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Styles of Cheese: Soft-ripened

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

Soft-ripened Cheeses

A soft-ripened cheese is one that has a white, so-called bloomy rind on the outside, which occurs because of the unique beneficial mold that is added to the milk or sprayed onto the cheese during ripening. The most well known cheese in this category is brie.

Key Flavor and Aroma Characteristics

Creamy
Buttery
Fruity
Earthy
Garlicky
Herbal
Milky
Mushroomy
Salty
Tangy
Tart

Common Soft Ripened Cheeses:

Brie
Camembert
Humboldt Fog
Many specialty sheep, cow, and goat cheeses

What to look for when buying:

Soft-ripened cheeses should give a little in the center when gently pressed. If they feel quite firm, then they probably are not ripe. Some will ripen over time, but many Bries and Camemberts made for the mass market are not made in such a way that they will ever soften. Your best bet is to buy these types of cheeses from smaller specialty cheese shops, in the specialty cheese section of the supermarket, or, ideally, directly from the cheesemaker.

The rind of a soft-ripened cheese should look white - not pink - and the aroma should be fresh. If the cheese has a pinkish hue and smells like ammonia, it is not longer good to eat.