For certain people, the perfect food might just be cheese, understandably because it seems to add extra flavour to everything it’s added to feel, look or taste a bit better. In this article I talk about Muenster Cheese, what it’s all about and some nutritional facts about it. I also give you a recipe you could follow so that you get to prepare and enjoy Muenster Cheese from the comfort of your home.
Different types of cheese have different origins, different nutritional value and different methods of preparation too which is what makes each type stand out. If you’re a cheese lover then you will enjoy this article.
Muenster Cheese Origin
Muenster cheese is a reddish or orange rind cheese that has its origin in the Alsace region of France. It’s most widely recognized as an American cheese although it greatly imitates the German immigrant’s Alsatian Munster cheese.
It’s a washed-rind type of cheese that is derived from a cow’s milk that’s been pasteurized. It gets its orange color from vegetable coloring and usually has a smooth, soft texture.
The flavor of Muenster cheese is very mild but when it’s left to age, the flavor could become stronger. It could also develop a rather pungent aroma when left to age.
Muenster cheese is served as an appetizer in most cases. It also melts very well and because of that, it’s used in certain dishes for example sandwiches, grilled cheese, quesadillas, tuna and cheeseburgers.
It is distinguished from Munster cheese by its spelling whereby Munster cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Munster is made in Alsace and its rind’s tinge is orange because of the actual cheese-making process. A regional variation of it can also be found in France.
In the 1800s the French immigrants discovered how to make Muenster cheese while in Wisconsin. They were probably trying to imitate the French people’s Munster considering the Muenster has a similar semi-soft texture to it. However, the very distinct red-orange colored rind comes from annatto. Annatto is a natural vegetable dye that’s known to give many types of Cheddar this kind of orange hue.
How to make Muenster cheese
Here’s how to make Muenster cheese:
- Mesophilic Starter Culture (Cheese mother culture)
- 8 litres cow’s or goat milk
- Salt for brine
- Calcium chloride (optional, that’s in case you’re using pasteurized milk from a store)
- 25ml of Brevibacterium Linens
- 2-4 drops orange coloring( optional)
- Sweet German white wine
- Take your milk and place it in your stockpot or a double boiler that’s on a stove and then gently warm it to about 90F if you’re using cow milk and 88F if you’re using goat milk.
- If the pasteurized milk you’re using is store-bought, dissolve the calcium chloride inside. A quarter cup will do great, and then stir it in.
- Take 50ml of water and dissolve the starter culture inside it then add the mixture to the milk. Stir this mixture gently then cover it. Set it aside for about fifteen minutes to allow for ripening.
- At this point, you can add coloring if you desire as this is optional in the process of making this Muenster Cheese.
- Dilute your rennet in a quarter cup of water and then add to the milk. Stir it gently but thoroughly for about a minute. Cover this and leave it aside for 45 minutes maintaining its temperature or just until you get a great curd break.
- Once you have a clean break, proceed to cut the curd into diamond shapes of a centimeter each then set aside for another five minutes to rest.
- Heat your curds to 100F if you’re using cow milk and 98F if you’re using goat milk. Make sure the rate stays at 2F every five minutes. This process will take 25 minutes within which you should keep stirring it occasionally. Make sure you do this very gently during the heating process. This will ensure you keep your curds from matting.
- Maintain this temperature for 30 minutes ensuring that you stir it every few minutes.
- Take a small height camembert cheese hoop and two mats then sterilize them in boiling water until clean. Drain the hoop and place on a mat. Choose a hoop size that matches the curd volume.
- Let your curds sit for 5 minutes then drain off whey from the curds. Ladle the curds into the hoop and then place a second mat on the curds so that you make a sandwich-like structure.
- Drain it for 30 minutes, hold the sandwich tightly, quickly flip it and place back down.
- Remove the top mat, rinse it and then return to the cheese. Repeat this step about five times every twenty minutes.
- Let your cheese rest overnight at room temperature while on mat.
- Make saturated salt brine and then cool it in the fridge. Remove your cheese from the hoop and then float it in the saturated brine for another twelve hours at 50-55F. Make sure you turn it every two hours to ensure the rind develops evenly.
- Remove the cheese and pat it dry then place on a clean mat.
- Dilute B Linens in some sterile water and pace it into a mister. Lightly spray the cheese surface using the finest mist. Make sure you flip and spray either side.
- Ripen the cheese in two phases. In the first phase, ripen at 60F and humidity of 95% for about a week or two. Ensure you wipe down this cheese after every two days using brine solution and a clean piece of cloth. This will ensure the mould is distributed uniformly.
- In the second phase of ripening, you could do one of these three.
- You could seal the cheese with some wax or vacuum bag and let it age for a minimum of 45 days at a minimum of 59F.
- You could also continue aging it at 59F and the 90 to 95% humidity then allow the rind to dry up. For this, wipe it every three days using a piece of cloth soaked in brine.
- The third option is to follow the steps in b above but for the wiping, use sweet white German wine.
- Just like many other types of cheese, the taste of this Muenster cheese will become stronger with age. Be sure to cut off some of the rind so that you remove the salt and then color the remaining bit of the rind with some orange vegetable dye.
Uses of Muenster Cheese
As mentioned, Muenster Cheese melts well and because of this it can be used in burgers or in grilled cheese. You could always place a slice of it over a burger when you’re still grilling it so that you can have it melt completely while it’s on the burger.
Make sure you use your favorite bread to make that tasty grilled sandwich that you dream of. Muenster cheese can also be great and tasty when used in baked potatoes. All you need to do is cut the baked potato at the top and then grate some cheese in it.
Let it melt for a while and then eat it after. You could also add some Muenster cheese when you’re making scalloped potatoes.
This cheese is also slightly salty. As such, it’s great for use in a sandwich as it adds not only seasoning but also texture. You could also try it with some ham or together with a turkey sandwich.
Muenster cheese is very mild and as such, is great for adding texture and some flavor into other ingredients without you overpowering these other ingredients.
Muenster cheese is also great when eaten with fondue as it gives it that additional flavor. You could also serve it in cubes on the side as an extra bite.
If you like a continental breakfast, Muenster Cheese makes for a great option since it will not overpower any other flavors that early in the morning. It goes well when served with pastries, ham and other breakfast fruits such as grapes and apples.
When it comes to Muenster cheese, for a single serving of one ounce, the calorie count is 104.3 while the total fat is 8.5grams. The fat consists of saturated fats, monosaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. The cholesterol level is 27.2mg while the sodium level stands at 178mg.
The potassium level in this serving would be around 38mg while carbohydrates will be 0.3g. It also contains protein and has vitamins and minerals.
This serving of Muenster Cheese will also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, among other minerals.
Muenster Cheese is great if you are a cheese lover as it will add to the variety of cheese you can take or even prepare by yourself. Muenster cheese is healthy and is great especially for those people who under normal circumstances are lactose intolerant. That’s because it has low lactose levels compared to other cheese types.
It’s great for breakfast, great with some of the snacks and even fruit you take. It’s tasty and delicious, definitely worth a try.
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