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Baby

A smaller quantity of cheese formed into a mini-wheel or cylinder-like shape.

Ball/Round

A style that ranges from a very small sphere, as with Fresh Mozzarella (the size of a cherry), to larger than a softball for a Gouda or Edam cheese ball, and a Boccini or Bocci ball for Provolone.

Barny or Barnyardy

A descriptive term referring to strong farm-related aromas. Sometimes also called cowy. This characterization does not always indicate a negative quality.

Barrel

A natural style of Cheddar cheese specifically produced for the manufacture of Pasteurized Process cheeses meant to be further processed (i.e., natural variety shredded cheese and a range of processed cheeses).

Basic Ingredient

A term usually referring to the milk source from which a cheese is made, such as cow's milk, ewe's milk or goat's milk. Rennet, cultures, enzymes and salt are also considered basic ingredients of cheese.

Basket

A nontraditional form some cheesemakers use in style presentation of their cheese. Basket Muenster cheese is an example that is readily available in Wisconsin.

Beestings

The first milk a cow gives after calving. Very high in protein, beestings is used in Spain for the production of Armada, a strong, semi-firm cheese.

Bitter

An unpleasant, biting flavor — usually an aftertaste. A bitter aftertaste is sometimes associated with variations in manufacturing and curing or aging procedures. It is more prevalent in cured cheeses that have a high-moisture content. Bitterness is often confused with astringency. True bitterness is a sensation that is typified by the aftertaste of grapefruit peel.

Bleu

The French word for blue that is used in reference to the Blue-veined cheese varieties. Blue molds are typically Penicillium roqueforti or Penicillium glaucum. Famous varieties include Bleu, Gorgonzola and Stilton.®

Block

The most common style of cheese produced for wholesale distribution. Descriptive of the size and shape of cheese before it is cut for distribution and sale. It is recognized as one of the major styles of natural cheese and is aged in 20-, 40-, 60- or 640-pound blocks.

Bloomy Rind

A descriptive term for an edible cheese rind (crust) that is covered with a harmless, flavor-producing growth of white Penicillium mold. The bloomy rind is formed by spraying the cheese surface with spores of Penicillium candidum mold before curing. Occasionally, brown, pink or red specks are interspersed through the white mold as it ages or cures. Bloomy-rind cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert and some Chèvres, are classified as soft-ripened.

Blue-veined

A characteristic of cheese varieties that develop blue or green streaks of harmless, flavor-producing mold throughout the interior. Generally, veining gives cheese an assertive and piquant flavor.

Bocci/Boccini

A ball-shaped style, typical of Provolone cheese. Bocci weighs approximately 5 pounds. Boccini is a smaller version of Bocci, typically weighing about 2 pounds.

Bocconcini

A term describing a traditional-size Fresh Mozzarella ball, weighing 1-3/4 ounces. Bocconcini translates from Italian to English meaning little mouthfuls.

Body

Represents the physical attributes of cheese when touched, handled, cut or eaten. The body may feel rubbery, firm, elastic, soft, resilient, yielding, supple, oily, etc. When rolled between the fingers or cut, it may appear waxy or crumbly. Its mouthfeel may be grainy or creamy. A cheese also may be felt to determine its condition of ripeness.

Braided

A nontraditional style in the Pasta Filata cheese family. Cheesemakers will take strands of this type of cheese and braid them for a special appearance.

Brine

A salt-and-water solution in which some cheese varieties are washed or dipped during the cheesemaking process. Certain cheeses, such as Feta, are packed or stored in brine.

Brining

A step in the manufacture of some cheese varieties where the whole cheese is floated briefly in a brine solution. Brining is common in the production of Mozzarella, Provolone, Swiss, Parmesan and Romano cheeses.

Broken Down

Refers to a change in the texture of cheese. For example, cheese may change from a firm, smooth or coarse, curdy or rubbery texture to a waxy (similar to cold butter), mealy or pasty texture.

Brushed

During the curing process, washed-rind cheese varieties are brushed with liquids such as brine, beer, wine or brandy to maintain a moist rind and impart distinctive, earthy flavors. Parmesan and other hard cheeses may be brushed or rubbed with a vegetable oil.

bST/Bovine Somatotropin (Also see rBGH)

A naturally occurring protein hormone from the pituitary gland of cattle that affects the amount of milk produced by dairy cows.

Bulk Cheese

Cheese in its original manufactured form, such as a 40-pound block of Cheddar.

Butterfat

See Fat Content and Milkfat Content.

Butterfat (Fat, Milkfat)

The amount of butterfat/fat in any cheese. Fat content is determined by analyzing the fat in the dry matter of cheese. The fat is expressed as a percentage of the entire dry matter. In reference to cheese fat, milkfat and butterfat are synonymous. See Dry Matter.

Buttermilk

The liquid which remains after churning butter from cultured cream. The liquid remaining after churning sweet cream is sweet cream buttermilk. Also a cultured skim milk.

Buttery

A descriptive term for cheese with a high fat content, such as the double and triple creams, or cheese with a sweet flavor and creamy texture reminiscent of butter.