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Categorization of cheese
• • • • • •
Aging Texture Process and methods of making Fat content Kind of milk Region and country
fresh cheeses o Cottage Cheese o Cream Cheese o Mascarpone o Mozzarella o Ricotta o Romanian Caş o Neufchatel (the model for American-style cream cheese) o Chevre o Whey o Provencal Brousse o Corsican Brocciu o Romanian Urda o Greek Mizithra o Norwegian Geitost o Corsican cuisine o Paneer o Queso Fresco aged cheeses
Usually aged cheeses or ripened cheeses are further classified according to texture
• • • • • • • • • •
Hard cheeses Semi firm cheeses Semi soft cheeses Soft-ripened of mold Washing Processed cheese Blue-veined cheese Painstaking Pasta filata
• • •
reduced-fat fat-free cheeses Imitation cheese
Kind of milk
• • •
goat milk cow milk ewe milk
Region and country
• • • • • •
Africa Asia North America Central America South America Europe o Italian cheese o French cheese o Spanish cheese o USA cheese
Australia and South Pacific
HOW TO MAKE CHEESE?
IT'S EASY …..
The basic principle involved in making all natural cheese is to coagulate or curdle the milk so that it forms into curds and whey. As anyone knows who has left milk unrefrigerated for a period, milk will curdle quite naturally. The milk sours and forms into an acid curd. . Today's methods help the curdling process by the addition of a starter (a bacterial culture which produces lactic acid) and rennet the coagulating enzyme which speeds the separation of liquids (whey) and solids (curds). There are two basic categories of starter cultures. Hemophilic starter cultures have microbes that can not survive at high temperatures and thrive at room temperatures. Examples of cheeses made with these bacteria are Cheddar and Gouda. Hemophilic starter cultures are heat-loving bacteria. They are used when the curd is cooked to as high as 132oF. Examples of cheeses made from these bacteria are Swiss and Italian cheeses. . The least sophisticated cheeses are the fresh, unripe Ned varieties typified by Cottage Cheese. These are made by warming the milk and letting it stand, treating it with a lactic starter to help the acid development and then cutting and draining the whey from the cheese. The cheese can then be salted and eaten fresh. This is the simplest, most basic form of cheese.
Generally, cheese making starts with acidification. This is the lowering of the pH (increasing acid content) of the milk, making it more acidic. Classically, this process is performed by bacteria. Bacteria feed on the lactose in milk and produce lactic acid as a waste product. With time, increasing amounts of lactic acid lower the pH of the milk. Acid is essential to the production of good cheese. However, if there is too much acid in the milk the cheese will be crumbly. If not enough acid is present the curd will be pasty.
After acidification, coagulation begins. Coagulation is converting milk into curds and whey. As the pH of the milk changes, the structural nature of the casein proteins changes, leading to curd formation. Essentially, the casein proteins in the milk form a curd that entraps fat and water. Although acid alone is capable of causing coagulation, the most common method is enzyme coagulation. The physical properties of enzyme-coagulated milk are better than that coagulated purely with acid. Curds produced by enzyme coagulation achieve lower moisture content without excessive hardening. . Enzymes used to coagulate milk come from a number of sources: animals, plants, and fungi. The traditional source of enzyme is rennet. Rennet is a preparation made from the lining of the fourth stomach of calves. The most important enzyme in rennet is chymosin. Today, most chymosin is a recombinant product made possible by genetic engineering. Until 1990, the only source of rennin was calves. Around 1990, scientists created a system to make chymosin that doesn't require calves. Using genetic engineering, the gene for chymosin was cut from a calf cell and inserted into the genomes of bacteria and yeast. The microbes make an exact copy of the calf chymosin. Microbes replicate and
grow rapidly, and can be grown continuously. Thus, the supply of rennet is assured. Approximately 70% of the cheese made in the U.S. is coagulated using chymosin. The chymosin made by the yeast cells is the same as that made by the calf cells. .
Cutting and Pressing the Curd
After the coagulation sets the curd, the curd is cut. This step is usually accompanied with heating the curd. Cutting the curd allows whey to escape, while heating increases the rate at which the curd contracts and squeezes out the whey. The purpose of this stage of the process is to make a hard curd. The term hard curd is relative; the cheese at this stage is still quite pliable. The main difference between a soft curd and a hard curd is the amount of water remaining in the curd. Hard curds have very little water left in them. .. Once the curds have sufficiently hardened, salting and shaping begins. In this part of the process, salt is added to the cheese. Salt is added for flavor and to inhibit the growth of undesirable microbes. Large curds are formed as smaller curds are pressed together. This will often involve the use of a cheese press.
The shaped cheese is allowed to ripen or age for various periods of time. During this time, bacteria continue to grow in the cheese and change its chemical composition, resulting in flavor and texture changes in the cheese. The type of bacteria active at this stage in the cheese making process and the length of time the cheese is aged determine the type and quality of cheese being made. . Sometimes an additional microbe is added to a cheese. Blue veined cheeses are inoculated with a Penicillium spore which creates their aroma, flavor and bluish or greenish veining. Such cheeses are internally moulded and ripen from the inside out. On the other hand, cheeses such as Camembert and Brie have their surfaces treated with a different type of Penicillium spore which creates a downy white mould (known as a bloomy or flowery rind): this makes them surface ripened cheeses. . Many surface ripened cheeses have their surfaces smeared with a bacterial broth. With others the bacteria is in the atmosphere of the curing chambers. These cheeses are called washed rind varieties as they must be washed regularly during their ripening period (longer than for Camembert or Brie) to prevent their interiors drying out. The washings also help promote an even bacterial growth across the surfaces of the cheeses. As this washing can be done with liquids as diverse as salt water and brandy, it also plays a part in the final flavor of the cheese.
The rinds of the cheeses are formed during the ripening process, many quite naturally. Some are created artificially. Rinds may be brushed, washed, oiled, treated with a covering of paraffin wax or simply not touched at all. Traditional Cheddars are wrapped around with a cotton bandage. The rind's basic function is to protect the interior of the cheese and allow it to ripen harmoniously. Its presence thus affects the final flavor of the cheese. Salting plays an important role in rind formation. Heavily salted cheeses develop a thick, tough outer rind, typified by the Swiss range of cheeses. Cheddar, another natural rind cheese, is less salted than the Swiss varieties, and consequently has a much thinner rind. I hope this introduction to principles of cheese making has been interesting and informative. As you begin to make home made cheese, I would advise to start with the simple quick cheese recipes. Then, move on to the soft cheeses and finally the hard cheeses. You'll find that you learn more about the process every time you try a recipe. Your final cheese is effected by many factors. I would advise using a log book in which you can record such factors as starter type and amount, inoculation time, temperature, etc. Each recipe will have different factors you'll need to look at. The use of a log book will help you reproduce your outstanding cheeses on command, while avoiding the many pitfalls that can ruin your hard
Cheese making Basics
All cheese starts with milk. In the United States, most cheese is made with pasteurized milk. Some cheese connoisseurs argue that raw-milk cheese tastes better, and some small dairies produce raw-milk cheese (although to be legal in the United States, the cheese has to be aged for 60 days). But in addition to being considered safer, using pasteurized milk to make cheese is also easier because its behavior is predictable.
© Photographer: Fotomy | Agency: Dreamtime
Milk is separated into curds and whey.
Large cheese makers get their milk in tanker trucks, which have to be spotlessly clean and keep the milk at about 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 degrees Celsius). Small dairies may use milk from their own herds. Once the milk is collected, it is put into a huge container and warmed. First, the milk must separate into curds (solid) and whey (liquid). To start this process, the lactose, or milk sugar, needs to become lactic acid. After warming the milk, cheese makers add a starter culture that contains one or more types of bacteria, including Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus helveticus. These bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria (LAB) because they produce lactic acid as they metabolize. The specific mix of bacteria depends on the type of cheese being produced.
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Once the acidity level in the milk rises, the casein (one of the proteins in milk; whey is the other) can curdle. This requires the addition of rennet, which is a group of enzymes extracted from the stomach lining of a young cow, sheep or goat. In the stomach, rennet allows the animal to digest its mother's milk. When added to milk, it makes the casein turn into curds. After settling for up to two hours, the curdled milk has the appearance and texture of custard or pudding. The temperature of the cheese at this point depends on the type of cheese being made. Generally, higher temperatures produce firmer cheeses. Next, the curd is cut using a tool called a harp, which releases the whey. The size of the curds will determine the type of cheese -- soft cheeses come from large curds, while harder ones come from very fine curd. The whey is drained and used as an additive in processed foods and in animal feed. The next steps in the cheese making process depend on the type of cheese. We'll look at the possibilities in the next section.
TYPES OF CHEESE……..
THE 7 TYPES OF CHEESE
Unlike wine or animals, the character of cheeses can be judged by a glance at their rind. From just a brief encounter you can gauge its texture, taste, and strength of flavour and, with a little experience, even the stage of maturity. Using the 'rind' method, you can categories 90% of all cheeses into one of the following types.
FRESH CHEESES - [No rind]
Only 1-15 days old when eaten they have no time to develop a rind and only a subtle 'lactic', fermenting fruit flavour with a hint of the green pastures. They can be smooth and creamy, mousse-like or crumbly like Feta. Some are wrapped in chestnut leaves, rolled in ash or covered in herbs. Examples: Banon, Ricotta, Feta, Cottage cheese, Cream cheese
NATURAL RIND - [Wrinkled rind, bluish grey mould]
• Nearly always goat, they are chalky and moist when young, with a lemony fresh tang. Gradually they develop a delicate bluish grey mould and dry out; producing a wrinkled rind which becomes more pronounced with age and the flavour is more nutty with a more distinct goaty taste. Examples: Sancerre, Chabichou, Crottin de Chavignol
SOFT WHITE CHEESE - [White Fuzzy Rind]
The curd retains much of the whey, ensuring the cheese becomes wonderfully soft, almost runny and grows a fuzzy white rind of
Penicillin candidum. The best taste of mushrooms sometimes with a hint of sherry! Unpasteurised examples develop a reddish-brown ferment on the rind whereas pasteurized versions have a pure white appearance. Examples: Camembert, Brie, Chevre Log
SEMI-SOFT - [Brownish orange to thick grayish brown]
There are two styles of semi-soft cheese. The first are those with supple, elastic, sometimes rubbery, texture and sweet, buttery to savory or even meaty in taste. These may have a barely formed rind like Edam or be encouraged to develop a thick, leathery rind encrusted with grayish mould. Examples: Edam, Pont Lévesque, St Nectaire, Tomme de Savoie The other style, known as washed-rind cheese, are rubbed or 'washed' in strong brine to maintain their internal moisture and attract special bacteria that create the characteristic orange sticky rind, strong, piquant flavour and aroma. The texture ranges from slightly chalky when young to rich, smooth and voluptuous when fully mature. Examples: Langres, Carre de L'Est, Epoisses
HARD CHEESES - [Thick, dense rind often waxed or oiled]
The curd is cut finely then heated in large vats before the whey is drained off. The curd is cut again or even 'milled' before being salted, packed in moulds and firmly pressed. Some cheeses are bathed in brine to seal and protect the cheeses from drying out in the curing cellars. Examples: Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gruyere, Manchego
BLUE CHEESES - [Gritty, rough, dry or sticky variable in co lour]
The blue moulds, like Penicillin Roquefort, need oxygen to develop their co lour. This is achieved by piercing the young cheese with rods [normally steel]; the blue then grows along the tunnel, cracks and trails between the roughly packed curd. Examples: Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Maytag Blue, Cashel Blue
FLAVOURED CHEESES - [From barely formed to hard and crusty]
They are a rapidly growing area of the market and offer an alternative to those who like dessert rather than cheese or who are not sure they like cheese. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous and are hard or semi-soft cheeses with added flavorings - nuts, fruit, spices, herbs even salmon or ham! Examples: Cornish Yarg, Gouda with Cumin, Stilton with Apricots, Devon Garland.
For more details you could purchase a copy of CHEESE, a magnificent book by Juliet Harbutt that reveals chapter by chapter each of the different types with delicious examples from around the world.
Country of origin Region, town
England Somerset, Cheddar
Cows, rarely Goats Cheddar cheese is a Source of milk fairly hard, pale Pasteurized Frequently yellow to orange, Texture hard/semi-hard sharp-tasting cheese originally (and still) Aging time 3-30 months depending on variety made in the English West Country farmhouse Cheddar Only: Certification village of Cheddar, PDO in Somerset. Cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese in the United Kingdom, accounting for just over 50% of the country's £1.9 billion annual cheese market. Although Cheddar cheese is originally English, it is also widely produced in other countries, including Ireland, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
Cheddar cheese has been made since at least 1170. A pipe roll of King Henry II from that year records the purchase of 10,420 lb at a farthing per pound (£3 per tones). Central to the modernizations and standardization of Cheddar cheese was Joseph Harding in the nineteenth century. For his development and propagation of modern cheese-making techniques he has been described as the father of Cheddar cheese. Harding was the inventor of the Cheese Mill. He was responsible for the
introduction of this very English cheese into Scotland and North America. Joseph Harding's son, Henry Harding, was responsible for introducing Cheddar cheese production to Australia.
Cheddaring refers to an additional step in the production of Cheddar-style cheese where, after heating, the curd is kneaded with salt, then is cut into cubes to drain the whey, then stacked and turned. Strong, extra-mature Cheddar, sometimes called vintage, needs to be matured for up to 15 months. The cheese is kept at a constant temperature often requiring special facilities. As with cheese production in other European countries, caves provide an ideal environment for maturing cheese; still, today, some Cheddar cheese produced in the UK is matured in the caves at Woo key Hole and the caves in Cheddar Gorge. Vegetarian Cheddar is made with rennet, which is used to coagulate the milk into separate curds and whey that is not sourced from the stomachs of dead calves.
International production and taste
Cheddar cheese is produced in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia (where it is usually called tasty cheese), Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Much of this cheese is mass-produced and quality varies enormously. The strong flavour develops over time, with a taste diverse enough that food packaging will usually indicate a strength using adjectives such as mild, medium, strong, tasty, sharp, mature, or vintage, and may also indicate the maturation period.
Country of origin Region, town Source of milk Pasteurized Texture Small, spherical Edam cheese (queso de bola) with cheese-sliced. Aging time Certification The Netherlands Edam-Vole dam, Edam Cows Yes Semi-hard up to 10 months No
Edam (Dutch Edammer) is a Dutch cheese that is traditionally sold as spheres with pale yellow interior and a coat of paraffin. Its Spanish name is queso de bola, literally "ball cheese." It is named after the town of Edam in the province of North Holland, where the cheese is coated for export and for tourist high season. Edam which has aged for at least 17 weeks is coated with black wax, rather than the usual red or yellow. Edam ages well, travels well, and does not spoil easily — this made it the world's most popular cheese in the 14th through 18th centuries, both at sea and in remote colonies. It is popular in North America, the Nordic countries, and many other countries around the world. Edam cheese has a very mild taste, slightly salty or nutty and almost no smell when compared to other cheeses. It also has a significantly lower fat content than many other traditional cheeses being approximately 28 percent with an average protein content of 25 percent. Modern Edam is quite soft compared to other cheeses, such as Cheddar, due to its low fat content. A major producer is the Fries land Foods company in The Netherlands. In the U.S., the May-bud brand is sold by the Churny Company, a subsidiary of Kraft Foods. Mild Edam is considered compatible with fruit such as peaches, melons, apricots, and cherries. Aged Edammer is often eaten with traditional "cheese fruits" like pears and apples. Like most cheeses, it is commonly eaten on crackers and bread. Pinot noir is a recommended wine to accompany this cheese. Together with bibingka and jam on it is one of the foods that complete the traditional Filipino Christmas dinner table. It is also typical in Spain and Latin American countries where it is considered a delicacy.
Edam cheese has been mentioned in books, films, and on television. In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, the main character believes that its red outer covering is a sign of impending death. It is a wine flavor nuance in Sideways; an object of desire in the animated film Shopper 13; and Wallace's book East of Edam in Curse of the WereRabbit. Edam is featured in a dramatic scene in the Australian film Three Dollars, and actor Jason Flemyng advertised for Edam cheese in the UK. Also, in English language, due to its name; a joke exists that is the only cheese "that is made backwards
Halloumi (Greek: χαλλούμι, Turkish: Helium) is a cheese indigenous to Cyprus. It is traditionally made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, although some halloumi can be bought that also contains cows' milk. Industrial halloumi contains more cows milk than goat and sheep milk. This reduces the cost but changes the taste and the grilling properties.
Country of origin Region, town
Cyprus island wide
Source of milk Goats or Sheep The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella, Traditionally no, Pasteurized and has a salty flavor. It is stored in its but commercially yes natural juices with salt-water, and can Texture semi-soft keep for up to a year if frozen below −18 °C (0 °F) and defrosted to +4 °C Aging time Not aged (39 °F) for sale at supermarkets. It is Certification No often garnished with mint. The mint adds to the taste while some claim that it has natural anti-bacterial action that was traditionally helpful to increase the life of the cheese.
Fresh sliced halloumi It is used in cooking, as it can be fried until brown without melting due to its higherthan-normal melting point, making it an excellent cheese for frying or grilling (such as in saganaki), as an ingredient in salads, or simply fried and served with vegetables. The resistance to melting comes from the fresh curd being heated before being shaped and placed in brine. Traditional halloumi is a semi-circle shape, about the size of a large wallet, weighing 220-270 g. The fat content is approximately 25% wet weight, 47% dry weight with about 17% protein. Its firm texture when cooked causes it to squeak on the teeth when being consumed. Cypriots like eating halloumi with watermelon in the warm months. No Cypriot meze menu would be complete without halloumi and lounza. This dish is simply a combination of halloumi cheese and either a slice of smoked pork, or a soft lamb sausage (opinion appears to differ on which is the true lounza) simply layered one on top of the other and then grilled. Halloumi is also often used in bacon sandwiches, but also makes a satisfying dish on its own or with salad.
Currently Halloumi is registered as a protected Cypriot product within the US (since the 1990s) but not the EU. The delay in registering the name halloumi with the EU has been largely due to a conflict between dairy producers and sheep and goat farmers as to whether registered halloumi will contain cow’s milk or not and if so, at what ratios with sheep and goat’s milk. If it is registered as a PDO (Protected designation of origin) it will enjoy the same safeguard as 600 or so other agricultural products such as feta and parmesan cheese. Halloumi is also registered in Canada as "Hallomi" without the "U" due to a dispute with a dairy producer in Canada.[citation
Soft Ricotta on spoon
A piece of Ricotta al for no cheese Ricotta (pronounced /riˈkɔtːa/ in Italian) is a dairy product of Italian origin, often (but technically incorrectly) referred to as cheese . Ricotta, which means "precooked" in Italian, was created as a way to utilize whey, a limpid, low-fat, nutritious liquid that is a by-product of cheese production. After realizing that whey cannot be safely dumped as it creates an environmental hazard, Romano makers discovered that when the protein-rich substance is heated, casein particles fuse and create a curd. This curd, after drainage, is ricotta. Because Ricotta is made from whey, rather than milk, it cannot be technically considered cheese , even if it is usually referred to as one. In its basic form, ricotta is uncooked and unripe Ned curd, which is undrained of its whey. It is fresh (as opposed to ripened or aged), grainy and creamy white in appearance, slightly sweet in taste, and contains around 5% fat. In this form, it is somewhat similar in texture to some cottage cheese variants, though considerably lighter. Like many fresh cheeses, it is highly perishable. Ricotta comes in other forms as well, see variants below.
Whey from acid-set cheeses cannot produce ricotta, because all of the protein has curdled out in the original cheese. Whey contains little protein, since most of it was removed during the production of the original rennet-set cheese, from which the whey resulted. This makes Ricotta production a low yield process, considering the amount of whey required to produce it. The whey is heated, sometimes with additional acid like vinegar, to curdle out the remaining protein in the whey. The whey is heated to a near boiling temperature, much hotter than during the production of the original cheese, of which the whey is a remnant. This use for the whey has ancient origins and is referred to by Cato the Elder.
Common culinary uses
Like mascarpone in northern-Italian cuisine, ricotta is a favorite component of many Italian desserts, such as cheesecakes and cannoli. There are also kinds of cookies that include ricotta as an ingredient. In Italian households and dining establishments, ricotta is often beaten smooth and mixed with condiments, such as sugar, cinnamon and occasionally chocolate shavings, and served as a dessert. This basic combination (often with additions such as citrus and pistachios) also features prominently as the filling of the crunchy tubular shell of the Sicilian cannoli, and layered with slices of cake in Palermo's cassata. Ricotta is also used in dishes other than desserts. Most lasagna recipes, for instance, call for the use of ricotta. Combined with eggs and cooked grains, then baked firm, ricotta is also a main ingredient in Naples' pastier a, one of Italy's many "Easter pies" (). Regional variations may be sweet or savory.
While Italian Ricotta is typically made from the whey of sheep or water buffalo milk, the American product is almost always made of cow's milk whey. While both types are low in fat and sodium, the Italian version is nutty, slightly sweet and has dry texture, while the American is blander, sweeter, moister, and therefore more neutral in cooking . In addition to its fresh, soft form, ricotta is also sold in three preparations which ensure a longer shelf life: salted, baked and smoked. The pressed, salted and dried variety of the cheese is known as ricotta salata. A milky-white hard cheese used for grating or shaving, ricotta salata is sold in wheels, decorated by a delicate basketweave pattern. Ricotta infornata is produced by placing a large lump of soft ricotta in the oven until it develops a brown, lightly charred crust, sometimes even until it becomes sandy brown all the way through. Ricotta infornata is popular primarily in Sardinia and Sicily, and is sometimes called ricotta al forno.
Ricotta affumicata is similar to ricotta infornata. It is produced by placing a lump of soft ricotta in a smoker until it develops a grey crust and acquires a charred wood scent, usually of oak or chestnut wood, although in Friuli beech wood is used, with the addition of juniper and herbs. Ricotta sancta is the process of letting the ricotta go sour in a controlled manner, for about a week, then stirring it every 2-3 days, salting occasionally and allowing the liquid to flow away. After about 100 days the ricotta has the consistency of cream cheese with a distinct, pungent, piquant aroma, much like blue cheese but much richer. Ricotta sancta tastes as it smells, extremely aromatic and piquant with a definite bitter note. Tasted with the tip of the tongue, it has a "hot" sensation
Cabrales bleu Cheese Blue cheese, known in French as bleu ("blue"), is a general classification of cow's milk, sheep's milk, or goat's milk cheeses that has had Penicillium cultures added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue or blue-green mold. Some blue cheeses are injected with spores before the curds form and others have spores mixed in with the curds after they form. Blue cheeses are typically aged in a temperature-controlled environment such as a cave. Blue cheese also carries a distinct smell. Much like wines, many blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are a protected designation of origin in the European Union, meaning they can bear the name only if they have been made in a particular region in a certain country. Similarly, individual countries have protections of their own such as France's Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and Italy's Denominazione di Origine Protetta. The characteristic flavor of blue cheeses tends to be sharp and a bit salty. The smell of this food is widely considered to be pungent, even compared to other cheeses. They can be eaten by themselves or can be crumbled or melted over foods.
The unique flavor of blue cheese is typically appreciated alone (at room temperature) or served with fruit, crackers and wine. It has a flavour which varies from nutty to sour/tangy. Also:
As a condiment served with Buffalo Wings, although "blue cheese dressing" may contain no actual cheese. Crumbled into salad. As a dressing (again, actual cheese content is questionable, but there are several varieties of "chunky" dressing available) served with raw vegetables, specifically carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Crumbled (and/or melted) onto grilled beef steaks, specifically New York and Kansas City Strips. On hamburgers, especially covered with cajun seasoning to form the "Black and Blue" burger. Crumbled (and/or melted) onto grilled or roasted lamb, or melted into a sauce with juices from cooked lamb. It can be used to flavour a risotto or a polenta. Mixed with other famous Italian cheeses it forms the condiment for pasta Quattro formaggi.
Blue cheese is believed to have been discovered by accident. The caves that early cheeses were aged in shared the properties of being temperature and moisture controlled environments, as well as being favorable to many varieties of mold. Roquefort is said to have been invented in 1070 AD. Gorgonzola is one of the oldest known blue cheeses, having been created around 879 AD, though it is said that it did not actually contain blue-veins until around the 11th century. Stilton is a relatively cheeses that were prohibition new addition occurring sometime in the 18th century. Many varieties of blue cheese that originated subsequently were an attempt to fill the demand for Roquefort-style
Mental, Emmentaler, Emmenthal, or Emmenthaler is a Swiss cheese. It is sometimes known as Swiss cheese in North America, Australia and New Zealand, although Swiss cheese does not always imply Emmental.
Country of origin Region, town
Switzerland Berne, Emme
Source of milk Cows The cheese originally Pasteurized Traditionally, no comes from the Emme valley in the canton of Texture hard Bern. Unlike some other Aging time 2-14 months depending on variety cheese varieties, the denomination "Emmental" was not protected ("Emmentaler Switzerland" is, though). Hence, Emmental of other origin, especially from France and Bavaria, is widely available. Even Finland is an exporter of Emmental cheese. Emmental is a yellow, medium-hard cheese, with characteristic large holes. It has a piquant, but not really sharp taste. Three types of bacteria are used in the production of Emmental, Streptococcus thermophilis, Lactobacillus, and Propionibacter shermani. In the late stage of cheese production, P. shermani consumes the lactic acid excreted by the other bacteria, and releases carbon dioxide gas, which slowly forms the bubbles that make holes.
Emmentaler in Switzerland in the 21st century
Emmentaler Switzerland AOC is registered since 2006 as an AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée). This “original Emmentaler” has to be aged for a minimum of 4 months. It is produced in a round shape with a natural rind and aged in traditional cellars. The original Emmentaler exists with different age profiles, classic 4 month, reserve 8 month, Premier Cru 14 month. It is produced with raw cow milk adding only natural ingredients (water, salt, natural starters and rennet) preservatives or ingredients from GMO modified organism are not allowed. Emmental AOC is still produced in small rural dairies. Emmentaler Switzerland Premier Cru is a special Emmental aged for 14 month in humid caves. It was the first cheese from Switzerland to win the title World Champion at the
Wisconsin (USA) Cheese World Championships in 2006. It was nominated best cheese among over 1,700 competitors. For this achievement it has received a place in the Historic Museum in Bern Switzerland.
It features prominently in the cuisine of the United States where it is a standard cheese for use in the preparation of sandwiches, albeit often substituted by cheaper "Swiss cheese", a processed cheese that is flavored to mimic true Emmentaler. In cooking, it is often put on top of gratins, dishes which are then put in the oven to let the cheese melt and become golden-brown and crusty. It is also used for fondue.
Mascarpone Cream Mascarpone is a triple-cream cheese made from crème fraîche by denaturing with tartaric acid. Sometimes buttermilk is added as well, depending on the brand. After denaturation, whey is removed without pressing or aging. It is milky-white in color and is easily spread. When fresh, it smells like milk and cream. Mascarpone is frequently mispronounced "marscapone," even by food professionals.
One can manufacture mascarpone by using cream, tartaric or citric acid, or even lemon juice. Mascarpone is used in various dishes of the Lombardy region of Italy, where it is a specialty. It is a main ingredient of tiramisu. It is sometimes used instead of butter or Parmesan cheese to thicken and enrich risotti.
Mascarpone apparently originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, Italy, southwest of Milan, probably in the late 16th or early 17th century. The name is said to come from "mascarpa", a milk product made from the whey of stracchino (aged cheese), or from "mascarpia", the word in the local dialect for ricotta; (although it is not made by the same process and is not made from whey, as is ricotta). According to cuisine expert and journalist Gianni Brera, the correct name of the cheese should be mascherpone (also credited as a dismissed variant of the word), originally stemming from Cascina Mascherpa, a farmhouse no longer existing once located halfway between Milan and Pavia, belonging to the Mascherpa family.[citation
Country of origin Mascarpone has an extremely similar taste and quality to Iraqi Gaymer (sometimes spelled as "Geimer").[citation
France Seine-et-Marne Cows By law in the US and Australia, not in most of Europe
Region, town Source of milk Pasteurized Texture
Aging time generally one week or more Brie is a soft, cows' cheese named after Brie, the French AOC, 1980, province in which it for both Brie de Meaux Certification originated (roughly corresponding to the modern and Brie de Melun department of Seine-etMarne). It is pale in co lour with a slight grayish tinge under crusty white mould; very soft and savory with a hint of ammonia. The white mould rind is edible, and is not intended to be separated from the cheese during consumption.
The region in France that gave its name to this cheese (Brie) is, in the French language, feminine: La Brie, but French products take the gender of their general category; in this case cheese (Le fro mage) is masculine, and so Brie is also masculine, Le Brie. According to legend, during the 8th century, Charlemagne had his first taste of Brie cheese, and immediately fell in love with it.
Brie may be produced from whole or semi-skimmed milk. The curd is obtained by adding rennet to raw milk and heating it to a maximum temperature of 37 °C. The cheese is then cast into molds, sometimes with a traditional perforated ladle called a "pelle à brie". The 20 cm mold is filled with several thin layers of cheese and drained for approximately 18 hours. The cheese is then taken out of the molds, salted, inoculated with cheese mould (Penicillium candidum, Penicillium camembert and/or Brevibacterium linens) and aged in a cellar for at least four weeks. If left to mature for longer, typically several months to a year, the cheese becomes stronger in flavour, the pâté drier and darker, and the rind also darker and crumbly, and is called Brie Noir (Fr: Black Brie). Around the Île-de-France, where Brie is made, the people enjoy soaking this in their Café au lait and eating it for breakfast. Over-ripe brie contains an unpleasant, excessive amount of ammonia, which is produced by the same microorganisms required for ripening.
There are now many varieties of Brie made all over the world, including plain Brie, herbed varieties, double and triple Brie and versions of Brie made with other types of milk. Brie is perhaps the most well-known French cheese, and is popular throughout the world. Despite the variety of Bries, the French Atlantic government officially certifies only two types of Brie to be sold under that name: Brie de Meaux (shown to the right) and Brie de Melun. The Brie de Meaux, manufactured outside of Paris since the 8th century, was originally known as the "King's Cheese" (later, following the French Revolution, the "King of Cheeses") and was enjoyed by the peasantry and nobility alike. It was granted the protection of AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) status in 1980, and is produced primarily in the eastern part of the Parisian basin. Mozzarella is a generic term for the several kinds of, originally, Italian
Country of origin Region, town Source of milk Pasteurized Texture Aging time Certification
Italy Campania and elsewhere Cow or Water buffalo Yes and No Semi-soft None no, Stg and Dope 1996
fresh cheeses that are made using spinning and then cutting (hence the name; the Italian verb mozzare actually means "to cut"): mozzarella di latte di bufala made from unpasteurized water buffalo's milk; mozzarella di bufala campana made only from Campania's buffalo milk; mozzarella fior di latte made from fresh pasteurized or unpasteurized cow's milk; and mozzarella made from mixtures, sometimes smoked, and those stored in preservatives. Fresh mozzarella is white and usually served on the day it is made as it does not keep beyond 12 or 24 hours. Mozzarella of several kinds are also used for most types of pizza (more compact lower water content kinds), lasagna, or served with sliced tomatoes and basil in Insalata caprese.
The mozzarella di bufala campana (Dope 1996) is a particular type of mozzarella; some consider it the best for flavour or quality and it is protected by European DOP. It is a raw material in Italian styleNeapolitann Pizza - rather than mozzarella made with pasteurized cow's milk. Mozzarella is available fresh; it is usually rolled in the shape of a ball of 80 to 100 grams (6 cm diameter), sometimes up to 1 kilogram (about 12 cm diameter), and soaked in salted water, sometimes with added citric acid, until sold. Fior di latte (written also as fiordilatte) is used to distinguish the mozzarella made from cow's milk from that made from buffalo's milk. When slightly desiccated (partially dried), the structure becomes more compact; then it is better used to prepare dishes cooked in the oven, for example lasagna. When twisted to form a plait it is called treccia. It is also available in smoked (called affumicata) and reduced-moisture packaged varieties. To preserve a natural consistency (for no more than a couple of days), fresh mozzarella is delivered in its own liquid (whey). There are now offered a number of variations, such as "stuffed mozzarella", filled with olives and cooked or raw ham, as well as small tomatoes (pomodorini).
The production of mozzarella involves the mixture of curd with heated whey, followed by stretching and kneading to produce a delicate consistency -- this process is generally known as pasta filata. According to the Mozzarella di Bufala trade association, "The cheese maker kneads it with his hands, like a baker making bread, until he obtains a smooth, shiny paste, a strand of which he pulls out and lops off, forming the individual mozzarella."  It is then typically formed into ball shapes or in plait. In Italy, a "rubbery" consistency is generally considered not satisfactory; the cheese is expected to be softer.
It has been said that the name "mozzarella", which is clearly derived from southern Italian dialects, was the diminutive form of mozza (cut), or mozzare (to cut off) derived from the method of working. Other theories describe its origins as a minor preparation of "scamozza" (Scamorza cheese), which in its turn probably derives from "scamozzata" ("without a shirt"), with allusion to the fact that these cheeses have no hard surface covering typical of a dry cured cheese. The term mozzarella is first found definitively mentioned in 1570, cited in a cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, reading "…milk cream, fresh butter, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella and milk…" An earlier reference is also often cited as describing mozzarella. Historian Monsignor Alicandri, in "Chiesa Metropolitana di Capua", states that in the 12th century the Monastery of Saint Lorenzo, in Capua, offered pilgrims a piece of bread with mozza or provatura
Amount of nutrients in 100g of edible portion of mozzarella, whole milk: Energy Protein Fats 1250 kJ / 300 kcal 22 g 22 g
Carbohydrates 2.2 g Total sugars Calcium, Ca 1.0 g 500 mg
Phosphorus, P 350 mg Potassium, K 76 mg Sodium, Na 630 mg
Camembert is a soft, creamy French cheese. It was first made in the late 18th century in Normandy in northwestern France
Country of origin Region, town Source of milk Pasteurized Texture Aging time Certification
France Normandy, Camembert Cows Not normally Soft-ripened at least 3 weeks Camembert de Norman die AOC 1983, PDO 1992
Camembert is made from unpasteurized cow's milk, and is ripened by the moulds Penicillium candida and Penicillium camemberti for at least three weeks. It is produced in small rounds, about 250 grams in weight, which are then typically wrapped in paper and packaged in thin wooden boxes.
When fresh, it is quite crumbly and relatively hard, but characteristically ripens and becomes more runny and strongly flavored as it ages. Camembert can be used in many dishes, but is also popularly eaten uncooked on bread or with wine or meat, to enjoy the subtle flavour and texture which does not survive heating. It is usually served at room temperature.
Camembert of Normandy
Camembert was reputedly invented in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy, thanks to advice from a priest who came from Brie.
However, the origin of the cheese we know today as camembert is more likely to rest with the beginnings of the industrialization of the cheese-making process at the end of the 19th century. In 1890, an engineer, M. Ridel invented the wooden box which was used to carry the cheese and helped to send it for longer distances, in particular to America where it became very popular. These boxes are still used today. Before fungi were properly understood, the co lour of Camembert rind was a matter of chance, most commonly blue-grey, with brown spots. From the early 20th century onwards the rind has been more commonly pure white, but it was not until the mid1970s that pure white became standard. The cheese was famously issued to French troops during World War I, becoming firmly fixed in French popular culture as a result. It has many other roles in French culture, literature and history. It is now internationally known, and many local varieties are made around the world. The cheese is said to have inspired Salvador Dalí to create his famous painting, The Persistence of Memory. Its "melting" watches were inspired by the sight of a melting wheel of over-ripe Camembert. The Camembert de Normandie was granted a protected designation of origin in 1992 after the original AOC in 1983.
Camembert cheese box
Camembert cheese gets its characteristic flavor from many naturally occurring chemical substances, including ammonia, succinic acid and sodium chloride. When present, bitter notes may be caused by ornithine, cadaverine and citrulline.  Overripe camembert contains an unpleasant, excessive amount of ammonia, which is produced by the same microorganisms required for ripening.
In Greek cuisine, Feta (Greek: φέτα) is a curd cheese in brine. It is traditionally made from goat's and/or sheep's milk although cow's milk may be substituted. It is an aged cheese, commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a Country of origin Greece table cheese, as well as in Region, town N/A salads, pastries and in baking (although still edible on its Source of milk Goat, sheep or mixture of these own). It is used on Pasteurised Depends on variety Bruschetta, an Italian Texture Depends on variety appetizer. It is used in the popular Greek phyllo-based Aging time min. 3 months dishes spanakopita ("spinach Certification PDO, 2002 pie") and tyropita ("cheese pie"). Feta is a popular cheese world-wide. Similar cheeses are found in the countries which surround Greece. Feta is salted and cured in a brine solution (which can be either water or whey) for several months. Feta dries out rapidly when removed from the brine. Feta cheese is white, usually formed into square cakes, and can range from soft to semi-hard, with a tangy, salty flavor that can range from mild to sharp. The cured cheese easily crumbles apart. Its fat content can range from 30 to 60 percent; most is around 45 percent milk fats. Most feta cheese has a pH of 4.4 to 4.9. Feta is also an important ingredient of Greek salad. Feta, like most cheeses, can also be served cooked; it is sometimes grilled as part of a sandwich or as a salty alternative to other cheeses in a variety of dishes. Feta (typical)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 260 kcal 1100 kJ
Carbohydrates Fat Protein Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.97 mg Vitamin B6 0.42 mg Vitamin B12 1.7 μg Calcium 493 mg Sodium 1116 mg Zinc 2.9 mg
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
4g 21 g 14 g
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.84 mg 56% 19% 32% 71% 49% 74% 29%
Feta cheese is first recorded in the Byzantine Empire, under the name πρόσφατος (prósphatos, "recent", i.e. fresh), and was associated specifically with Crete. An Italian visitor to Candia in 1494 describes its storage in brine clearly. The Greek word "feta" comes from the Italian word feta ("slice") and that from Latin offa "bite, morsel". It was introduced in Greek in the 17th century, likely referring to the method of cutting the cheese in thin slices to serve on a plate. Traditionally, feta has been made by peasants in the lower Balkan peninsula from sheep's milk, although goat's milk, and (to the dismay of some) cow's milk has been used in more recent times. It is also used for banitsa.
Greek salad. Feta cheese, a traditional ingredient, is usually sliced in small cubic pieces. After a long legal battle with Denmark, which produced a similar cheese under the same name, but used artificially blanched cow's milk, the term "feta" is now a protected designation of origin (PDO), which limits the term within the European Union to Greek feta.  when needed to describe a feta-like cheese that isn't Greek feta, names such as "salad cheese" and "Greek-style cheese" are used.
Similar cheeses around the world
Similar cheeses are common in Albania (djath), Bulgaria (sirene сирене), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (бело сирење, Belo sirenje; white cheese), Serbia (sir сир), Israel, Turkey (beyaz peynir 'white cheese'), Egypt, and Sudan (gibna bayda), Romania (brânză telemea), Russia (brynza, брынза), Ukraine (brynza, бринза), Iran (panir liqvan), Malta (Ġbejna tan- nagħaġ) , and other countries. In some of these countries, the name "feta" is used interchangeably with the native, while in others "feta" is not used at all or refers to other (mainly imported) types of cheese.
Mozzarella di Bufala Cam pane
Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (sometimes known as Buffalo Mozzarella) is an Italian mozzarella cheese made from buffalo milk in the following areas of Italy: Caserta, Salerno and part of Ben Vento province, Naples, Frosinone, Latina and Rome. The Italian city of Adverse in the province of Caserta is recognized as the origin of this cheese. The most famous Mozzarella di Bufala family-makers in Italy are Serra and Citarella families. They're known as the founders of Buffalo Mozzarella tradition. The cheese holds a "Protected Designation of Origin" from the European Union, and has been assigned the registry number 1107/96.
Asian water buffaloes were brought to Italy by Goths during the migrations of the early medieval period. "In ancient times, the buffalo was a familiar sight in the countryside, since it was widely used as a draught animal in plowing compact and watery terrains, both because of its strength and the size of its hooves, which do not sink too deeply into moist soils... references to cheese products made from its milk only started to appear at the beginning of the twelfth century. Mozzarella became widespread throughout the south of Italy from the second half of the eighteenth century, before which it had only been produced in small quantities."
Buffalo Mozzarella - Production Stages
1. Milk storage (raw buffalo milk stored in big steel containers). 2. Milk heating (thermic treatment to the liquid, then poured into a cream separator). 3. Curdling (by induction of natural whey). 4. Curd maturation (the curd lies in tubs in order to reduce the acidification processes and reach a Ph value of about 4.95). 5. Spinning (hot water is poured out on the curd in order to soften it, obtaining pasta filata). 6. Shaping (with special rotating shaper machines). 7. Cooling (by immersion in cold water). 8. Pickling (by immersion in pickling tubs containing the original whey). 9. Packaging (in special films cut as bags or in small
basins and plastic.
Buffalo Mozzarella cheese is now famous all over the world because many Italian factories are already exporting it to foreign countries, even as far as USA, Japan and Australia. However, this 'real' Mozzarella does not maintain ideal freshness beyond 12-24 hours. Many companies are researching and developing methods of local processing, including cattle-breeding and factory locations in other countries, to ensure quality
A tub of cottage cheese Cottage cheese is a cheese curd product with a mild flavor. It is drained, but not pressed so some whey remains. The curd is usually washed to remove acidity giving sweet curd cheese. It is not aged or colored. Different styles of cottage cheese are made from milks with different fat levels and in small curd or large curd preparations. Cottage cheese which is pressed becomes hoop cheese, farmer cheese, pot cheese or queso Blanco. It is also eaten in salads, with fruit, with fruit puree - such as peach, raspberry, blueberry, pineapple, or strawberry - or as an ingredient in recipes like jello salad and various desserts. Also, it can be used to replace grated cheese or ricotta cheese in most recipes (such as Lasagna). It is popular among dieters and some health food devotees. Cottage cheese is a favorite food among bodybuilders for its high content of casein protein while being relatively low in fat. The term "cottage cheese" originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from any milk leftover after making butter. The term was first used in 1848.
The curd size is the size of the "chunks" in the cottage cheese. Sometimes large curd cottage cheese is called "chunk style." The two major types of cottage cheese are small curd, high-acid cheese made without rennet, and popular large curd, low-acid cheese made with rennet. Rennet is an enzyme that speeds curdling and keeps the curd that forms from breaking up easily; adding it shortens the cheese making process, resulting in a lower acid and larger curd cheese, and reduces the amount of curd poured off with leftover liquid (the whey).
Cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates while high in protein. A 4 oz (113 g) serving has approximately 120 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 3 g carbohydrates, and 14 g protein. It also contains approximately 500 mg sodium, and 20 mg cholesterol.
Manufacturers also produce low-fat and non fat varieties. A fat-free kind of a similar serving size has 80 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated), 6g carbohydrates, and 14g protein. To compensate the flavor, lowfat and non-fat ones tend to have more sugar in them.
Country of origin Switzerland Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese made from cow's milk, Region, town Canton of Fribourg, Gruyeres named after the town of Source of milk Cows Gruyeres in Switzerland, and made in the cantons of Pasteurised No Fribourg, Vaud, Neufchatel, Texture cooked, pressed, hard Jura, and Berne. Before 2001, when Gruyère gained Aging time 5-12 months Appellation d'Origine Certification Swiss AOC 2001 Contrôlée status as a Swiss cheese, some controversy existed whether French cheeses of a similar nature could also be labeled Gruyère. (French Gruyère-style cheeses include Comté and Beaufort.) Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy, and complex. When fully aged (five months to a year) it tends to have small holes and cracks which impart a slightly grainy mouthfeel. To make an 80 kg round of Gruyère cheese, about 800 litters of milk is used.
How to use Gruyère
Gruyère is generally known as one of the finest cheeses for baking, having a distinctive but not overpowering taste. In quiche, Gruyère adds savories without overshadowing the other ingredients. It is a good melting cheese , so particularly suited for fondues, along with Vacherie and Emmental. It is also traditionally used in French onion soup, as well as in Croque Monsieur, a classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich. It is a fine table cheese, and when grated, it is often used with salads and pastas. It is used, grated, atop Le Tour in, a type of garlic soup from France which is served on dried bread.
To make Gruyère, raw milk is heated to 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), and then curdled by the addition of liquid rennet. The curd is cut up into pieces the size of a grain of rice and stirred, releasing whey. The curd is cooked at 43 °C (110 °F), and raised quickly to 54 °C (130 °F). The pieces shrivel up, and the mixture is placed in molds to be pressed. After salting in brine, the cheese is ripened for two months at room temperature. Gruyère can be cured for 3 to 10 months, with long curing producing a cheese of intense flavour. See  Gruyère-style cheeses are very popular in Greece where they are known as γραβιέρα (graviera).
Gruyère in Switzerland
In 2001 Gruyère gained the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée status. Since then the production and the maturation is defined in the Swiss law and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules. To be accepted throughout Europe as an AOC the “Interprofession du Gruyère” in Switzerland plans to make a transnational AOC with the French producers of Gruyère.
An important and the longest part of the production of the Le Gruyere Switzerland AOC is the "affinage" (French for maturation). According to the AOC, the cellars to mature a Swiss Gruyère have to have a climate close to a natural cave. This means the humidity is between 94% to 98%. If the humidity is lower the cheese dries out. If the humidity is too high, the cheese does not mature and becomes smeary and gluey. The temperature of the caves should be between 13° and 14° Celsius. This relatively high temperature is only possible if the quality of the cheese is excellent. Otherwise, the temperatures are lower between 10° and 12° Celsius. The lower the temperature is, the less the cheese matures and gets hard and crumbly.
Le Gruyère Switzerland AOC has many different varieties with different aged profiles and an organic version of the cheese is also sold. There is a special variety that is produced only in summer on the Swiss Alps: the Le Gruyère Switzerland AOC Alp age.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard, fat granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, in Emilia-Romagna, and Montoya, in Lombardy, Italy. Parmigiano is simply the Italian adjective for Parma; the French version, Parmesan, is used in English. The term Parmesan is also loosely used as a common term for cheeses imitating true Parmesan cheese, especially outside Europe; within Europe, the Parmesan name is classified as a protected designation of origin.
Country of origin Region, town Source of milk Pasteurised Texture Aging time Certification
Italy Provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna (west of the Reno), Mantua (south of the Po) Cows No Hard Minimum: 12 months Vecchio: 18–24 months Stravecchio: 24–36 months Italy: DOC 1955 EU: PDO 1992
The sign on the border of Parma and Piacenza, indicating the start of the area of origin. Parmigiano Reggiano is made from raw cow's milk. The whole milk of the morning milking is mixed with the naturally skimmed milk (it is left in large shallow tanks to allow the cream to separate) of the previous evening's milking resulting in a part skim mixture. The milk is pumped into copper-lined vats (copper heats quickly and cools quickly). Starter whey is added and the temperature is raised to 33-35C. Calf rennet is added and the mixture is left to curdle for 10-12 minutes. The curd is then broken up mechanically (spinitura in Italian) into small pieces (around the size of rice grains). The temperature is then raised to 55C with careful control by the cheese-maker. The curd is left to settle for 45-60 minutes. The compacted curd is collected in a piece of muslin before being divided in two and placed in moulds. There are 1100 L of milk per vat, producing two cheeses each. The curd making up each wheel at this point weighs around 45 kg (100 lb). The remaining whey in the vat was traditionally used to
feed the pigs from which Parma hams are produced. The barns for these animals were usually just a few yards away from the cheese production rooms. The cheese is put into a stainless steel round form that is pulled tight with a spring powered buckle so the cheese retains its wheel shape. After a day or two, the buckle is released and a plastic belt imprinted numerous times with the Parmigiano Reggiano name, the plant's number, and month and year of production is put around the cheese and the metal form is buckled tight again. The imprints take hold on the rind of the cheese in about a day and the wheel is then put into a brine bath to absorb salt for 2025 days. After brining, the wheels are then transferred to the aging rooms in the plant for 12 months. Each cheese is placed on wooden shelves that can be 24 cheeses high by 90 cheeses long or about 4,000 total wheels per aisle. Each cheese and the shelf underneath it is then cleaned manually or robotically every 7 days. The cheese is also turned at this time.
A factory of Parmigiano Reggiano. There are two storerooms, both with 20 of these shelves. At 12 months the Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano inspects each and every cheese. The cheese is tested by a Master grader whose only instruments are a hammer and his ear. By tapping the wheel at various points, he can identify undesirable cracks and voids within the wheel. Those cheeses that pass the test are then heat branded on the rind with the Consorzio's logo. Cheeses that are not so selected used to have their rinds remarked with lines or the letter x all the way around so consumers know they are not getting top quality Parmigiano Reggiano, but are now simply stripped of all markings. Traditionally, cows have to be fed only on grass or hay, producing grass fed milk. Only natural whey culture is allowed as a starter, together with calf rennet. The only additive allowed is salt which the cheese absorbs while being submerged for 20 days in brine tanks saturated to near total salinity with Mediterranean sea salt. The product is aged an average of two years. The cheese is produced daily, and it can show a natural variability. True Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese has a complex fruity/nutty taste and a slightly gritty texture. Inferior versions can impart a bitter taste. The average Parmigiano Reggiano wheel is about 18-24 cm (7 to 9 inches) high, 4045 cm (16 to 18 inches) in diameter, and weighs an average of 38 kg (80 pounds).
Uses of the cheese include being grated with a grater over pasta, stirred into soup and risotto, and eaten in chunks with balsamic vinegar. It is also a key ingredient in Alf redo sauce and pesto. Parmigiano cheese is considerably harder the farther it gets from its center, and very hard near the crust, however it's exactly from this harder portion that the best grated cheese is obtained: a fine whiter dust which is more aromatic and tasty than the grating resulting from softer sections. Even Parmigiano crusts have their culinary uses, added to a pot of soup they can lend a pleasant, fine aroma to it, and they can also be chewn and eaten. Regularly consuming Parmigiano crusts can strengthen teeth
FACTS & FALLACIES Sort out the facts from the fallacies surrounding cheese!
and bones due to the calcium contained
FACTS The fat content of Brie type cheeses is the same or slightly less than Edam Cheese, like red wine, tastes better at room temperature
The blue in blue cheese is melted copper wire! No idea where that came from. In fact it is a harmless penicillin mould
The rind of Camembert is edible paper!
No it is harmless penicillin mould
Vegetarian cheese is made without animal products!
That would be a challenge! There are non-dairy alternatives to cheese made with soya oil but in fact over 80% of all British cheeses are made with non-animal alternatives to rennet and are therefore suitable for vegetarians yet there is no discernible difference in taste
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Before you go forth and preach the gospel of cheese to friends, family and the philistines who still think cheese is for cooking and the rind of Camembert is edible paper, there are some myths and misconceptions about cheese that need to be dispelled. If you have any questions, email your query to the Cheese Wire and our Master of Cheese, Juliet Harbutt will answer them for you.
What is rennet?
It is an enzyme present in the stomach of all milk fed animals; its purpose is to coagulate mother's milk, in the infant's stomach, into solids and liquid. Cheese makers have learnt to
extract this enzyme and used it to make cheese. The liquid is drained off and the solids or curds are converted into thousands of different cheeses around the world.
What is a vegetarian cheese?
Instead of using rennet some cheese makers use non-animal alternatives like fig juice, lemon juice, bay leaves, ladies bed straw and thistle however animal rennet is the most effective at ensuring the majority of the solids, protein and fat, are separated out and not left in the whey. Today many cheese makers use a laboratory created non-animal rennet, making the cheese suitable for vegetarians.
How do they get the small holes in cheeses like Emmental?
Before rennet is added to the milk, a special starter culture is added that encourages a more active fermentation process than other starters. This heightened activity causes bubbles of CO2 to form and 'burst' inside the cheese while it is maturing - each burst creates another hole.
Is all cheese fattening
? No. There are many
cheeses with lower fat contents, e.g. Brie has a fat content 1/3 less than cheddar and fromage frail is 1/3 less than Brie. Unfortunately, because cheese is known to be high in fat, it tends to be one of the first things we cut out or cut down on, yet many people find that there is little change in their weight. Why? Because cheese rarely accounts for more than a small percentage of the actual fat eaten in a person's diet. Instead look for the hidden fats in your diet - bread, muesli, crisps, chips, pastries and biscuits.
If I am allergic to cows' milk cheese can I eat goat or ewes milk cheese?
Many people have found that although they are allergic to cow's milk products they have no reaction to goat or ewes' milk products. It is definitely worth discussing with your doctor.
How safe is raw milk cheese
Figures released in 1996 by the Communicable Disease Surveillance centre showed that of the 516 reported cases of food poisoning in the United Kingdom, only 17 were related to Milk and dairy products. Of these only 10% were from cheese and none were made with raw milk. By comparison Poultry and Eggs accounted for 147 cases, Desserts 70 and drinking water 17. It would therefore appear that cheese, and in particular raw milk cheese, is one of the safest foods you can eat.
What if I am pregnant, can I eat cheese?
Most of the bad press cheeses receives is sensationalism and hysteria however if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system you should avoid soft cheeses [as well as chicken, pate, cooked meats, prepared salads, sea food and ….], regardless as to whether they are pasteurized or not.
,KALUDEEPA VINOJITH SAMEERA SHISHAN SILVA ]
[Ceylon hotel school, Colombo
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