Artisan or artisanal cheese
Cheese made from all types of milk in small batches by hand with as little mechanization as possible and with reverence to the art, science and tradition of cheese making.

The method in the cheese making process of resting cheese in an environment carefully controlled for temperature, humidity and sanitation to allow the development of microorganisms that give the final product its distinction; also called curing or ripening.

Bloomy rind
Edible cheese crust formed by spraying the cheese surface before aging with a harmless, flavor-producing, white Penicillium mold allowing the cheese to ripen from the outside in and retain a high percentage of moisture. This practice is called "mold-ripening." The result is a light, fur cover of mold during aging that produces a snowy-white rind in the final product.

Originally a real cave, today a cheese "cave" predominantly refers to a specially calibrated refrigerated cooler used to maintain the precise humidity and temperature levels ideal for aging cheese.

The solid portion of coagulated or curdled milk used to make cheese.

Facility for the extraction and processing of animal milk.

Farmstead cheese
Cheese made from the milk of a farmer's own herd on the farm where the animals are bred and raised, not from an outside source.

A term describing cheeses' light, unpronounced flavors. Mild also refers to young, briefly-aged Cheddars.

A descriptive flavor term referring to the fully developed flavor of aged cheeses, such as Cheddar, Provolone and some Blue-veined varieties.

(1) A condition created by the growth of various fungi during ripening, contributing to the individual character of cheese. Surface molds ripen from the rind inward. Internal molds, such as those used for Blue-veined cheeses, ripen throughout the cheese. (2) Refers to the fungus itself. (3) A hoop or container in which cheese is shaped.

A general classification for cheese whereby cheese is made directly from milk by coagulating or curdling the milk, stirring and heating the curd, draining the whey and collecting or pressing the curd. Whether the milk is pasteurized or unpasteurized has no bearing on the designation as natural.

Natural rind

Edible crust that develops naturally on the cheese exterior through drying while ripening without the aid of ripening agents or washing. Most semi-firm or firm cheeses have natural rinds.

Processed cheese
A blend of fresh and aged, natural cheeses that have been shredded, mixed and cooked with an addition of an emulsifier salt, after which no further ripening occurs.

Principal genus of fungi used to develop molds on certain cheese varieties during ripening.

The French word for "cheese" that traditionally precedes the names of certain cheeses such as Tomme de Savoie or Tomme de Beaumont. Generally, tomme is a type of cheese and a generic name given to a class of cheese produced mainly in the French alps. Tommes are normally produced from the skim milk left over after the cream has been removed to produce butter and richer cheeses.

Cheese wrapped in various leaves and herbs to expand the flavor and preserve the longevity of cheese. Before the availability of paper, farmers used leaves to wrap and preserve cheeses.

Raw milk & raw milk cheese
Milk that has not undergone pasteurization is called raw milk. Raw milk cheese is made from milk that has not been heated to more than 100° F. This temperature threshold allows varieties of bacteria to remain living, which gives the cheese its unique flavor.

The process of exposing milk to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms that can produce disease or cause spoilage or undesirable fermentation.

The outer surface of cheese. A rind varies in texture, thickness, and color and are produced by a variety of methods in the cheese making process.

Rindless cheese
Cheese ripened wrapped in a protective coating to prevent rind formation (e.g. Colby) or not allowed to ripen (e.g. Feta).

Classification of cheese by common characteristics such as degree of firmness, texture, flavor, and manufacturing procedure.

The generic name of a cheese by which it is most commonly identified (e.g., Cheddar, Colby, Romano, Feta, etc.)

A crust on the surface of the cheese formed by periodically washing the cheese with brine, whey, beer, cider, wine, brandy, spirits or oil during aging. The rind is kept moist to encourage the growth of an orange-red bacteria. The washing process helps cheeses to retain moisture and develop distinctive flavors. Washed-rind cheeses typically result in a brilliant reddish or yellowish rind with powerful flavor on the outside contrasting with a smooth and creamy interior.

The watery part of milk that forms along with curd when milk coagulates and is separated from the curds in the process of making cheese.