Secret Life of Cheese think that piece of Humboldt Fog in the refrigerator is getting old? Think again my friend.

Soft ripened cheeses have a secret just below the surface where the cheese continues to ripen over time. The layer between the rind and the curd - called the “proteolysis” - thickens as the cheese ages, transforming the flavor and texture of the cheese through various stages of maturity. Learn more below...


Young Humboldt Fog

Keep an eye on the creamy ridge just under the rind...that’s the proteolysis. As soft-ripened or “bloomy rind” cheeses mature, the proteolysis gets wider and more gooey.

  • Flavor: Fresh cream with a crisp citrus tang
  • Aroma: Buttermilk and fresh cream
  • Visual Cues: Bloom and rind are very white, proteolysis up to a quarter inch thick, cheese texture is firm and moist


Ripe Humboldt Fog

As the proteolysis widens and becomes more luscious, a process known as lipolysis simultaneously occurs. Lipolysis is responsible for aroma and flavor.

  • Flavor: Tangy, hints of floral and herb
  • Aroma: Buttermilk and floral
  • Visual Cues: Slight darkening of the rind, proteolysis is up to one-half inch thick, and cheese texture is slightly drier and somewhat flaky


Mature Humboldt Fog

Proteolysis and lipolysis have taken over...look at all that ooey-gooey goodness!

  • Flavor: Tart tone with pronounced herbaceous and earthy notes
  • Aroma: Hints of ammonia until aired out, then strong herb and rind fragrances
  • Visual Cues: Marbled rind, proteolysis, up to an inch thick, cheese texture is more dry and dense

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The enzymatic process that breaks down proteins and creates the creamy ridge just under the rind.


The natural breakdown of fats resulting in distinct aromas and flavors.


The fluffy, white surface that surrounds the rind of soft-ripened cheeses.