Basically, cheese is the curdled milk of sheep, goats, cows, or other mammals. Cheese can be very soft - like farmer's cheese, and very hard - like Parmesan. Rennet, an enzyme present in the stomach of all mammals, is added to milk to make cheese. When this is added to the milk, it causes the milk to separate into curds, and the liquid left behind is called whey. This process is complete when producing soft cheese like farmers cheese or cottage cheese. For harder cheeses, the curds need to be heated which further pulls more whey out from the curd. The cheese is then put into a mold where water and whey are removed, and the cheese adopts its final shape. The cheese then needs to age or ripen. Fresh cheese has a very undeveloped taste and can have a rubbery texture. The amount of aging necessary depends on which type of cheese is being produced. As the cheese develops the bacteria and enzymes within change the taste and appearance of the cheese.
Five Fun Facts:
- There are over 670 types of cheeses in the world.
- The root of the English word cheese comes from the Latin caseus, which also gives us the word casein, the milk protein that is the basis of cheese.
- The Pilgrims included cheese in their supplies onboard the Mayflower in 1620.
- June is National Dairy Month, and the last week in June is National Cheese Week.
- The stinky Limberger cheese is fermented with Brevibacterium linens - the same bacteria responsible for body odor!
Five Cheesey Recipes:
- Cauliflower with Gruyere Sauce -Plain old steamed cauliflower puts on airs with this velvety cheese sauce.
- Baked Mac & Cheese - Update your homemade Mac & Cheese with this lower fat version that uses spinach and whole wheat noodles to up the flavor and nutritional benefit.
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake - A classic kosher cheesecake made all the more delectable by adding chocolate chips. Perfect for Shavuot or anytime you want a dairy dessert.
- Pear & Blue Cheese Flatbread- You'll obsess over the healthy, crunchy taste of this gourmet Pear & Blue Cheese Flatbread! The classic combination of pears, walnuts and blue cheese isn’t just for salad. Toss the same ingredients onto purchased whole-wheat pizza dough and make your own gourmet flatbread at home. Any type of ripe, firm pear will work—red pears look great.
- Tuna Melt - A lighter update of the deli standard, this tuna melt uses sharp Cheddar and tomatoes to up the flavor quotient.
Nutritional Information for one cup of shredded mozzarella:
Fat: 25 g
Carbohydrates: 2 g
Cholesterol: 88 mg
Sodium: 702 mg
Protein: 25 g
Calcium: 566 g