Why are different types of cheeses cut into different shapes? i.e. provolone is always circular

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Why are different types of cheeses cut into different shapes? i.e. provolone is always circular

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The shape of cheese comes from its design. Before molds Cheese that is a disc is more structurally sound so as the cheese hardens it is held together, cheese in the shape of a disc also makes the salt content even and the mold that grows to evenly distribute. When making large quantities of cheese before modern machinery the wheel shape also helped to move large quantities of cheese by rolling them. All these together have given cheeses their traditional shape based upon the specific cheese. Today though it’s mostly just tradition as we have ways of combating all the above circumstances.

It depends on the size of the cheese wheel: If it’s a small one, you can buy it whole and get a round cheese. If it’s very big, it gets cut into slices or blocks, for example, and you can buy a small part of that big cheese wheel.

My personal observation is that size correlates with age and cheapness, so an expensive young cheese tends to be sold whole while cheap old cheese is sold in smaller parts.

There are different methods curing cheese to get different flavors, some are hand formed and uncured, snd then sold whole (fresh mozzarella), some are molded in a large wooden mold and then unmolded, stacked and aged, then cut into wedges for sale (Cheddar or Parmesan), some are kneaded, hand formed into sausage or ball shapes, tied with string and hung up to cure or be smoked (provolone.)

>Why are different types of cheeses cut into different shapes? i.e. provolone is always circular.

Tradition. Marketing. Consumer expectations.

In days gone by the shape of the cheese depended on the aging process used by the manufacturer and what containers they had on hand. In modern times, the chemistry of the aging process is better understood and controlled, and the shape of the aging container is now irrelevant.

However, people have been buying cheese in wheels and rounds for so long, that when manufacturers try to sell a different shape, they make less money.