Introduction to Cheese
What Is Cheese?
Cheese is a preserved form of milk made by using live cultures to transform the milk through chemical process, and then by the coagulation, pressing, and salting of the milk protein casein. Cheese is popular for its versatility, longevity, portability, and nutritional value. Cheese is a stable food with a longer shelf life than milk, and it is an affordable food for any budget. There are numerous styles, shapes, tastes, and textures of cheese, all developed in different regions, climates, and cultures of the world.
Where Did Cheesemaking Begin?
The tradition of cheesemaking dates back into the fog of unknown historical roots. It is an ancient practice pictured in the murals of the Egyptian tombs. The making of cheese is described also in Homer’s Odyssey, a very early Grecian work of literature thought to date back to around the 8th century BCE.
Animal skins and internal organs were used frequently in the early days, so it is likely that some farmer merely filled an inflated animal stomach with milk to carry or store it for a time. The lining of animal stomachs contain the enzymes used in cheesemaking even now, so maybe when the shepherd returned to retrieve his milk, or the hearthkeeper went to pour milk for her cooking, the vessel was full of curds and whey. Drainage and salt is all that was needed to make this new, exciting food into what we know as cheese today.
Why Is Making Cheese at Home Better?
Cheese is a delicious, healthy staple that is well-known to the modern diet. Cheese is a very popular food that can be found on the shelves of any grocery store. The cheese found hermetically sealed in packages in the dairy section of your grocer is often a highly processed food containing additives and preservatives, in contrast to the delicious, one-of-a-kind cheese you could easily be making yourself, in your own home. Your cheese can be free of all of the colorings and chemical stabilizers used to make cheese more attractive and stable for store shelves.
Homemade cheese may be an option for individuals with lactose intolerance, for a huge amount of the naturally occurring lactose within milk is consumed and transformed by live bacteria into more easily digestible lactic acid during cheese making. (Consult with your health care professional before eating cheese if you have concerns about lactose intolerance.)
Your homemade cheese will be better-tasting, more alive, and more versatile than any commercially processed cheese.
Is Making Cheese at Home Difficult?No! Cheesemaking is a very rewarding and simple process. The most basic soft and hard cheeses require only a few ingredients and tools to make. There are levels of cheesemaking difficulty, and each stage is more scrumptious than the last. Basic cheesemaking is surprisingly forgiving, and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Don’t be daunted by the thought of making cheese in your kitchen, because even most cheesemaking failures are still edible. Making your own cheese will not only be healthier and more nourishing to your family, but the world of cheesemaking is so wide and diverse, you may find yourself with a new and very addicting hobby.
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