What is red culture cheese?
Red culture cheese is well-known for its orange appearance and rich flavours. With red culture cheese it matures from the outside surface in to the centre, in contrast to the maturing process for white mould cheese that is activated by mould cultures. Orange, reddish cultures are used to start the red culture cheese’s maturing process. These also produce the typical flavour and red colour. The mass is regularly smeared while the red culture cheese matures. This also explains the red culture cheese’s name. The red cultures are refined with a brine too. At the start, a soft cheese that has not matured yet has a white, yellowish centre but the longer the red culture cheese matures, the smaller the quark-like centre inside becomes. The red culture cheese is fully matured after about four weeks and can be eaten. A rind has then formed on the outside (similar to the white mould cheese rind), which can also be eaten.
How is red culture cheese best eaten?
The very full-flavoured, strong smelling red culture cheese is being eaten more often in Germany. As a result of its rich flavour, it provides a welcome alternative to neutral types of cheeses and gives every dish a really tasty touch. Whether it’s on its own on a fresh slice of bread, as a soft cheese on a cheese platter, served simply with onions, it goes well with many dishes thanks to its tangy flavour. Red culture cheese is also often used for oven-baked and gratin dishes or to pep up salads. The cheese is simply cut into cubes for this and sprinkled over the salad. One real speciality is red culture cheese, e.g. Limburger, with vinegar and oil, refined with finely sliced onion rings on a slice of bread. Potatoes tossed in butter also go very well with red culture cheese.
Red culture cheese during pregnancy
Can you enjoy red culture cheese when you’re expecting a child? Pregnant women do not eat raw meat, raw fish like sushi and other raw animal products. These also include products made from unpasteurised milk. This can protect them from listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. Listeriosis is relatively harmless with healthy people and not very common. However, the illness can lead to complications with pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women can eat cheese during pregnancy but they should be careful about what type of cheese they eat. For example, cheese made from unpasteurised milk, such as red smear cheese like Limburger, soft cheese and semi-hard cheese from unpasteurised milk, cheese from open containers like feta, mascarpone or sheep’s milk and sour milk cheese should not be eaten. On the other hand, cheeses made from pasteurised cow’s milk are safe to indulge in. These include, for example, mozzarella, hard cheese, semi-hard cheese, mascarpone and ricotta, which are industrially made and sold packaged. Pregnant women should also be careful with cheese rind. They should not eat the rind from red smear cheese, for example. It is advisable to refrain from eating any red smear cheese at all during pregnancy. Just to be on the safe side. It is generally important for expectant mothers to pay attention to hygiene. This means: washing fruits and vegetables even more thoroughly before eating them and washing their hands more often.
A famous red culture cheese: Limburger
The most well-known red culture cheeses include, e.g. Limburger, Romadur, Munster etc. The red smear rinds that are characterised by a strong smell are typical for Limburger. The Limburger is also called a cheese bar due to its rectangular shape. With its red rind, rich flavour and strong smell it is a typical representative of red culture cheeses. What is special about it is also its edible rind that contains a great deal of flavour. Limburger originally comes from Belgium by the way but is becoming more and more popular in Germany nowadays and is also made here. Before maturing, Limburger red culture cheese has a similar consistency to feta cheese. The longer it matures, the softer it becomes and the stronger it smells. This tangy smell is what makes the Limburger one of the most popular red culture cheeses in Germany.