An important process during cheese production is the ripening of the curd. This may range from some days to weeks, as is standard for the soft cheeses, or may require several months in the case of semi-hard or hard cheeses.
The consistency and the climate inside the ripening rooms are especially essential for the development of the taste. Normally, the temperatures are adjusted between 8 and 16 degrees Celsius and the air moisture between 75 and 98 %.
The ripening of the cheese is a result of a transformation process of the components inside the cheese like residual sugar, protein and fat. During cheese production, this is activated by enzymes which are either specifically added to the milk in the form of starter cultures or which are present in the local air or the brine bath.
Working on the cheese in the ripening rooms is mostly limited to rind or surface treatment and to steering the specific climatic values (temperature and relative moisture). At the end of the ripening process, each cheese has reached its typical character which is determined by special attributes like appearance, aroma, taste, texture and salubriousness.