In contrast to soft non maturing (fresh) cheeses which are produced through a process of lacto acidic coagulation, the coagulation of maturing cheeses is mainly fermentative and lasts for 40 to 60 min. Typical representatives in this group are: camembert, brie, feta, telemea and others with differing names depending on the region in which they are produced. High moisture content is a common characteristic of this type of cheese and it is usually more than 50% of the overall weight.
Soft, maturing cheeses share common manufacturing specifications:
- cutting of the coagulum is usually performed once with cubes ranging in size from 10mm to 20mm;
- grain drying is mechanical only (through stirring);
- lack of secondary heating;
- blocks are moulded through self pressing. During this process the leftover whey is drained;
- maturing in atmospheric conditions or in brine. During maturation stages some cheeses grow mould.
The expected yield should be 14% to 15% depending on the casein content and when the raw material has a standard fat content of/3,4 to 3,6%/.
Depending on the moisture content in total weight, the soft maturing cheeses can be classified as:
-semi hard 54÷63%;
-semi soft 61÷69%;
- soft > 67%.
Depending on the fat in dry matter they can be classified as:
- high fat >60%;
- full fat 45÷60%;
-medium fat 25÷45%;
-low fat 10÷25%;
- non fat < 10%.