What Are 'Fresh' Cheeses?

Okay, technically the hunk of 12-month cheddar you just yanked the wrapper off is "fresh cheese." But it's not fresh cheese. In order to be classified as such, your fermented dairy must have been fermented recently and not allowed to age a bit. Here's the how and why behind it.

Fresh cheeses, like cream cheese, ricotta, Neufchatel, farmer's, goat — anything white, soft and spreadable along those lines — don't have fermentation, mold or preservatives to help keep them fresh, so you'll need to enjoy them more quickly than their aged brethren. Mozzarella counts in the fresh category, since it's made not aged or fermented and packed in brine to preserve it until the second it hits your pizza.

Unfortunately, a lot of the reasons you love cheese — the funk, bloomy rind, velvety creamy texture and crisp little crystals — develop during the aging process and aren't present in fresh varieties. But just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes more than one category of fromage to make three-cheese lasagna.

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