How is cheese produced?
Directly after milking, the milk is refrigerated and in most cases it is pasteurized: It is heated to destroy damaging bacteria and facilitate preservation. The milk is then partially creamed, in order to adjust the fat percentage.
After the pasteurization phase comes the curdling phase: Lactic ferments and rennet are added in order to allow the curdling and solidification of the milk. From this, the curd emerges, which gently contracts over the next few hours.
Once the milk has curdled, the mixture is cut up into cubes and churned, before being poured into moulds. The moulds will enable the serum (a liquid composed mostly of milk) to seep out. During this phase the definitive form of the cheese is determined. Thus, each type of cheese is produced in its own mould.
The objective of this phase is to allow all the remaining excess serum to be eliminated. For this, the moulds are sometimes placed on draining mats, sometimes wrapped up in a cloth. In some cases, the cheeses can even be pressed in order to extract more serum. The draining process can sometimes be accelerated by heating the cubed curds.
The penultimate phase of the process is the salting phase. This takes place by spraying or dry-rubbing the cheese crust, or by immersing the cheese in a salty solution (brine). The salt regulates the development of bacteria and hones the draining process by dehydrating the cheese.
The cave maturing phase is the last step in the cheese producing process. During this step, cheeses are preserved, turned over, monitored, and treated by the master cheese maker. This maturing process varies from a from a few days up to several months, depending on the cheese. Only once it has matured over an optimal amount of time, is the cheese wrapped.
What are the key ingredients used to produce cheese?
When it comes to their composition, cheeses are incredibly simple: The only vital component is the milk.
Can I eat the rind of my cheese?
Whether or not you eat the rind of a cheese is a question of personal preference.
How and where to store your cheese?
Keeping cheese in a separate cheese box is ideal as it will prevent the rest of your fridge from smelling.
When is a cheese past its prime?
Soft ripened cheeses continue to mature after purchase. Thus, their taste and texture evolve as they near their use-by date.
Is it possible to freeze cheese?
Soft cheese can be frozen but it often alters in texture and can separate, so may not be as appealing to eat once it is defrosted.
What can you drink with cheese?
Stereotypically cheese has always been paired with red wine or port; however this really does come down to personal choice.
Do Camembert and Brie only come from France?
Camembert is originally made in Normandy. However due to an increase in demand other countries have started producing it as well.
Can I eat cheese if I'm pregnant?
Expectant mothers are recommended to not consume unpasteurized cheese.
Can I eat cheese if I am a vegetarian?
Certain cheeses contain animal rennet or animal gelatine. These cheeses should be avoided by vegetarians.
Do cheeses have any health benefits?
All cheeses contain calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals.