Red smear cheese – the popular soft cheese

What exactly is red smear cheese? Find out everything about this type of soft cheese!

What is red smear cheese?

Red smear cheese is a type of soft cheese with an orange or brownish surface that is distinguished by its tangy to strong flavour. Red smear cheese is matured from the outside in and is not the result of mould cultures like, for example, in the case of white mould cheese. Yellow to reddish cultures are used for the red smear cheese’s maturing process, which then also give the red smear cheese its typical flavour and reddish colour. Cheese flora is produced during maturing, which the affineur “smears” over and over again and is refined with red cultures and brine. Resulting in it also being called smear-ripened cheese. A soft cheese that has not matured yet has a white or yellowish middle that looks like quark. The longer the red smear cheese matures, the smaller this centre becomes and the richer and fuller the flavour becomes. After maturing for up to four weeks, the red smear cheese is ready and can be eaten. The tasty cheese rind is similar to white mould cheese and can also be eaten.

How is red smear cheese best eaten?

Red smear cheese is becoming more and more popular in Germany with its rich flavour and typical aroma and is a delicious alternative to standard types of cheeses. Whether it’s on cheese platter, on its own, on crunchy bread or with onions, it gives even the simplest of dishes a rich touch thanks to its earthy flavour. Anyone who likes things particularly hearty, can also use red smear cheese for oven-baked and gratin dishes. “Käsespätzle” can also be made using red smear cheese. Red smear cheese is also deal for refining salads. Simply cut up into cubes and sprinkle them over the salad. Limburger can also be marinated in oil and vinegar and then eaten with onion rings on wholemeal bread or boiled potatoes in butter.

Red smear cheese during pregnancy

Can you eat red smear cheese when you’re pregnant? Pregnant women should definitely not eat raw meat, raw fish as well as any raw animal food products, in particular products made from unpasteurised milk to protect themselves against listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. Listeriosis does not occur very often and is usually not dangerous for healthy people. But with pregnant women the illness could cause complications for the baby. Many cheeses can basically be eaten but not all types of cheeses are suitable for the expectant mother and child. It recommended that as a precaution cheese made from raw milk as well as red smear cheese such as Limburger, semi-hard and soft cheese made from unpasteurised milk, sour milk cheese and cheese from open containers (feta, sheep's cheese, mozzarella) should be avoided. Mozzarella, hard cheese, semi-hard cheese, soft cheese, mascarpone and ricotta, which are all industrially made out of pasteurised cow's milk and packaged are on the other hand safe to eat. However, cheese rind, for example like that from red smear cheese, should not be eaten during pregnancy. It is therefore better to cut red smear cheese totally out of your diet during this time. It is also important to pay attention to cleanliness and hygiene during pregnancy: thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables and wash your hands often.

Limburger is a typical red smear cheese.

There are many red smearcheeses, for example Limburger, Romadur, Munster etc. The popular Limburger is characterised by its red smear rind, which has an extremely strong smell, and is also known as the brick cheese due to its shape. The earthy flavour and strong stinky aroma are typical of it, along with the rectangular shape and reddish rind. The rind is also edible and contains the very pungent aroma. Limburger is originally from Belgium but is mainly produced in Germany now. At the beginning of the maturing process, the Limburger’s consistency is very similar to feta cheese. However, the longer it matures the softer and creamier it becomes and the more overpowering its characteristic smell becomes. Limburger is becoming increasingly popular due to this smell and its rich flavour in particular.