Muenster cheese – it’s a delicious staple in American cheese platters and sandwich trays, but just what is a Muenster cheese?
Muenster cheese is an American cheese made from cow's milk that is most commonly used for melting on top of dishes. It is a semi-soft, semi-thin cheese, with a buttery, creamy and slightly salty taste that some cheese lovers find delightfully distinct. Commonly used for burgers, pizzas and grilled sandwiches, Muenster is a favorite to have in the refrigerator.
In the United States, this cheese is often referred to as Munster, because when it became popular in the U.S., immigrants mispronounced its German name "Muenster". Its original name derives from the city of Munster, located in the Lorraine region of Alsace, France, where the cheese has been produced since the Middle Ages.
The cheese is sometimes made with unpasteurized milk, which adds flavor and character, making it tastier than other cheese varietals. Pasteurization destroys some of the natural enzymes and proteins that offer added flavor and smoothness. Additionally, the cheese often incorporates an orange dye, creating the distinct orange hue that many people expect when seeing a wedge of Muenster.
Muenster cheese is aged for approximately four to six weeks, depending on the recipe and style of production. During aging, a bacterial culture is usually added, giving the cheese its soft, yet firm texture. Then, as the cheese reaches its peak consistency, it is cut up into wedges and sold in markets.
The mild flavor of a Muenster makes it versatile for cooking and can be used in various recipes like bread stuffing, macaroni and cheese, quiche and casseroles. At the same time, it can also be sliced and served with crackers or as part of a cheese platter. It is also great for paninis, omelets and quesadillas, as it melts quickly and easily and adds a mild flavor to the dish.
Although Muenster cheese is fairly mild in flavor, it is still an excellent base to take on different flavors. For example, adding parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme will produce a delicious herb-infused Muenster. In addition, the orange hue created by the dye often makes it visually appealing when using it as a topping on dishes. Lastly, it’s ideal for grating on top of baked potatoes and adding flavor to soups and stews.
No matter how you choose to use it, Muenster cheese is sure to become a family favorite. Its mild taste and creamy texture make it a great addition to any cheese platters, meals or snacks. If you’re looking for a cheese that is easy to use, delectably smooth, and brings a hint of the French countryside to your refrigerator, then Muenster is definitely one to try. With its mild, semi-soft texture and a slight saltiness, it’s the perfect addition to virtually any recipe.