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Semi-Soft Cheeses


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 latteBocconcini (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


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