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I grew up with the minhag that after "hard cheese", one must wait for 15 minutes before one may eat meat. However, the question often arises as to what qualifies as such in terms of halacha and minhag, particularly last night, when we were debating whether to have a milchig dessert before dinner.

In short, what is the halachic qualification for hard cheese?

Related and possible dupe: Dairy that you have to wait 6 hours after eating it

marked as duplicate by DanF, Isaac Moses, msh210 Jan 19 '15 at 7:29

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  • I read a book about kashrus once that defined hard cheese as any kind of cheese that a normal person would have to grate in order to eat it uncooked. Unfortunately, after looking for the book, I could not find it. I'll continue to search. – Daniel Jan 18 '15 at 0:11
  • How is this not a dupe? – Double AA Jan 18 '15 at 20:07
  • @DanF, I noted that this was a possible dupe in the OP – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 18 '15 at 21:47
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There is quite some controversy among contemporary Rabbis as to what constitutes hard cheese nowadays. Dose of Halacha has an extensive article discussing the various opinions and halachos:

Exactly what constitutes ‘hard cheese’ is a matter of much debate. Fatty, greasy cheese and cheese that has developed holes would both qualify as ‘hard’ (See Taz and Aruch HaShulchan YD 89:11). The Shach (YD 89:15) writes that cheese that has aged for 6 months, such as ‘swiss cheese’ (Taz 89:4) generally qualifies as hard cheese. While some measure the 6 months from the time of production, R’ Yisroel Belsky maintains that the cheese only matures while in the factory, before it is packaged. Mild cheddar is typically a couple of months old, though mature cheddar is often older than 6 months.

R’ Aharon Kotler held (Ohr Yisroel 6:p89) that only cheese which needs a sharp grater to cut up is considered ‘hard.’ Following this, R’ Moshe Heinemann classes parmesan cheese as one of the few ‘hard cheeses’. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Mishneh Halachos 16:9) and the Chazon Ish (Maaseh Ish 5:p22) likewise, held rather leniently.

The Yad Yehuda (89:26) writes that if hard cheese is used in baking, it loses its ‘hard cheese’ status when it melts. R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Kovetz Teshuvos 1:582) disagrees, however, as melting the cheese doesn’t change its taste.

  • RE the Sha"ch: wouldn't certain soft cheeses (such as Pont l'Évèque or fromages-faits) be considered hard then? – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 18 '15 at 2:04
  • according to the Shach, yes, though halacha lemaaseh, many would be lenient. – Zvi Jan 18 '15 at 8:52

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