Although Germany claims Münster as its own, the cheese was actually first created in the 7th century by monks in an Alsace monastery in France. The German name comes from the city of Munster, France and the Latin word "monasterium". It is called "Muenster" in America and "Mynster" in Denmark.
This semisoft cheese is made from unpasteurized cows milk. It has a pale yellow color and small scattered holes. Münster is produced in disks about 12 to 20 cm in diameter and 3 to 5 cm thick. It has a reddish textured rind, which is formed by rubbing the cheese with brine while it matures. This process is usually drawn out over 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the size and desired taste and smell.
Münster has a wide range of taste, depending on the age; the more aged the cheese is, the stronger it is. Generally, it is smooth and mild, with a slight hint of salt and butter. Depending on the country it's made in, however, there are considerable differences. German Münster has a strong odor and is usually served as a table cheese with hors d'oeuvre. French Münster has a sharp flavor and creamy consistency. It is first odorless, but develops a pungent smell over the course of a month, when it is rind-washed. It is often seasoned with anise, fennel, caraway, or cumin. American Münster, mostly made in Wisconsin, is much milder than its German and French counterparts and is largely considered inferior. This variety is widely available in the states; the more traditional varieties can probably be found in a specialized cheese shop.
German Münster goes well with fruit, raw vegetables, rye and whole-grain breads, dried meat, fruity wines such as Zinfandel, and beer. French Münster is best served with a salad course or with a fruit dessert course. American Münster, with its mild flavor, should be coupled with strong tasting foods. It's also useful for cooking since it melts easily (best when shredded).
Serving = 1 oz. (28g)
- Calories: 105
- Protein: 6.6 g
- Cholesterol: 27 mg
- Carbohydrates: 0.32 g
- Fat: 9 g
- Saturated Fat: 5.4 g
- Calcium: 200 mg