Hard cheese maturation period is usually measured in years, not months. They are very dry which make them great for crumbling and grating. The same aging that gives them the dry texture, also gives hard cheese much more pungency and character. They have a long shelf life and will continue to develop their flavour as they age.
These cheeses are full of flavour and a little goes a long way.
Salty and sweet are the two words that best describe the hard cheese category. Flavour descriptions often include the words, coffee, caramel, earthy, fruity, pineapple, haylike, grassy, nutty and sharp.
Appearance & Texture:
Hard cheese often have a rind that looks like rock. The paste is usually a pale yellow or straw colour when it is made during the winter months when animals are hay fed, and deep gold during when it is made during summer months.
These cheeses are very hard, and cannot be dented with a finger. They are either flaky, crumbling apart when cut, or are hard and grainy making them ideal for grating them over a dish.
Hard cheeses form tyrosine, which are small grana crystals within the paste. These are formed by the natural breakdown of the milk proteins, which also causes the cheeses to digest quickly.
Care & Storage:
Each of these cheeses is meant for aging and long-term storage, so they’re the most durable in a home fridge, wrapped in cheese paper and then plastic wrap to retain moisture. Small specks of surface mould may develop but they’re harmless and easily scraped off.