Muenster cheese is a favorite of children and adults alike: it’s mild, mellow, melts like a champ, and easily incorporated into many cheesy recipes.
As a true cheese lover, I can help you understand the storied history behind Muenster cheese and all the glorious forms and flavors it comes in.
What Is The Origin Of Muenster Cheese?
Muenster cheese traced its roots to Alsace, France, and was first figured out how to make it in the Middle Ages. However, Muenster is an Anglicized version of a German term – Munster. That’s because Alsace borders Germany, and it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries, which makes this region a mix of these two cultures.
The original name “munster” comes from the word monastery, named after an Alsatian abbey of Munster in the Vosgian Mountains of France. The cheese was first made by the Benedictine migrant monks here for personal consumption to preserve, save milk and feed many people. They later passed on their traditional cheese-making methods to the peasants of the region.
The Authentic French Munster Cheese
What To Know?
The authentic French Munster cheese is made from cows’ milk that grazes living in the regions between Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche-Comté in France. After several repeated washings, the cheese has a red coating on the red coating on the slightly humid rind, which acts as a protective layer of cheese and creates a rich, penetrating, and aromatic aroma.
The Best Authentic Munster Cheeses
The best Munster cheeses are made by French farmers, who are still using traditional cheese-making methods. These cheeses have a very high-fat content of 45-50%, made from milk of the cows graze on the Vosges mountains, which is known for the high protein content.
These cows produce their best milk in the summer and autumn when they graze on the Vosges’ ‘high stubble’. So there is nothing better than enjoying Munster cheese produced in these two seasons.
Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC)’s Protection For Traditional Munster Cheeses
Traditional Munster cheese is protected by Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) – a French certification issued to several French geographical indications for cheeses, wines, butter, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of government offices.
Traditional Munster cheese is strictly regulated in its production technique and source geography. AOC regulations dictate that the Munster cheeses must be made from unpasteurized cow’s milk called crude milk, matured within a designated area and that the minimum time foraging is three weeks before release.
AOC French Munster Cheese Taste
AOC Munster is 45% fat, dry to creamy, ivory colored, pungent. It has a powerful and penetrating odor and a robust taste when it ripe. However, the cheese’s bite is far from as strong as the smell. It can be milder and softer in flavor when it’s young.
About The Munster’s Orange Rind:
Brevibacterium linens cause the orange rind of French Munster. It’s better-known for making the stinky orange rind of Limberger, which contributes to the color and flavor of the top-shelf Munsters.
American Muenster Cheese
What To Know?
Munster cheese was brought to America by German immigrants who currently in France at that time. The cheese was first introduced in the 1800s and called Muenster cheese. The spelling “Muenster” distinguishes the American version from the French Munster.
Muenster is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It has a pale color and smooth texture with an orange rind.
Muenster Cheese Taste
Contrary to the strong taste and smell of Munster cheese, Muenster usually has a very mild mellow flavor, especially when young. It is also sometimes described as a cross between a mild cheddar and a mozzarella flavor. The salt content and the annatto-rich earthiness of the soft rind offset its smooth and gently tart flavor, creating a harmonious taste suitable for both adults and children.
About The Muenster’s Orange Rind:
Unlike the orange rind of French Munster, which is caused by Brevibacterium linens, most American Muenster is colored by an orange-red vegetable dye called annatto – a sweet and nutty seasoning used to add flavor and color to cheeses such as Mimolette, Red Leicester, Colby, and Cheddar.
Annatto is native to Central America, obtained from the bright red seeds of the tropical achiote tree, which also adds originality to American-style Muenster. Besides the characteristic orange-red color, annatto also contributes a peppery, nutty, gently sweet flavor to Muenster cheese.
Muenster Cheese Pairings
Muenster pairs well with dry to sweet white wines (grüner veltliner, riesling, chardonnay, pinot grigio/pinot) and a variety of reds (zinfandel, merlot, beaujolais, pinot noir).
For beers, Belgian ales, brown and pale ales, lagers (including pilsners), and dark porters and stouts all go well with Muenster. It is also a great pairing to beef, poultry, and fruits like apples, dried fruits, grapes, pears.
Where Can I Buy Muenster Cheese?
As a hugely accessible cheese, you can find Muenster cheese sliced in the grocery store’s refrigerated section, and it is also available in any deli.
Famous Muenster Cheese Brands
Muenster is one of the most competitive categories in the American cheese industry. There are some recognized champions of the style, Decatur Dairy’s award-winning Red Rind Wisconsin Muenster stands out. In store-bought packaged Muenster, Sargento ranks highly among deli-counter Muenster brands, and Alp & Dell comes strongly recommended.
How Long Can Muenster Cheese Last?
To maximize your Muenster cheese’s shelf life, leave the package unopened until you are ready to use it since a block of unsliced cheese may achieve a longer shelf life. And Muenster cheese that sliced can last for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
How To Tell If Muenster Cheese Is Bad?
When your Muenster cheese has been purchased long ago or not been stored correctly, it’s gone wrong. You can tell if the cheese is bad by looking, smelling, tasting, namely:
Most of the time, you can tell if Muenster cheese is wrong just by looking at it. The Muenster cheese truly is terrible when there are many molds underneath, or the packaging is bloated, oily, slimy as these indicate it has gotten old. In addition to looking for decay and checking the packaging, if you see the Muenster’s texture and color are different than they used to be, then perhaps you can’t eat that cheese.
However, it should be noted that when your Muenster has a bit of mold, that doesn’t mean the cheese is terrible because the cheese will grow mold eventually, and this is natural. Cut around ¼ inch off the side of the cheese with the mold if you see a bit of surface mold.
When buying the cheese, you should smell the cheese right away to have a comparison later easily. The smell of bad Muenster cheese can be like spoiled milk, ammonia, or the smell of a freezer and refrigerator.
So you still aren’t sure if your Muenster cheese is terrible even after looking and smelling? Then give it a little nibble, and of course, you want to eat the minimum amount necessary to get the flavor and see whether it tastes like it usually does. Toss the cheese out if it has tastes sour or has a bad aftertaste. And it’s ok if you taste a little bit of lousy cheese, so don’t worry.
Must-Try Muenster Cheese Recipes
Creamy, soft, with a delicate flavor, muenster cheese is an excellent choice for many dishes. Try these recipes and let muenster shine in macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more.
Grilled Muenster Cheese Sandwiches
A hot, melty grilled cheese sandwich is perfect for lunch and great for even the pickiest of eaters. Every cheese is excellent for grilled cheese sandwiches, but if you’re a Muenster cheese lover, then this recipe is right for you.
- 4 ounces Muenster cheese
- 4 slices white bread
- Two tablespoons shredded cheddar (optional)
- One tablespoon butter softened
Step 1: Preheat a small skillet over low heat.
Step 2: Butter the outsides of sandwiches and place butter side down in the skillet.
Step 3: Top with Muenster cheese slices, black pepper to taste. Top with remaining slice of bread, butter side out.
Step 4: Grill until golden, about 4-5 minutes, then flip and grill the other side until golden.
Optional: I recommend adding the shredded cheddar directly to the outside of the sandwich and grilling an additional minute or so until it gets crispy and cheese is melted. Serve it immediately.
Muenster Mac And Cheese
- 8 oz muenster cheese shredded
- 1 pound pasta
- 4 oz cream cheese room temp
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Dash of paprika
- Dash of pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon self-rising flour
- 1 Tablespoon self-rising flour
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 cup whole milk
Step 1: Boil pasta according to the instructions on the package.
Step 2: Put a large pan on the stove and put one tablespoon of butter in it. When the butter is melted, add one tablespoon of flour and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add milk and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Step 4: Boil, then reduce heat to low and add Muenster cheese and the cream cheese.
Step 5: Stir the mixture until melted, then add ½ teaspoon salt, dry mustard, and pepper.
Step 6: When the pasta is cooked, drain it. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well combined.
Step 7: Sprinkle paprika and panko on the top. Cook it at 350°F until the panko is toasted.
Oven-Baked Muenster Chicken With Tomato Sauce
These oven-baked chicken breasts are dredged in bread crumbs, covered with marinara sauce, creamy Muenster cheese, and infused with a subtle hint of white wine.
- 6–8 slices of Muenster cheese
- 3–4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 c. dry white wine
- Plain or seasoned bread crumbs
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Wash and pat chicken breasts dry, then salt and pepper chicken.
Step 3: Dredge both sides of the chicken in bread crumbs, then place in greased, foil-lined pan.
Step 4: Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the chicken from the oven. Pour wine into the bottom of the baking pan.
Step 6: Pour marinara sauce over the chicken breasts and cover each cutlet with two slices of muenster cheese.
Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese has melted.
Ham & Muenster Cheese Croissants
It’s great to make something delicious but quick for snack time. These croissants are perfect for making when you don’t have a lot of “hands-on” time, and they are appealing to both children and adults.
- One package sliced muenster cheese
- One package sliced deli ham
- One can crescent rolls
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°.
Step 2: Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, place parchment paper on the baking sheet so that it’s less clean up when cheese oozes out of the croissants while they bake.
Step 3: Roll out crescent rolls and pull apart triangles, tuck a half slice of muenster cheese inside one slice of ham, remember to fold sides of ham to keep cheese in.
Step 4: Roll the croissants up, starting at the wide end of the triangle. Roll croissant ending at the tip of the triangle.
Step 5: Bake for 16 minutes or until the croissants are flaky and the crust is a beautiful brown color.
These croissants are ready to eat just minutes after coming out of the oven. I recommend serving this snack with a cold glass of milk. It’s worth a try!
Muenster Cheese Dipping Sauce
- 20 slices Muenster Cheese
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon acceptable salt
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
- 1 cup lager
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
Step 1: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then add minced garlic and sliced green onion. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time with a spatula.
Step 2: Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the flour mix is lightly browned, then reduce heat slightly.
Step 3: Whisk in half of the milk (about 1/4 cup) and cook until slightly thickened.
Step 4: Put black pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, ground mustard powder in. Whisk it well. Cook until you get a creamy sauce – about 1-3 minutes.
Serve this Muenster cheese sauce immediately with nachos, sliced vegetables, sausage, pretzel bites, or toasted rye bread triangles.
Muenster Cheese Soufflé
- 100g Muenster cheese
- Four eggs
- 300ml milk
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 50g plain flour
- 25g breadcrumbs
- 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
Step 1: Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place a baking sheet on the middle shelf. Butter a 15cm soufflé dish generously. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs in. Remember to rotate the dish for the butter is evenly coated.
Step 2: Melt the butter In a pan over medium heat. Put in the flour and mustard, stir it well for about 1 min.
Step 3: Take off the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Mix it thoroughly before adding more, then return to the heat and stir continuously until very thick. It takes about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Pour the mixture into a bowl. When the sauce is cool, separate your eggs and stir in the yolks. Put Muenster cheese in the sauce and season it to your taste.
Step 5: Place the egg whites in an electric mixer with some salt and whisk until it forms stiff peaks (but not too dry), then take a metal spoon and gently stir the whipped whites into the white sauce.
Step 6: Spoon the mixture into the prepared soufflé dishes. To make the soufflé rises above the rim and doesn’t stick, you can create a ‘top hat’ effect by running a cutlery knife around the edge.
Step 7: Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden, and remember not to open the door until you are ready to take them out. Serve immediately.
Muenster Cheese Spread
- 8 ounces Muenster cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- One package (8 ounces) Crystal Farms Original Cream Cheese, softened
- Assorted crackers or cocktail rye bread
- Four bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- Hot pepper sauce to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- One tablespoon horseradish
- One tablespoon minced fresh chives
Step 1: Put the muenster cheese, cream cheese, hot pepper sauce, garlic powder, and chives into the bowl. Beat the mixture until blended, then add bacon and beat just until the mixture is combined.
Step 2: To let the flavors blend more, cover the mixture and refrigerate it for at least 45 minutes. It can be served with rye bread or crackers.
Muenster Cheese Substitutes
Since the harmony is neither too strong nor too light, Muenster cheese can be substituted by other types of cheese. The cheeses below can not taste precisely the same, but they can help when you run out of Muenster cheese.
Cheddar: Cheddar is hard, smooth-slicing, and melts well. But it is better known for its flavor, ranging from mild to very sharp. Mild cheddar is more comparable to the taste of Muenster. But as opposed to on the rind only, in the case of Muenster, annatto confers orange coloring throughout the whole cheddar cheese paste.
Colby Jack: Colby is a semi-hard cheese that melts well and slices without resistance. It has a less aggressive flavor than Jack or Cheddar. Its orange is also made by annatto throughout the whole paste-like cheddar.
Monterey Jack: This cheese is an excellent stand-in for Muenster in most recipes since it is sharp, semi-soft, and quickly melted and sliced. However, Monterey Jack tends to slightly more robust than Muenster.
I collected some frequently asked questions about Muenster cheese. I hope my answers help!
A Cheese That Everyone Will Love
Muenster cheese is mild, mellow, melts like a champ. Whether you want to serve it chilled or melted, there are uncountable muenster Cheese recipes you can try out. For cheese lovers, muenster cheese can never go wrong.
Thank you for reading my post. Hope it brought you a comprehensive guide about Muenster cheese. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I hope you will share this post with your family and friends. I appreciate it.