It is a recurring discussion at many kitchen tables: can it hurt to eat the cheese crust? NU.nl finds out.
Cheese is made by adding starter and rennet to milk. The proteins in the milk clump together, creating the curd. This is the basis of the cheese. The curd is put in cheese vats. Then the brine bath follows. The salt not only gives the cheese its typical taste, but also a firm crust.
Yellow coating is not intended for eating
Before the cheese ripens, some cheeses - at least most Dutch cheeses - are applied with a yellow layer to protect against fungi and bacteria. "The yellow coating is a kind of plastic, polyvinyl acetate to be precise," says Thom Huppertz, professor of dairy at Wageningen University.
You can eat the crust of these cheeses
- Gouda cheese
- Dutch cheese
"The anti-fungal agent natamycin is often added to the coating - albeit in a low and safe concentration. Although it is not harmful to eating the coating in principle, it is not the intention. It is really no more than a package You can eat the drier hard crust under the coating. "
Foreign cheeses do have edible crust
But does this also apply to the hard crust of foreign cheeses, which usually have no coating? "The crust of most foreign cheeses is very edible," says cheese connoisseur Ed Chavernac, aka 'the Frenchwoman'.
"Anything can be added to cheese. Wine, raisin, a distillate, mushrooms. This determines the taste of the cheese. The crust is formed when the cheese ripens, and therefore dries out. This can make the crust very strong. And how longer on the shelf, the thicker the crust. Some people don't like the crust for that reason, the taste is too strong. "
According to Chavernac, you can eat the crust of cheeses such as brie and camembert. (Photo: 123RF)
Brie and camembert crusts taste strong
The crust of white fungi, such as brie and camembert, is great for eating, says Chavernac. The same applies to cheeses with a red crust, the so-called red bacteria cheeses, such as a Munster. Although the crust tastes strong, it is good to eat. "Even the gray crust of a morbier, a semi-hard cheese to which an ash layer has been added, is edible."
You cannot (better) eat the crust of these cheeses
However, according to Chavernac, you should not eat the crust of cheeses such as comté, beaufort, emmenthaler and parmesan. "This is thick and hard, and therefore difficult to eat. Moreover, the crust of a comté often has an ammonia-like taste that is not recommended."
See also: The facts and fables about melted cheese
" Use your common sense"
There are also a number of cheeses without crust, for which reason the discussion is not taking place. Roquefort and cheddar, for example, mature in a foil bag. The same applies increasingly to Dutch (factory) cheeses that are on the shelf without coating.
Chavernac: "Actually, it's very simple: use your common sense. If you think the crust is too strong in taste, too hard and barely to eat, don't do it. On the other hand, it doesn't hurt to push your limits and new ones cheese tastes - especially in the crust - to discover. "