and an old Gouda = very aged Gouda is downright pungent. Substitutes: Edam (similar, but with a lower milkfat content) OR Samsoe OR Bel Paese OR jack OR Muenster OR cheese substitutes
Haloumi = Halloumi Pronunciation: hah-LOO-me Notes: This salty, crumbly cheese from Cyprus stands up well to heat and can even be fried or grilled. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets. Substitutes: feta (similar flavor) OR mozzarella (similar texture)
Havarti Pronunciation: hah-VAR-tee Notes: This mild Danish cheese is perfect for slicing into sandwiches. It's often flavored with spices and chilies. Substitutes: Tilsit OR jack cheese OR Esrom (more pungent) OR Gouda OR Mahon
jack cheese Notes: This California semi-soft cheese resembles Muenster. It has a mild, nondescript flavor, but it's good cheese to slice into sandwiches or melt into casseroles. It also goes by California jack, Monterey jack, Sonoma jack, and Mexican jack, depending on where it was produced. Efforts to boost the flavor have produced Pepper Jack = Jalapeno Jack. Don't confuse this with aged jack, which is a grating cheese. Substitutes: Muenster OR Gouda OR Bel Paese OR Samsoe
Lagerkaese Substitutes: Brick OR Limburger (softer, stronger flavor)
Laguiole Pronunciation: Lah-YOLE Notes: This is a mild French semi-soft cheese. Substitutes: jack cheese
Lappi Pronunciation: LAP-pee Notes: This is a mild semi-soft cheese from the Lapland region of Finland. It's a good melter and works well in fondues. Substitutes: Emmenthal (very similar) OR Swiss
Limburger Pronunciation: LIM-buhr-guhr Notes: This is a very stinky and salty German washed rind cheese. It's too strong to serve with most wines, so it's often served with beer. Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature. Substitutes: Schloss (milder) OR Maroilles OR Livarot OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand Complements: beer OR onions OR pumpernickel bread
Monterey jack See jack.
Morbier cheese Pronunciation: MOR-byay Notes: This creamy and mild cheese has a dark stripe running up the middle, a reference to earlier times when a layer of ash was added to the cheese to protect it from insects. Morbier has a rich, earthy flavor. It's a good melting cheese, but you might want to cook with a cheaper cheese like Lappi or Havarti. Substitutes: Fontina OR Havarti OR Esrom
mozzarella Pronunciation: mah-tsuh-REHL-uh Notes: Mozzarella is one of the few cheeses that doesn't turn rubbery or ooze oil if cooked too long or too hot, so it's a key ingredient in pizzas and casseroles. It's also stretchy--the long white strings that you often see draped over the sides of pizza boxes are usually mozzarella.
There are two kinds. Low moisture mozzarella is firmer and the best choice for pizza. High moisture mozzarella = fresh mozzarella is more delicate; it's often drizzled with olive oil and serve uncooked as an appetizer. It works in pizza, too, but you should first put slices of it into a colander to drain for about an hour, and put them on the pizza only during the last minute of cooking.
High moisture mozzarella is often packaged in tubs or bags filled with water--this keeps it soft but leeches out some of the flavor. Look for mozzarella di bufalo = buffalo milk mozzarella, which is more interesting than cow's milk mozzarella = fior di latte. Bocconcini (Pronunciation: BOK-kuhn-CHEE-nee) are small balls of high moisture mozzarella. High moisture mozzarellas are much more perishable than their low-moisture counterparts, so use them within a few days of purchase. Substitutes: Scarmorza OR Cacciocavallo OR string cheese (very similar, but extruded rather than molded) OR queso blanco OR Provolone OR Kashkaval OR Kasseri OR Emmenthal (another good melting cheese) OR Bel Paese OR "Tofu Rella" Italian White (a soy-based cheese substitute; use in melted cheese dishes) OR fontina (good on pizzas) OR cheddar (different flavor, doesn't melt as well as mozzarella) OR smoked tofu OR cheese substitutes
mozzarella di bufalo See mozzarella.
Muenster = Munster = Münster Pronunciation: MUHN-ster or MOON-ster Notes: When produced in Europe, Muenster is a mild-mannered member of the normally stinky washed-rind cheese family, though it becomes more pungent as it ages. It's delicious with dark breads and beer or Gewurztraminer wine. American muensters are much milder. Substitutes: jack OR brick OR Port du Salut OR Bel Paese
Oka Pronunciation: OH-kuh Notes: This Canadian semi-soft cheese has a mild, nutty flavor and melts nicely. Substitutes: Raclette OR Emmenthal OR Port Salut
Ossau-Iraty cheese = Ossau-Iraty-Brebis-Pyrenees Pronunciation: OH-so-ear-ah-TEE Notes: This little-known Basque cheese is made from raw sheep's milk, and it's creamy, nutty, and mellow.
pasta filata = spun curd cheeses = pulled curd cheeses = plastic curd cheeses = stretched curd cheeses Notes: These cheeses are stretched and pulled like taffy before being molded, which gives them a springy, elastic consistency. Unlike many cheeses, they stand up well to cooking. This category includes mozzarella, Provolone, Scamorza, string cheese, and Caciocavallo.
plastic curd cheeses See pasta filata.
Port du Salut See Port Salut.
Port Salut cheese = Port du Salut Pronunciation: POOR sah-LEW Notes: Port Salut is a mild French semi-soft cheese. Don't confuse with Danish Port Salut, which is also called Esrom cheese. Substitutes: Saint Paulin OR Esrom OR Havarti OR jack OR Muenster OR brick OR Bel Paese
provolone Pronunciation: PROH-vuh-LOH-nuh OR PROH-vuh-LONE Notes: This Italian cheese is like mozzarella, only firmer and more flavorful. It's often used in sandwiches and on on pizza. Substitutes: Caciocavallo (lower in fat) OR Scamorza OR mozzarella OR kasseri OR smoked tofu OR cheese substitutes
pulled curd cheeses See pasta filata.
queso asadero See asadero.
queso blanco Substitutes: mozzarella OR Muenster
queso Chihuahua® = queso Menonita Substitutes: jack cheese
queso Menonita See queso Chihuahua®.
Saint Paulin cheese Pronunciation: SAHN poh-LAHN Notes: This French semi-soft cheese is creamy and mild. Substitutes: Esrom OR Havarti
Samsoe = Samso Pronunciation: SAM-soh Notes: This versatile Danish semi-soft cheese is mild and nutty. Substitutes: Emmental OR Tybo OR Gouda OR Bel Paese
Scamorza = Scamorze Pronunciation: skuh-MOOR-tsuh Notes: This cheese is similar to mozzarella, only smaller and firmer. It's often smoked. Substitutes: mozzarella OR Cacciocavallo OR Provolone
Sonoma jack See jack.
spun curd cheeses See pasta filata.
string cheese Substitutes: mozzarella (molded rather than extruded, but otherwise very similar)
Syrian cheese Substitutes: jack cheese OR Muenster cheese
Taleggio Pronunciation: tah-LEZH-oh Substitutes: Stracchino (ripened version of taleggio) OR Bel Paese OR fontina Notes: This creamy Italian cheese is one of the better stinky cheeses--not too tame, not too wild. It's great on crackers or bread, but it's also a good melting cheese and works well in casseroles and even on pizza. The rind is edible, but not to everyone's liking. Substitutes: Robiola Lombardia OR Urgelia cheese OR Limburger (stronger and considered inferior)
Tilsit = Tilsiter = Tilsit Havarti Notes: This is a good sandwich cheese. Substitutes: Havarti (not as flavorful) OR jack cheese OR Esrom (more pungent) OR Gouda OR Mahon
Tomme Crayeuse cheese Pronunciation: TUM cray-YOUZ Notes: This soft French cheese is rich and buttery. Don't eat the rind. Substitutes: Tomme de Savoie OR Saint Nectaire OR Muenster Tomme de Savoie cheese = tomme de montagne Pronunciation: TUM de sah-VWAH Notes: This is a mild and pleasant French cheese that's semi-soft when young, firmer when aged. Substitutes: Tomme Crayeuse OR Saint Nectaire OR Muenster
Tybo Pronunciation: TIE-boh Notes: This mild Danish cheese is great on sandwiches. Substitutes: Samsoe
Urgelia cheese = Queso de l'Alt Urgell y la Cerdanya Pronunciation: ur-HAIL-ya Notes: This creamy Spanish cheese is a member of the washed rind (a.k.a. stinky) cheese family, but it's mild and subtle. Substitutes: Taleggio
Vacherin Pronunciation: vahsh-er-AHN Notes: This is a cheese-lover's cheese, with a complex nutty flavor. It's a good melting cheese that's often used to make fondues. Try heating it a bit and serving it with crusty French bread. Substitutes: Fontina OR Appenzell OR Emmenthal
1 C shredded = ¼ pound
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