The cheese lexicon for experts and connoisseurs

Learn more about the BEST natural cheese – “S’Beschte Eck vom Käs”:

  • How is cheese made?

    1. Preparation
      At the beginning of cheese production, the milk is filtered and pasteurized – if raw milk cheese is not being produced. Depending on the fat content of the cheese, the cheese maker mixes the milk with skim milk or cream.
    2. Milk Coagulation
      By adding lactic acid bacteria, the milk matures until it is ultimately coagulated with rennet.
    3. Curdling
      Depending on the type of cheese, “curds” or “jellies” are formed within half an hour to multiple hours.
    4. Cheese Curds
      If the curds for this type of cheese have reached the required solidity they are cut into pieces by the cheese maker using a cheese harp. For this step, the cheese maker needs plenty of knowledge and experience in cheese production, because the size of the curds determines the hardness of the finished cheese. Because the finer the cheese maker cuts the curds, the more whey is released and the harder the cheese becomes. For example, for soft cheese, the curds are cut into larger pieces than with hard cheese.
    5. Types of Cheese Curd
      The cheese curd is strained, as in separated from the whey, and then pressed into the typical shape.
    6. Bath in the brine
      All cheese varieties except for cream cheese are bathed in brine to keep out the harmful bacteria and to form the rind.
    7. Ripening
      The last stage in cheese production is the ripening of the cheese in so-called ripening cellars. The wheels are turned regularly and depending on type they are brushed, washed or treated with noble mould. This ripening period varies and can take up to twelve or more months until the cheese has developed the flavour typical to its variety.
  • What varieties of cheese are there?

    Cheese is classified into 6 different types:


    Hard Cheese:

    Hard cheeses have a solid and granular interior and ripen for at least three months for a mild flavour and up to multiple years for a strong tangy flavour. Aromatic fresh milk in copper kettles is used for production, which are partially heated with wood.

    Key data:

    • Water content maximum 40%, dry mass approx. 60%.
    • Ripening period: 3 months to multiple years
    • Rinds are washed, brushed or scraped

    Examples: Vorarlberger Bergkäse g.U., Emmental or Gruyère


    Semi-Hard Cheese

    Semi-hard cheese is the most popular type of cheese and offers the greatest diversity from mild to tangy flavour in local cheese culture. The cheese’s interior is smooth and ages under a wax layer, a protective film or a culture of red and noble moulds for at least 4 weeks.

    Key data:

    • Water content 50%, dry mass approx. 50%.
    • Ripening period: 4 weeks to multiple months
    • Ripening in film, wax, red culture, noble mould

    Examples: Gouda, Tilsiter, Edam


    Soft cheese:

    The soft interior is surrounded by a noble mould or red smear-ripened cheese and ripens for multiple weeks from the outside in. Depending on production and ripening period, soft cheese has a mild and creamy to tangy flavour.

    Key data:

    • Water content of about 60%, dry mass approx. 40%.
    • Ripening period: 2 or more weeks
    • Rind: White mould rind, natural rind, blue or green interior mould, double mould, red culture

    Examples: Camembert, Brie


    Cream Cheese

    Cream cheese has a very soft, spreadable consistency and can be eaten right after production or ripening. Cream cheese is often refined with ingredients such as herbs.

    Key data:

    • Water content of about 70%, dry mass approx. 30%.
    • Ripening period: unfermented, unripened cheese

    Examples: Gervais, Cottage Cheese


    Fermented Milk Cheese

    Fermented milk cheese is made of skimmed curd cheese and is thus very low in fat. The smooth interior ripens from the outside in and has a yellowish to transparent, often white colour in the centre, and is coated with white mould or red smear depending on the type.

    Key data:

    • Water content of about 60%, dry mass approx. 40%.
    • Ripening period: unfermented cheese made in tubs with a ripening period of a few days to up to 3 weeks for sour curd cheeses with red culture

    Examples: Quargel


    Processed cheese

    Processed cheese has a typical fine, creamy, spreadable consistency and is made of various types of cheese. The cheese used gives a fine, cheesy base flavour and is often refined with various ingredients such as herbs, ham or paprika.

    Examples: Triangles, Slices, Pots, Fondue

  • Which fat levels are there?

    The fat content of cheese is usually indicated as fat in dry mass, abbreviated FiDM. This indication is based on the percentage of fat that is in the cheese mass after all water content was removed.

    The reason is that cheese can lose moisture and thus weight during the ripening process. The relative fat content can thus vary, while the ratio of fat to dry mass in the cheese always remains the same.

    The Austrian foodstuffs code divides cheese into its fat content in dry mass in the following fat levels:

    • Double cream level: 65-85% FiDM
    • Cream level: 55% FiDM
    • Full fat level: up to 45% FiDM
    • Three-quarter fat level: up to 35% FiDM
    • Half fat level: up to 25% FiDM
    • Quarter fat level: up to 15% FiDM
  • Are there cheeses with Protected Destination of Origin?

    The Protected Destination of Origin means that the creation, processing and production of a product take place in a specific geographical region according to a recognized and set method.

    In Austria there are six cheese products with Protected Destination of Origin such as the Vorarlberger Bergkäse g.U., labelled “g.U.”, which is labelled using the EU community symbol for products with protected indication of origin (PDO).

    Processed cheese is mainly made of various varieties of cheese, butter, salt and emulsifying salt and depending on the flavour profile, from various ingredients such as herbs, paprika or ham.

The “bescht” about processed cheese

  • What is processed cheese?

    Mainly, processed cheese is made of various varieties of cheese, butter, salt and emulsifying salt and depending on the flavour profile, from various ingredients such as herbs, paprika or ham.

    There are two different types of declarations of processed cheese: Processed cheese or processed cheese preparation

    For processed cheese, the dry mass of the end product must consist of at least 51 percent by weight of cheese dry mass. Ingredients can include cream, butter, butter fat, table salt and potable water. Depending on the dry mass, there is also a differentiation between processed cheese that can be cut and processed cheese that is spreadable.

    In processed cheese preparations, the minimum dry mass is lower than in processed cheese and even more ingredients are possible.

  • When was processed cheese created?

    Processed cheese was created at the beginning of the 20th century to give the cheese a longer shelf life. Because in earlier times, when cool boxes and refrigerators did not exist, the cheese could not be transported and stored sufficiently cooled, especially for export, so it often arrived at its destination inedible. Because any type of cheese is only tenable for a few days, the idea arose to produce a cheese that lasts longer. After a number of tries and experiments, in 1911 in Switzerland, the first Emmental was made more tenable through heating, which was the foundation for the invention of processed cheese. This was a milestone for the time, because the consumer could store the cheese for multiple months and also enjoy the cheese in small, handy packages and no longer had to order an entire wheel.

  • How is processed cheese made?

    Processed cheese is made of cheese in four steps:

    1. Chopping and mixing

    For the production of processed cheese, various varieties of cheeses, such as Emmental, Mountain Cheese and Gouda are chopped into small pieces to achieve the desired flavour profile. Butter, salt and special emulsion salts are also added. The emulsion salts make it possible to create a homogeneous cheese of fat, protein and water and to ensure the fine, creamy consistency of the processed cheese.

    1. Heating

    All ingredients are carefully melted with hot steam, usually at 85° and then elaborately mixed into an even cheese.

    1. Stirring

    Depending on the product, there is an additional step after heating, which is called “Stirring” or “Creaming”. The product becomes especially creamy through this unique creaming process.

    1. Cooling

    All products are filled at a minimum of 70°C whilst still hot, packaged and then cooled. After the routine quality control, products are then ready for sale.

  • What are emulsifying salts?

    Depending on the recipe, mild and tangy cheese varieties are chopped and heated for the production of processed cheese. The addition of emulsifying salts prevents the fat or whey separating from the protein of the cheese. One differentiates between salts of the lactic acid, the lactates, salts of the citric acid, the citrate and the phosphate salts, the phosphates.

  • Do the valuable components of the milk remain in processed cheese?

    Processing makes cheese have a longer life, but the constituents are largely retained. All elements of the milk or cheese are also found in processed cheese.

  • Is processed cheese made of raw milk or pasteurized milk?

    Processed cheese is made of raw milk and pasteurized milk. Due to the heating during production, processed cheese is basically pasteurized.

  • Are there lactose-free processed cheeses?

    Through the selection of special ingredients such as long aged hard cheeses, cheese products can be produced which are lactose-free. After intensive development, Rupp has been able to produce a cheese with a residual lactose content of under 0.1g/100g. Lactose intolerant people therefore have every opportunity to enjoy processed cheese.

  • Is processed cheese gluten-free?

    Gluten is present in grain and could find its way into milk products through certain ingredients. Rupp uses basically gluten free ingredients.

  • Why do some products need to be refrigerated and others not?

    The need to refrigerate is determined by the production process and the composition of the product in question. Processed cheese triangles, easy to spread processed cheese in a tub and some processed cheese slices do not have to be kept in a refrigerator because of the special process by which they are produced.

  • Are processed cheeses basically cheese alternatives?

    With cheese alternatives the milk components are replaced by vegetable fat. In the case of Rupp processed cheese, however, only cheese made from 100% cow’s milk and other milk products such as skimmed milk, whey or butter are used for production, which is why this is not a product made from cheese alternatives.

The “bescht” things about cheese

  • Which nutrients does cheese contribute to a balanced diet?

    From a nutritional point of view, cheese is an important basis because all the valuable nutrients contained in milk such as protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, especially calcium, are contained in cheese:

    Cheese consists up to 10 to 30% of protein, dependent on the fat content. Just 100g of cheese meets up to 45% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein and is therefore an ideal supplement for people with an increased need for protein such as children, youngsters, pregnant and breastfeeding women and athletes.

    Milk and cheese are natural sources of calcium. This mineral, which is important for healthy teeth and bones, is very often not adequately absorbed in the food we eat, which is why, especially with children, it is very important to include cheese and other milk products in the daily diet.

    The cholesterol content of cheese is in principle low, ranging between 10mg in Quargel and 100mg in creamy Brie per 100g of cheese. Consumers who, for health reasons, have to be careful with their cholesterol intake, have a good alternative with the range of low fat cheeses.

    Vitamins and Minerals:
    Vitamins are differentiated into fat-soluble (A, D, E, K) and water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A, which is particularly important for the eyes, skin, mucous membranes and cells and bones, is predominantly present in cheese. Vitamin D which is adequately present in cheese, is important for the daily provision of calcium since this promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestines. Other water-soluble vitamins in cheese are B1, B2, B6, B12, and folic acid as well as important minerals and trace elements in the form of phosphorous, potassium, zinc and iodine.

    Fat Content:
    The fat content of cheese varies depending on the type of cheese. In general, fat makes the cheese more full-bodied and more malleable and gives it a stronger taste; there are, however, types of cheese with very low fat content. The fat content is usually indicated by FiDM (fat in dry mass).

  • Which cheeses may be eaten by people who are lactose intolerant?

    With cheese most of the milk sugar, the lactose, has already been separated from the whey in the production process. The rest of the lactose is changed into lactic acid during ripening, which is why cheese with a ripening period of more than 6 weeks is naturally lactose-free.

    An example of such a cheese is Vorarlberg Stollberg g.U., which significantly reduces the lactose during the ripening period of at least 3 to several months.

    In addition, special lactose-free products such as Rupp’s finest lactose-free triangles can be found in the chilled section, meaning that lactose-intolerant people can enjoy the pleasures of cheese.

  • Can cheese be eaten during pregnancy?

    There is no need to stop eating cheese during pregnancy, because cheese provides a good supply of important nutrients for the body.

    Due to the risk of listeria, however, raw milk cheese and sour milk cheese should be avoided. Cheese made from raw milk has to be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients so that the presence of raw milk can be quickly and easily identified.

    During pregnancy it is also generally recommended to remove the rind from all types of cheese as a precaution.

  • What does the seal of approval Heumilch g.t.S mean?

    The seal of approval stands for “guaranteed traditional speciality”. This quality seal is related to the production method of the product. The guaranteed traditional speciality (g.t.S.) is a product with a particular production method as is the case with hay milk. The product must be made from traditional raw materials or have a traditional composition or type of production or processing. In the summer, the hay fed cows are fed with tender grasses and herbs, and in the winter they eat sun-dried hay as well as mineral-rich coarse grain.

  • What does the term no genetic engineering mean?

    Foods with the green mark “Produced without genetic engineering” assure that they have been produced without the use of genetic engineering from the field to the shelf – from feed to finished product. All foods with the quality seal are regularly inspected by independent inspection authorities.

The “beschte” defined

  • Abbreviations and Definitions

    Cheese Curd: The cheese curd is the raw mass for cheese production and is created by chopping up the “curd”.

    Casein: Casein is the name of the protein content in the milk that is made into cheese and does not end up in the whey.

    Enzyme: Enzymes occur in every cheese that is produced with lactic acid bacteria and noble moulds. They determine the flavour and the consistence depending on degree and duration of ripening.

    FiDM / FiD: This is the abbreviation for the fat in dry mass. This indication is based on the percentage of fat that is in the cheese mass after all water content was removed.

    Rennet: The rennet is the enzyme, called Chymosine, that is usually taken from calves for cheese production. It may also originate from young sheep or goats. The rennet has the task of coagulating the milk without it becoming sour.  There are also so-called microbial rennet as alternatives to animal rennet. This is taken from a fungus and is not of animal origin. In this way, vegetarians can also enjoy cheese.

    Lactose: Milk naturally contains about 4.7% milk sugars, called lactose. In the production of cheese, lactose is broken down by being converted by lactic acid bacteria in to lactic acid. During the cheese ripening period, this process continues and with increasing ripeness, the cheese increasingly loses lactose. For this reason, cheese varieties aged for a long time are naturally lactose-free.

    Eye formation: Eye formation is a technical term for the holes or “eyes” in cheese which are caused by fermentation gases. There are different types of holes: large circular holes, or cracks with lots of little holes or small elongated holes, depending on the type of cheese.

    Best before date The best before date is a component of labelling which food suppliers are obliged to place on their products. The best before date indicates the date by which a foodstuff is to be consumed without significant loss of taste and quality and without health risk when stored correctly and in particular in accordance with the stated storage conditions.

    Lactic acid bacteria: Lactic acid bacteria are specially produced bacterial cultures which cause the milk to turn sour. The milk sugar is changed into lactic acid with the result that the milk protein clots and coagulates into small balls. Without lactic acid bacteria there would not be the very wide range of milk products such as yoghurt, buttermilk or sour milk cheese.

    Pasteurisation: Pasteurisation is the name for the brief warming of foods to temperatures up to 100° to make the foodstuffs last longer and destroy any germs present. During the process, however, the natural taste and composition of the milk are retained.

    pH value: The pH Value is the measure of the speed of acidification and is indispensable as a production control in cheese production.

    Raw milk: Untreated cow’s milk which has not been heated above 40° is known as raw milk. Cheese made from raw milk has to be labelled as such for consumers and be easily identifiable.

    Emulsifying salts: When cheese is heated it is important that a uniform curd is produced. Small amounts of emulsifying salts are needed so that fat, protein and water can blend.

    UHT: UHT stands for ultra-high temperature products. In this process the product is heated to at least 135° in order to eliminate all germs and microorganisms. The best before date can usually be extended by this process.

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