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Styles of Cheese: Semi-soft

Fresh Cheeses Soft-ripened Cheeses Semi-hard Cheeses Washed Rind Cheeses
Semi-soft Cheeses Surface-ripened Cheeses Hard (Aged) Cheeses Blue Cheeses

Semi-soft Cheeses

Semi-soft cheeses have pliable textures and retain their fresh milk flavors. They may also have a bit of pungency or sharpness depending on the cheese. For example, smear-ripened cheeses such as brick cheese or most washed-rind cheeses are quite flavorful yet their texture is semi-soft.

Key Flavor and Aroma Characteristics

Creamy
Silken
Sharp
Fruity
Salty
Bitter
Assertive

Common Semi-Soft Cheeses:

Asadero (Hispanic cheese)
Beer Käse (also spelled Beerkaese and Bergkaese)
Brick
Butter Käse (also spelled Butterkaese)
Colby (some)
Crescenza
Crottin (some)
Crowley (some)
Edam
Fontina (some)
Gorgonzola
Gouda (some)
Havarti
Limburger
Monterey Jack (some)
American Muenster
Provolone (some)
Teleme
Tilsit (some)
Many specialty sheep, cow, and goat cheeses

What to look for when buying:

Semi-soft cheeses range in texture. This variation also speaks to the shelf life of these cheeses. Those that are soft and creamy, such as Crescenza, will last only about ten days, depending on its age when you bought it. Therefore, try to buy this type of cheese as soon as possible after the store receives it.
Harder style semi-soft cheeses, such as Gouda, Monterey Jack, and Colby, have a surprisingly long shelf life. When buying these, look for a smooth-looking surface and a pleasant fresh milk aroma. If the semi-soft cheese you’re considering looks dried, cracked, or has obvious mold, then you can probably assume the cheese is past its prime.