Family 5. Semi-hard Washed Cheese

Varieties: This is the largest and most diverse group of cheese including Gouda, Edam, Colby, Brick, Montasio, Oka, Muenster and many others.

pH Control: The distinguishing feature of these cheese is the practice of washing to remove lactose. Part or all of the whey is removed and replaced with water to leach lactose from the curd. The objective is to limit the amount of lactose to a level which permits sufficient lactic acid development to produce a minimum pH of 5.0 - 5.2, but not enough to ferment and produce cheese pH less than 5.0.

Moisture Control: The amount of syneresis is controlled mainly by the temperature and time of cooking and by the temperature of the wash water. Higher temperatures during cooking or washing cause the curd to contract and expel moisture. Also, important are the rate of acid development and salting treatments. Washed curd cheese typically have moisture contents of 40 - 50%. With some exceptions, washing treatments are used to make cheese with a moisture content of 40% or greater and pH greater than 5.1. 

Curing: 2 weeks - 9 months.