Once you’ve worked hard to produce some homemade cheese, how do you go about evaluating it to determine your success? There are no real rules here for the home cheesemaker and most of us just say whether we like it or not! But there is much more to that when it comes to cheese judging contests. And learning all the different aspects of evaluating your cheese may help to make you a better cheesemaker.
Each year the American Cheese Society hosts one of the larger cheese judging competitions in the country. The link below will take you to a wonderful PDF that is a judging tutorial that is used by the ACS judges. Here is just a brief summary when it comes to judging your own cheeses:
- Bring the cheeses up to a cool room temperature (around 60 degrees) so that the taste and texture will really come through.
- Taste the milder cheeses first, if you are tasting several, and cleanse your palette in between with water or some grapes.
- To help you consider every aspect of the cheese consider each of these attributes:
- Aroma (ammoniated, yeasty, moldy, fruity, etc.)
- Taste (acidic, bitter, fruity, too salty, etc.)
- Texture (crumbly, mealy, pasty, curdy, etc.)
- Appearance/Rind Development (cracked, greasy, slipped rind, etc.)
For complete information including some sample judging sheets as well as “ideals” for certain cheeses, CLICK HERE
Here is a very simple judging sheet we use in our own in-house amateur cheesemaking contests:
Flavor: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Texture: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Appearance: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Total Score: __________
Have fun with your cheesemaking and tasting!