The process of cheesemaking has been around for centuries.
Typically, it involves adding a starter culture and rennet to milk which helps to separate it into curds and whey. The whey is drained while the curds are gathered and molded into cheese.
Over time, many cheese varieties produced using different techniques and having distinctive characteristics have evolved.
In this post, we compare two very popular cheese varieties; gorgonzola and feta cheese, and highlight their unique taste, appearance and other differences.
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Difference between gorgonzola and feta cheese
Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese from Italy, produced from unskimmed cow milk with blue marbling as a result of penicillium roqueforti or penicillium glaucum fungus
Feta cheese is a white cheese originally from Greece that is produced from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of both sheep’s milk and goat’s milk .
What is gorgonzola cheese?
Gorgonzola is a variety of cheese from Italy but it is also produced worldwide.
The origin of this cheese dates back to the 11th century. Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese which are a group of cheese that contain the mold penicillium.
Gorgonzola cheese is firm, crumbly and it can also be salty.
This cheese is made from unskimmed cow’s milk and a starter containing the spores of the mold penicillium glacum which is responsible for the blue-green marbling within the cheese.
Gorgonzola is popularly produced in the regions of piedmont and lombardy. True gorgonzola cheese has protected designation of origin(PDO) status, and it is often produced in these regions.
This cheese can be eaten as a topping or as a sauce, it is also added to salads.
Gorgonzola cheese could be found in many traditional Italian dishes, it is used as an ingredient in pizza and sometimes it is eaten with polenta.
This cheese is also packed with a lot of nutrients; an ounce of gorgonzola cheese contains 100 calories and 8.1g of fat. Gorgonzola also has a high salt content, and one ounce of this cheese contains 326mg of sodium
How gorgonzola is made
Whole pasteurized cow’s milk is mixed together with a starter culture containing penicillum roqueforti or pencillum glaucum cultures and rennet.
The milk begins to curdle immediately, the curds are then cut into small pieces as some of the whey drains, and then the curds are transferred into round molds.
While in the mold, a saltwater solution is applied to the cheese to produce a thin rind. Thin metal rods are also inserted and removed to allow for the spores of the mold to grow helping to produce the characteristic blue veins within gorgonzola cheese.
The cheese is aged for a period of between two to four months at low temperature.
Gorgonzola cheese becomes firmer and more salty as it ages.
Types of gorgonzola cheese
There are two main types of gorgonzola cheese which are largely dependent on how long the cheese is aged for.
This is also known as sweet gorgonzola. It is the sweeter tasting variety which is aged for a shorter duration and has a softer texture
It could also be known as mountain gorgonzola, and it is aged for a longer period of time and acquires a firmer texture than the less aged variety of this cheese
What is feta cheese?
Feta is a soft crumbly white cheese that is traditionally made from sheep’s milk.
It could also be made from a mixture of sheep’s milk and goat milk. When goat milk is used to make feta cheese, it is usually less than 30% of the mixture.
Feta cheese has a salty and tangy flavor.
The salty flavor of feta cheese is due to the brine in which the cheese ages, and because it ages in a brine, the cheese also does not have a rind.
Also, depending on the proportions of sheep and goat milk that is used to make feta cheese, the flavor may range from mild to sharp.
Feta cheese has been around for centuries, and it is very popular in Greek cuisine.
True feta is originally produced in Greece and has protected designation of origin(POD) status.
Feta is used in salads such as Greek salad and also in pastries.
Nutritionally, feta cheese is also very high in salt and contains about 316mg of sodium in an ounce of feta. Feta cheese is also rich in calcium and phosphorous.
How feta cheese is made
Feta cheese may be produced from raw or pasteurized sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk,
The process of making feta cheese begins with the addition of lactic acid starter cultures and rennet to the milk.
This helps to seperate whey from curds and it sets the casein.
The curds are then gathered and some of the whey is drained.
Feta cheese curds is cut into smaller blocks which are then salted, following this, feta cheese is submerged into a barrel or container containing brine solutions to age for up to months.
The wooden barrel also gives the feta cheese a distinctive flavor.
After this variety of cheese is aged, it is sometimes package with some amount of brine to keep it fresh.
Both gorgonzola and feta cheese are popular varieties of cheese that have been awarded the protected designation of origin(PDO) status from the European union.
This means that the genuine varieties of this cheese are made using a particular technique, within a specific geographical location, and using local products that are gotten from that geographical location. .
The environment and the traditional techniques used in making these varieties of cheese also contribute to their unique qualities.