Here at Olympus Cheese, we are a fresh cheese company. What is fresh cheese you ask? Shouldn’t all cheese be fresh? Well, yes, but fresh cheese refers to a type of cheese which is not aged and is minimally processed. We examine the different types of fresh (or young) cheeses and explain the method of creating fresh cheese.
The process of fresh cheese
Fresh cheese is young cheese which contains little to no chemicals or preservatives to process. It is made by ripening milk with starter cultures, which converts the milk sugars into lactic acid. This encourages thickening of the milk. Then rennet is added to thicken the milk more (Olympus Cheese use non-animal rennet for this step). Following this process, curds form and separate from the whey, which is the liquid. The whey is then drained and the curd is turned into cheese. Unlike aged cheese, there is generally not much more processing required to turn it into your favourite cheese variety.
Which cheeses are classed as fresh?
Here are some of the more common fresh cheeses made today:
- Goat’s cheese
- Crème Fraiche
- Cottage cheese
- And everybody’s favourite – halloumi.
At Olympus, we produce fetta, ricotta, and halloumi for supply to many restaurants and cafes across Australia as well as for sale in speciality grocers, fruit shops and delis.
The flavour profile
Ready to eat within a few days or even hours of being made, fresh cheeses are so young that they barely have time to develop any more than a hint of the milk’s potential flavour. Fresh cheese is often described as having milky, sweet, lemony, refreshing, citrus or acidic flavours. Subtle but distinctive flavours can be drawn from fresh cheese through thoughtful cheesemaking to create a flavourful and delicious result. It’s important with fresh cheesemaking, (or any food business really), to have high levels of food safety. This process starts with nominating and training a food safety supervisor or several, who are on hand in the factory to ensure freshness isn’t just about the age of the cheese, but the highest safety and quality of the end product.
How to recognise fresh cheese
Here are some tips on how to spot and pick fresh cheese.
- Flavour. The flavour of fresh cheese is milky with a gentle acidity that is lemony fresh or slightly sharp like yoghurt or sour cream
- Fat content. Fresh cheese has the lowest fat content of all the cheese categories.
- Moisture. Fresh cheese has the highest moisture content of all the cheese categories, which means they have a very short shelf life. The high moisture content of fresh cheeses makes them feel soft on the palate.
- Colour. Fresh cheese is white in colour and usually shiny
- Rind. Fresh cheese has no rind, so there is little difference between the interior and exterior
- Age. Fresh cheese is only ever aged from one to seven days or up to 12 months pickled in brine or oil.
- Texture. Fresh cheese’s texture varies enormously – soft, crumbly, spreadable, mousse-like, creamy, stringy like Mozzarella, or firm and sliceable like halloumi.
- Short life. Most good fresh cheeses have a short shelf life, especially those very young cheeses such as ricotta which isn’t brined. A short use-by date, especially after opening is an indication that no preservatives have been added after the cheesemaking process to prolong the product’s life.
Olympus Cheese’s philosophy is as fresh as possible. We make our cheese with very few ingredients and without preservatives or additives at any stage of the process. We pack within 42 hours. This fresh flavour is what we are famous for and it makes for a distinctive difference you can taste with every bite.
Take a look at what we make in our Fresh Cheese Range.
Ideas and recipes with fresh cheese
Have lentils, will use them! This lentil and halloumi bake is the ultimate comfort food. Olympus halloumi rests on a rich tomato and lentil sauce with spicy chorizo.
Here’s our favourite halloumi starter recipes, proving halloumi is not only great for BBQ’s and brekky but the perfect easy appetiser for a treat at home.
Make your own Olympus Halloumi breakfast bowl at home! We give the tips and tricks to help you construct your next masterpiece and combos to try.
Can you eat halloumi raw? Is it any good? Yes, halloumi is okay to eat uncooked. Here’s 3 ways to serve raw halloumi to bring out its best flavours.
What better way to showcase the soft, open texture of Olympus Ricotta than with this ricotta and cherry tomato tart featuring fresh basil and parsley?
This creamy ricotta coffee mousse is a beautiful dessert for lovers of coffee and cream. With only 3 ingredients – it’s simple yet oh-so satisfying.
Baked Ricotta with Roasted Grapes – a delicious idea for a cheese plate. Olympus Ricotta is baked with herbs and garlic served with jammy roasted grapes.
A flavoursome lemon ricotta pizza which is lifted with fresh rocket, garlic and toasted pine nuts. A sophisticated pizza showcasing ricotta at its best.
Take Olympus baked ricotta, grill some peaches until they’re sweet and caramelised and add pops of crispy pancetta. A perfect salad.