Brined cheese, also sometimes referred to as pickled cheese for some varieties, is cheese that is matured in a solution of brine in an airtight or semi-permeable container. This process gives the cheese good stability, inhibiting bacterial growth even in warmer climates. Brined cheeses may be soft or hard, varying in moisture content, and in colour and flavour, according to the type of milk used; though all will be rindless, and generally taste clean, salty and acidic when fresh, developing some piquancy when aged, and most will be white.
Washed-rind cheeses are periodically cured in a solution of saltwater brine and/or mold-bearing agents that may include beer, wine, brandy, and spices, making their surfaces amenable to a class of bacteria Brevibacterium linens (the reddish-orange "smear bacteria") that impart pungent odours and distinctive flavours, and produce a firm, flavourful rind around the cheese.
Many varieties of brined cheeses are produced. Varieties of brined cheese include feta, halloumi, sirene and telemea, a variant of brinza. Brined cheese is the main type of cheese produced and eaten in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas.
Additional brined cheeses include: