About this sample
About this sample
Words: 668 |
4 min read
Published: Jan 4, 2019
Words: 668|Page: 1|4 min read
With hundreds of types and wide varieties of flavour, texture and styles, cheese is loved all over the globe. The different varieties of cheese depend on the origin of milk and the animal's diet. Mostly made from cow’s milk, cheese is also produced from sheep, goat, buffalo and other mammals’ milk. From the famous Cheddar to a rarity Crottin de Chavignol, cheese comes loaded with nutrients like fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus.
Cheesemaking process is no less than magic. Its history dates back to 4000 years, when sheeps were first domesticated. There is no evidence as to whether it was Europe, Central Asia or the Middle East. Cheese, most probably, was made accidentally as a method to preserve milk by curdling and salting it. But no matter what kind of cheese and where it is produced, the basic process involves separation of milk into whey and curd. There can be a number of variables in cheesemaking stages which make up the reason for the enormous amount of cheeses around the world. These are the basic stages in cheesemaking:
In the case of unpasteurised milk, bacteria present naturally in milk, convertes lactose or milk sugar into lactic acid. For pasteurised milk, acidifying bacteria has to be added. Most commonly added bacteria belong to Lactococcus, Streptococcus or Lactobacillus families. For the famous Swiss cheese, the bacteria used are Propionibacter shermani which gives the cheese its holes. For some cheeses like Paneer, Queso, Fresco, milk is acidified directly by adding a small amount of vinegar.
Curdling means to clump milk proteins together and form a network to trap fat and water molecules. Curdling can be done either by acid or by rennet. Rennet is a composition of enzymes found in the stomach of ruminant animals like cows. Traditionally milk was stored in calf’s stomach where rennet caused it to curdle. Now, rennet is genetically engineered. acids, vinegar, lemon juice or lactic acid is used for this process. Acid curdled cheeses are soft, have to be eaten fresh, owing to their short life and have little flavour. Cottage cheese is a classic example. Majority of the cheeses are rennet curdled. They have complex flavours and mature over a period of time.
Cheese at this point is essentially just a moist gel. For some cheeses, they can just be salted, drained to separate whey and are ready for consumption. For the remaining majority, the curd is cut into small pieces. Whey is then drained either naturally or by heating in case of hard cheeses. Salting of the curd is done to dehydrate it, provide it a firm texture and also to prevent it from spoiling. Fungi moulds are also added for making blue cheeses like Roquefort. There are some specific techniques at this stage for making different cheeses. For example, stretching and kneading in warm water for making Mozzarella and Provolone, or in case of Cheddar the curd is mixed and piled up repeatedly. The curd is now poured in moulds and pressure is applied for attaining the final shape of the cheese.
Now it’s time for the cheese to mature. Cheese is left in a loosely controlled environment to decay. As the decay starts, cheese gains its flavour and character. Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert ripen in few weeks. They become runny and mildly smelly. Harder cheese takes few months to a year for completely maturing, including Parmesan which actually can take several years. The process of decaying includes the breakdown of proteins into smaller amino acids which release different flavours and smells. But for most people smell doesn’t stop them from enjoying the complex flavour cheese offers. It takes such a complex process and immense amount of hard work to get our beloved cheese which is paired with a number of food items and used in many steps of cooking as well as eaten alone. Whether it’s snacking on Baby gel or Mozzarella on pizzas, every cheese has the magic of science behind it, which makes it even yummier.
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