- What do all these technical words mean?
- What is the difference between pasteurised and raw milk?
- Why does the source of the cheese matter?
- What factors influence milk flavor?
- What is rennet?
- What makes cheese go blue?
- My hard cheese has blue vein in it - Is it safe and good to eat?
- Can I eat cheese if I am pregnant?
- Can I eat the rind?
- What do you mean by maturing?
- How should I store my cheese?
- When should I take my cheese out of the fridge before serving?
- How long will my cheese last?
- What payment methods do you accept?
- Where is my refund?
- Can I place an order without creating an account?
- Where is my order confirmation?
- How do I cancel my order?
- Can I alter my order?
- Can I return or exchange an item?
- My order has arrived but it’s not as I expected. What can I do?
- How long does it take to return an item?
- Do you sell gift vouchers?
What do all these technical words mean?
Milk that has not been heat treated or pasteurised. It has all its natural bacteriological and enzymatic characteristics. Raw milk is not the same thing as unpasteurised milk – while all raw milk is unpasteurised, not all unpasteurised milk is raw. Milk heated to greater than 40c is no longer considered raw milk.
Milk that has been heated to a particular temperature, for a specific time, in order to kill viruses and bacteria. While pasteurisation insures the destruction of milk pathogens, it also strips the milk of beneficial and innocuous natural flora. There are two legal standards for pasteurisation:
- Low Temperature/Long time – holding milk at 63c for 30 mins. This results in fewer chemical modifications of milk.
- High Temperature/Short time – holding milk at 72c for 15 seconds. Results in high microbial destruction but also highly modifies the chemical qualities of the milk, including loss of calcium and the precipitation of whey proteins.
Thermisation of milk is a ‘heat treatment not equivalent to pasteurisation’. There is no legal definition nor criteria for thermisation. Practically, thermised milk has been heated between 58-62C for a minimum of 15 seconds. This decreases the milk’s total bacterial count, but does not alter the milk’s chemical status.
A preparation of bacteria that, when added to milk, consumes lactose and produces lactic acid. The resulting acidification is one of the preserving techniques used in cheese making.
A coagulant used in cheese making. The active agent in rennet is an enzyme called chymosin. Traditionally chymosin would be extracted from the fourth stomach (abomasum) of a calf, kid or lamb. Popular today are vegetarian coagulants that contain chymosin that has been generated by adapting yeast or mould cultures.
The initial curd formed after the addition of rennet. Junket is synonymous with curd.
Cutting the junket. Cutting the junket helps to release whey. The smaller the curd is cut the more whey is released. The more whey that is released the longer the cheese will keep.
A coagulation of milk protein. In cheese making the curd, created under the influence of rennet, is like a sponge holding whey, fat, other milk solids and a rich abundance of acidifying and flavour-producing bacteria.
To cause a fluid to change to a solid or semi-solid state.
The liquid held within the curd. Whey contains water and a variety of proteins that do not clot in the presence of chymosin. Whey cheeses, like Ricotta, form a curd primarily under the influence of heat. The fat in whey can be separated to make butter. Whey is also used as feed. Often considered a wasted/useless by-product. It is big business in America.
WASHING THE CURD
Replacing a measure (often a third) of whey from the vat with water. Washing helps to control acidity growth by reducing the amount of lactose and bacteria. Cheeses with a rubbery texture are often washed curd cheeses.
Transferring the cut curd directly into moulds by the use of a ladle or pan. Some mould-ripened cheeses, like Stilton and Camembert, are handladled in this way.
A heat treatment of curd. The primary function of the scald is to shrink the curd and expel moisture. The scald temperature for the major British hard cheeses is the highest temperature reached during cheese making. For Cheshire, the temperature is increased gradually (one degree Fahrenheit every five minutes) until the maximum temperature range of 88 to 92 degrees F is reached. For Cheddar, maximum scald temperature is closer to 104 – 107 degrees F.
A heat treatment of curd. The primary function of cooking is to shrink the curd and expel moisture. Cooking reaches a higher temperature than scalding and is often associated with the larger mainland European cheeses.
The settling of curd particles in the bottom of the vat after scalding. During the scald the curd is constantly stirred to ensure even temperature distribution within the vat. To ‘pitch’ the curd the stirring stops and the curd particles are allowed to settle to the bottom of the vat. When pitching is complete the whey is drained off.
The stacking and turning of curd blocks. This technique applies specifically to Cheddar making. When the whey has drained from the vat the remaining curd mass is cut into blocks leaving a drainage channel down the centre. These blocks are then turned over. After 10 – 15 minutes the blocks are piled one on the other. The process is repeated inverting the blocks in the vat. The weight of the curd helps to squeeze out moisture and develop a ‘chicken breast’ texture (the ideal Cheddar curd texture).
Adding salt to the curd. Salting helps to draw off moisture and arrest the growth of bacteria and thus retard acidity development. Salting is usually done in one of three ways: 1). By sprinkling salt directly onto the curd in the vat. 2). By placing the freshly formed cheese into a salted water (brine) bath. 3). By rubbing salt into the skin of a newly made cheese.
The mechanical reduction of the salted curd into shards ready for moulding.
The application of pressure to drive out moisture and fuse the milled curd together. The pressing procedure differs between cheeses. For a clothbound cheese, like Appleby’s Cheshire, the milled curd is put into a mould and pressed for 15 minutes before being turned out into a coarse cloth, returned to the mould and left overnight to drain. The coarse cloth will be replaced by a smooth one the next day and the cheese returned to the press where the pressure will increase throughout the day. The following day the cloth is removed and the finished calico bandage applied.
Dehydration of the cheese surface to help form a rind. This is a crucial part in the manufacture of a mould-ripened cheese like Camembert. Inadequate drying can lead to excessive mould growth and a quicker breakdown of the curd than desired.
The controlled storage of cheese. Different cheeses require different temperature and humidity ranges to mature to their optimum. Typically, hard cheeses of most types will mature well in a temperature range of between 53.6 – 57.2 degrees F and a humidity band between 85 and 90%.
The hard edge of the outside of the cheese. The rind may be influence by the cloth binding of the cheese, or it may made of other materials which are inedible (e.g plasticote, a food grade quality plastic). The rind may also be a natural rind, such as a bloomy rind (where moulds are allowed to grow organically on the cheese), or a washed rind (where moulds are prevented from growing on the outside of cheese by washing the cheese in brine, or brushing it with a salt solution).
A texture descriptor. Easily crumbled.
A texture descriptor. Easily bent.
A texture descriptor. Describes consistencies which are comprised of or easily break into small fragments.
A taste descriptor. Flavours are full and immediate.
A taste descriptor. Flavours of medium intensity, which are free from harshness.
A taste descriptor. Flavours which are salty rather than sweet.
A taste descriptor. Lactic flavours have high acidity. e.g. cheeses such as Innes Log or Sinodun Hill.
A texture and flavour descriptor. Indicating that either texture or flavour resemble butter.
A texture and a flavour descriptor. Can denote both oozing, runny textures, and fresh cream flavours.
A taste descriptor. This term often describes flavours on the rind, influenced by how the cheese is matured and reflecting these conditions, eg. of the cellar. Another word used to describe such flavours is mineral which denotes cool, springwater like or stony aromas.
A taste descriptor. Denotes sweetness and acidity comparable to fresh or dried fruit.
A taste descriptor. Reminiscent of wild flowers, herbs, grasses, spices.
A taste descriptor. Cheeses bound with wood which imparts a woody flavour.
A taste descriptor. Flavours similar to buttery biscuits, such as oatcakes, digestives, shortbread.
A taste descriptor. Flavours of black and white pepper, indicating some heat.
Denotes flavours of cooked or cured meats.
A taste descriptor. Upfront, full and strong flavours that are lasting.
A taste descriptor. Sweet flavours are often detected in aged cheeses as well as in sheep’s milk cheeses. Sweet flavours can range from warm or cooked milk (caramel), to sweet fresh fruits (peachy).
A taste descriptor. Flavours similar to cereals such as Shreddies or Horlicks.
A taste descriptor that indicates a mouth-watering acidity. Can describe flavours that are vinegary or citrussy in flavour.
A taste descriptor. Flavours and aromas reminiscent of animals on a farmyard.
A texture descriptor. Indicates curds being light. Examples of such a texture would be Sleightlett, Sinodun Hill or St Tola.
A flavour descriptor. Indicates clean, clear acidity.
A flavour descriptor. Flavours reminiscent of cooked or canned vegetables such as broccoli, brassicas, etc.
A flavour descriptor describing tastes which remain on your palette for a long time after you’ve eaten the cheese.
Cheese & Cheesemaking
What is the difference between pasteurised and raw milk?
Raw milk has not been heat treated or pasteurised. It has all its natural bacteriological and enzymatic characteristics. Raw milk is not the same thing as unpasteurised milk – while all raw milk is unpasteurised, not all unpasteurised milk is raw. Pasteurised milk has been heated to a particular temperature, for a specific time, in order to kill off certain bacteria. While pasteurisation ensures the destruction of many of the pathogens that may or may not be present, it also strips the milk of beneficial and innocuous natural flora.
Why does the source of the cheese matter?
The height of what a cheese can achieve is dictated by the quality of the milk. When cheese is made by farmers, they have the opportunity to start their cheesemaking decisions in the pastures and their breeding programmes, and they see the consequences directly in the vat. No milk purchasing contract, however specialised, can compete with this fine-grained control.
What factors influence milk flavor?
Factors of influence on milk flavour fall into two categories. Firstly, individual factors such as the type of animal, the breed, their age, health and stage of lactation. Secondly, environmental factors such as the animals' location and climate, the farming system, what the animals were fed, how they were housed, the milking method and whether chemicals and medicines were used in milking.
These factors can influence the composition of the milk and the distribution of the constituents, its microbial diversity, flavour compounds and colour.
What is rennet?
Rennet, a mixture of enzymes extracted from the stomachs of young ruminant mammals (calves, kids, or lambs), is used to make most cheeses. It transforms liquid milk into solid curd, which is the first step in cheesemaking. The most abundant enzyme in rennet is called chymosin.
Vegetarian substitutes have been developed as an alternative to animal rennet. We refer to laboratory-derived enzymes using the precise term, ‘vegetarian coagulant’.
A notable alternative to synthetic coagulants is the use of plant extracts which are also capable of setting milk. Figs, papaya, thistles and cardoons contain enzymes similar, although not identical to, those in animal rennet. Interestingly, the different enzymes lead to different flavours and textures in the cheese. Many Spanish and Portuguese cheesemakers use plant based coagulants.
Some types of cheese (such as ricotta and paneer) are coagulated by the combination of heat and acidity from the action of the lactic acid bacteria in the milk, sometimes boosted by the addition of vinegar or citric acid.
What makes cheese go blue?
Cheese can be intentionally blue - cheeses such as Stilton have added blue mould spores within the body of the cheese. These moulds help to break the cheese down, and in the process they give it a stronger flavour and distinctive appearance. Sometimes other cheeses unintentionally develop blue mould. Air can penetrate the cheese through the rind, allowing naturally-occurring mould spores to grow. There is no danger in eating blue which has developed in this way, just as there is no danger in eating blue cheese. We encourage our customers to taste the cheese and see what appeals to them on a case-by-case basis.
My hard cheese has blue vein in it - Is it safe and good to eat?
Unlike cheeses that are aged in wax or vacuum packs, clothbound and natural-rind cheeses have permeable rinds, which allow oxygen exchange into and out of the cheese. One side-effect of this is that, if the cheese is bumped during turning or has natural crevasses within it, moulds can sometimes grow inside them. Whether or not this is advantageous depends on the nature of the mould growth: brown or grey moulds, or a ‘bruised’ appearance within the paste, are unattractive and not good to eat; on the other hand a streak of bright blue through a Cheddar adds complexity and was once a prized addition to the cheese (known as ‘Vinny Cheddar’).
Of course, if you’re in any doubt, please send us a picture. Our team will be delighted to advise you.
Can I eat cheese if I am pregnant?
While Maison Morand does not offer medical advice on cheese and pregnancy: we can, however, share with our customers what we know about cheese.
Women can still eat cheese during pregnancy, but should avoid soft, semi-soft and blue cheeses, which may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium causing Listeriosis. Listeria does not occur naturally in milk or cheese; instead, its presence indicates contamination of either the raw material (milk) or environment (cheesemaking equipment or ripening areas). We take all due care to ensure our cheeses meet uncompromising safety standards so as to minimise this risk.
Can I eat the rind?
When assessing if you can eat cheese rind, there are two things to consider. Firstly is it an edible rind? Some cheeses have rinds that are not edible, so you definitely shouldn’t attempt to eat these! Both wax and a food grade plastic coating, “plasticote”, are often used to seal the outside of cheeses.
The second consideration is does it taste nice? As a general rule: dusty coloured brown and grey moulds do not have a strong flavour, they tend to be mushroomy or earthy. Blue or white moulds often taste good (assuming you like the taste of blue mould of course). Anything that’s an odd colour could taste bitter, so go carefully. Provided you like the taste, eat as much as you like!
Maturation & Storage
What do you mean by maturing?
When we talk about our job of maturing, we are referring to all of the work involved in the ageing and maturing process, so that we ensure that we sell each cheese when it is at its best. It is during this period of time that flavour and texture development take place. Each cheese has a set of unique requirements for temperature, humidity, and treatments (such as washing, brushing, or turning) that, combined, will ensure its proper development.
Ageing and maturing of cheese is not a precise science. The animal, the feed, the quality of the milk, minute elements of the cheesemaking process and the season all have an influence on the cheese. The skill of the cheese maturer is to be able to adapt their techniques and methods to the cheeses they have before them. This knowledge comes with time and experience. Our aim is to work with the cheese before us to allow the quality of the milk and the expertise of the cheesemaker to shine.
How should I store my cheese?
Farmhouse cheese is handmade and thus varies with each day’s production and changes as it matures. As such it is necessary to apply a common sense approach to cheese care and respond to the cheese you have in front of you, as opposed to following rigid guidelines.
We sell our cheese wrapped in waxed cheese paper, which achieves the best possible balance between maintaining humidity around the cheese and allowing it to breathe. If you wrap your cheese in cling film or foil, it can cause the cheese to sweat which will negatively affect the flavour.
Cut pieces of cheese should be kept in the refrigerator to slow the growth of mould on their cut surfaces. However, it is important to be aware that refrigerated cheese is more likely to dry out, particularly if it is not wrapped.
The best option is to keep the cheese wrapped in its waxed paper within a box in the fridge. The container will help to prevent the cheese from drying out and prevent the cheese from absorbing flavours.
When should I take my cheese out of the fridge before serving?
It is very important not to serve your cheese when it’s too cold as cold cheese can taste bland and inert. As a general rule of thumb you should bring it out of the fridge a few hours before you plan to serve it. You should keep your cheese wrapped whilst it is coming up to room temperature, to avoid any risk of it drying out. If it is especially warm you should reduce the amount of time the cheese is out of the fridge accordingly.
How long will my cheese last?
There are an array of factors which affect how long cheese will last, and so it is difficult to give a prescriptive answer without knowing which cheese you have,what size the piece is and what storage method you are using.
We do not label cheeses in our shops with best before dates as, for the most part, we expect these cheeses to be eaten within the next week or two. If you need your cheese to last, buy larger pieces as these last for longer. Buy it as close to when you want to serve it as possible (although if you are having your cheese delivered, also remember to allow for a few days leeway in case of delivery disruption).
If you have a specific shelf life concern, you are always welcome to contact us and we will advise as best we can.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept the following credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. We only take payment once your order has been shipped.
We also accept payment by Apple Pay. If you decide to use this method, you’ll be taken to its website, where you’ll be prompted to log in and process your payment. You’ll then be directed back to our merchant website once your transaction is complete.
Where is my refund?
Ordering and delivery
Can I place an order without creating an account?
Yes. You can place an order as a guest with no obligation to create an account.
Where is my order confirmation?
This is automatically sent to your email address when you place an order. If you haven’t received your order confirmation within 24 hours, please get in touch at email@example.com just in case there’s a problem with your order. Please check your mailbox’s spam or junk folder before contacting in case the order confirmation has been diverted there.
How do I cancel my order?
There is only a short amount of time between when you place your order and when we start processing it. If you contact us straight away after ordering, via firstname.lastname@example.org or +971 54 548 4703, we may be able to cancel your order before it’s processed. If not, we’ll despatch your order and then you can return it to us if you wish upon receiving it. Please note however that perishable products cannot be returned.
Can I alter my order?
Sadly, we’re unable to modify your order once we’ve started processing it. If you need to order a greater quantity or an additional product, please place a new order online.
Can I return or exchange an item?
You can absolutely return or exchange your item to us, within 14 days after receiving it, as long as it’s undamaged, unused and contained in its original packaging. However, you do not have a right to return perishable goods (this will include all cheese products and cold-cuts).
My order has arrived but it’s not as I expected. What can I do?
In the rare event that your order arrives damaged or faulty, please take photos of the product in question and email our customer service team via email@example.com with the details. We’ll respond within 48 hours.
How long does it take to return an item?
This depends on the carrier or shipping method that you choose when returning your item. Once we receive your return, we’ll notify you by email. We aim to process refunds within three days after receiving the item, but it can take several days for your bank or credit card provider to process the refund into your account, or onto your card.
Please note that perishable items, such as all cheeses, cannot be returned.
Do you sell gift vouchers?
Yes, we do. These are issued electronically by email and each contains a unique reference number. Our gift vouchers are ideal if you’re not sure what to get that special person in your life. Simply buy a gift voucher instead!