Cheese manufacturing techniques vary for different types of cheese. Variables include the composition of the milk used, the type of bacteria or molds used for ripening, the conditions of ripening (temperature, humidity, and duration), the time and extent of whey expulsion, the method used to cut and form the curd, the amount of salt used and the method of adding it, the degree and method of pressing, and the flavorings and colorings added.
The popularity of goat cheese (also known as Chèvres, their French name) continues to grow in the United States. Goat cheeses range from lightly tangy fresh goat cheese such as Montrachet, to firm cheeses such as Valencay (also known as pyramid) and strongly flavored, hard, aged cheeses such as Crottin de Chavignol. Well-known sheep’s milk cheeses include Pecorino Romano from Italy, Manchego from Spain, Feta and Kasseri from Greece, and Roquefort blue cheese from France. The best-known buffalo milk cheese is buffalo milk mozzarella.
The retail cheese market can be divided into three main categories: natural cheese (including most gourmet or specialty cheeses), processed cheese (including American cheese), and imitation cheese. Each of these categories can be divided into dozens or even hundreds of subcategories made up of groups and individual types of cheese.