Glossary Of Terms

Following is an A – Z glossary of many the terms I have come to know and understand during the course of my cheese making. This list is by no means exhaustive as I am still adding all the extra details so if you have any other terms you want to help with, or suggestions for corrections, please comment in the forum and let me know.

Acidic/Acidity – used when measuring or noticing the levels of acid in the milk/curd/cheese
Aging – process of cheese maturation/development caused by the breakdown of proteins and fats
Amonia – smell that some cheeses e.g. Camembert get when overripe
Annatto – a natural cheese colouring agent which dyes the cheese to a yellow, orange or red hue
Brine – either whey or water mixed with high levels of salt for washing and bathing cheese 
CaCi (Calcium Chloride) – used to rebalance calcium levels of pasteurized milk 
– referring to a cheese cave, used to store cheese while aging
Cheese Cloth
– fabric for straining and wrapping cheese in, sometimes muslin is also used
Clean Break
– point where curds are ready to cut, obvious by curd breaking easily and cleaning when a finger or knife is run through it
– when the milk begin to form together into the curd, after rennet is added
– used in cheese making to achieve the required acidity levels as well as flavours to make different cheeses
Curd – solid formation of the caseins and proteins in the milk, particularly with the use of rennet
Eyes – small holes in the cheese common in cheese such as Gruyere, formed by certain bacteria
Hoop – opened ended mold used for cheeses such as Camembert and Brie
Lipase – used often in Italian cheeses such as Parmesan and Romano for better flavour
Milling – breaking up the curd after it has rested and ripened before pressing
Mold\Mould – a container with avenues for whey drainage which forms the shape of the cheese
Mold\Mould – microflora which grow on the cheese surface, some desirable, some not so
Paste – inside of the cheese
Pasteurisation – heat treatment of milk to kill all the ‘nasties’
pH Levels – measure of acid vs alkaline
Pressing – when the curds have pressure applied to knit the curds and remove extra whey
Rennet – enzyme product that encourages coagulation of milk into a solid curd
Rind – outside of the cheese, sometimes referred to as natural or mold/mould ripened
Ripening – describes the process of allowing the starter to increase the milk acidity
Salt – non iodized salt for using in cheese curing and ripening
Thermometer – used to measure temperature of milk and curd
– cheese wax is used to coat and seal cheeses for aging, pliable and airtight
Whey – resulting liquid after curds have formed, expelled during pressing


Do you have any questions or comments about common terms used in home cheese making? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you!

Curd Nerd Forum