We don’t mean to be cheesy, but it’s the holiday season and it’s time for cheese trays! Have you ever thought about making your own cheese tray? What should you put on it?
In this blog post, learn about the different types of cheeses and which ones are great to put on a cheese tray. Impress your guests with some new variety. Also learn about Rada Cutlery’s Cheese Knife, Party Spreader, and Cheeseball Quick Mixes.
Cheese 101, An Introduction
Chef Blake, a guest chef in the Rada Test Kitchen, has a great video where our lesson in cheeses comes from. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the video.
In the meantime, however, here’s the lowdown on the different kinds of cheese:
These are soft and easy cheeses to work with.
- Goat Cheese
- Cream Cheese
These types of cheeses are great to melt down and make great fondues.
- Port Salute
Washed Rind & Bloomy Rind
Washed rind cheeses are brined in salt water. They are soft on the inside, which can make them good to work with as well. Bloomy rinds, on the other hand, have a mold that grows on the outside to preserve it.
- Tellegio (washed)
- Limberger (washed)
- Munster (washed)
- Brie & Camaber (bloomy)
Blue vein cheeses are injected with a mold and aged.
Watch Chef Blake’s Video (further below at the bottom of the post) for his suggestions and to learn a little bit more about where each type of cheese comes from.
Making a Cheese Tray
Now that you know about all the different kinds of cheeses, here’s how to build a good cheese tray.
Chef Blake made his cheese tray using a little cheese from each category. He used fresh mozzarella, Danish blue cheese, a five-year aged yellow cheddar, parmessan cheese, and some goat’s cheese.
Try using the Rada Cutlery Cheese Knife to prepare your cheese into slices. The Rada Cheese Knife‘s special serrated blade cuts into any kind of cheese, hard or soft, while the cutouts help the cheese to release.
Other unique features include an angled handle to provide extra leverage, a ridge to split the cheese when cutting and a forked end for easy serving.
To make your cheese tray unique, try following Chef’s Blake instruction. He finely chopped up dates to add to the parmesan cheese. He also rolled some blue cheese in black pepper.
Items to use for cheese accompaniments could include everything from crackers and nuts to dried apricots, grapes, and black walnuts.
Easy & Flavorful Cheeseballs
If you’re interested in just serving cheeseballs, it’s easy to go to the grocery store and pick one up. But it’s also easy to try a Rada Quick Mix Cheeseball.
Rada Quick Mix Cheeseballs are easy, because all you need is some cream cheese and the seasoning and topping pack that you can purchase from your local Rada fundraiser, your local Rada reseller, or the Rada Kitchen Store.
We’ll also bet that our cheeseballs pack a lot more flavor than any store-bought appetizer!
Rada Quick Mix Cheeseballs come in three flavors:
Once you’ve picked your favorite, also pick up the Rada Cutlery Party Spreader. This is a must have kitchen utensil to spread cheese onto crackers.
Cheese Classification Video – Overview of Various Cheeses
Follow Chef Blake’s guidance about looking for the right kind of cheese for you and his personal recommendations. Also, at the end watch a cheese tray being made from start to finish and the different cutting techniques he uses with the Rada Cheese Knife.
Types of Cheese Video transcript:
Hello and welcome back to Rada’s Test Kitchen. My name is Blake Landeau and I’m here to teach you some basics of the culinary, and today we’re working with cheeses. I’m going to show you the classifications of cheeses, the types of animals they come from and then we’re going to put together a cheese plate.
Under the category of fresh cheese, you’re going to have goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, feta, ricotta, and cream cheese. Mostly soft, easy to work with, good tasting. My favorite is the goat cheese. I love that tang, the sharpness of it.
Next we have the semi-soft. Gouda, port salute, fontina, and provolone. Provolone will probably be the hardest of these. It’s considered a little bit firmer than a soft cheese. Amongst those, gouda is really good. The smoked gouda is really good. Fontina is nice and milky. These are the types of cheeses that melt down good for fondue.
In the semi-hard/firm, we have cheddar that reigns supreme. We also have the Swiss and the greer.
We have a washed rind amongst these here. They are brined in a salt water. Tellegio, Limberger, and Munster. The Tellegio is my favorite. It’s got a horrid raunchy smell to it, but it’s got a flavor like milk and butter. They are soft on the inside, you can consider them a soft cheese.
Then we’ve got a bloomy rind. What that is is a mold that grows on the outside to preserve it. Bree and Camaber are the two cheeses under that classification.
Then there’s blue. Blue vein cheeses are injected with a mold and aged, and it creates the molding process. Maytag out of Iowa here is one of my favorite. The Penicillin mold is created by the IowaStateUniversity and they keep them in the hills of Newton, Iowa. An amazing blue cheese. Gorgonzola out of Italy, Stilton out of England, and Roquefort out of France. Stilton, a close second for favorite.
What specific milk they use to make the cheese is what helps to define the characteristics. Cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo, yak and camel. The Water Buffalo makes really good fresh mozzarella. The Italians use that a lot. They also make a really good buffalo blue with great flavor.
Each of these cheeses, there’s millions of makers out there, and the best of them come right out of Wisconsin. The French are incredible, the monks who have been doing it for thousands of years. But we’re going to go over and create a cheese plate to show how you can put together a plate for your friends and family for the next get-together.
Here we have the cheeses we just went over. I have fresh mozzarella, blue which is Danish blue, a five-year aged yellow cheddar, parmesan cheese, and some goat’s cheese. What we’re going to do is put it on a nice piece of slate which makes a really good cheese plate. You could use cutting boards too. We’re also going to put grapes and dates with it, some dried apricots, and some crackers. And some walnuts too. So you can use candied nuts, you can use pecans, but walnuts have really good flavor and crunch.
Using the Rada Cheese Knife, we’ll go ahead and slice some of these cheeses up. Cut these dates in half. I love the flavor of dates and actual sugar. It goes well with certain cheeses. So we’ve got the parmessan on there, some aged cheddar. The cool thing about cheddar is that as it ages, it becomes more pungent. And it starts to crumble a little more. We’ve got some fresh mozzarella here. Fresh mozzarella melts really nice. You can see how milky and smooth that is.
Blue Cheese crumbles. You can see the color of this blue vein. I like it. Sometimes it gets this antique-ish color to it. I grew up eating blue cheese. I owe that to my father. And for the last cheese here for our cheese plate, we’ll use this chevret. Take just a little bit and what we’ll do is mold it, rolling it in some pepper. Just one more way of presentation. Put a little pepper down on our cutting board. You only want it on the outside. You don’t want to roll it, fold it, roll it, fold it. You just want to put a little on top there. That makes it a little easier to handle once you get a little on there. There you go. We have our cheese plate here, we’ve got some aged cheddar, some parmesan cheese, walnuts, some fresh mozzarella. We have our fresh soft cheese, blue vein cheese, some aged cheddar under the semi-firm, parmesan under firm. So it gives you a nice assortment.
Finish the plate off with some crackers, maybe some salad or balsamic. Hope you learned something about the different kind of cheeses. Leave some comments and stay tuned for more videos.
End of Types of Cheese Video Transcript.