Twelve facts about cheese

Several dozen species of cheese are produced in Poland. A peculiar pearl on the EU cheese market is the Polish cheese of Podlasie. In addition, Dutch and Italian cheeses are also produced in Poland – their quality is also appreciated at home and abroad. 

Polish consumers are most fond of cheeses produced from cow’s milk, including gouda, Edam cheese (Polish cheese modeled on the Dutch edam cheese), Podlaski cheese and salami. Crossing the cheese route in the supermarket, it is worth bearing in mind that most smoked cheese is produced by the industrial method using a smoking flavor, and cheeses that promise to lower LDL cholesterol may in fact be a cheese-like product. We love yellow cheeses, but we still do not know enough about them. 


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1. Yellow cheese is produced using salts, enzymes and bacteria 

The basic ingredient of yellow cheese is milk – usually cow. However, it is very important to use salt, fermentation enzymes and bacteria in the right proportions. The process of cheese formation starts with heating milk. Milk for cheese production does not have to be pasteurized. In milk at a temperature of around 30-32 degrees Celsius, bacterial cultures and enzymes are added – most often rennet enzyme. Then, the lumps from the proteins begin to be formed, from which the cheese will form. The by-product of the cheese production is whey. The salt plays a role only after the cheese is separated from the whey. After proper formation, the cheese is soaked in brine. The last stage is the formation of cheese and its maturation. 

2. Yellow cheese can be produced even a few years 

The aging time for cheese is up to several years. The ripening period is characteristic for particular types of cheese and significantly affects its consistency, aroma and taste. Of course, such a long period of aging, and thus the period of production has an impact on the final product price. Hard cheeses are not covered with microflora and mature evenly throughout the mass. Due to the low water content (about 30-40%), maturation is quite slow. It is a mistake to think that the longer the cheese matures, the better it is. Too long maturation causes the cheese to lose its aroma and delicious taste. 

3. Gouda accounts for over 50% of global cheese consumption 

Archaeological findings from Poland confirm that about 7.500 years ago, cheese resembling mozzarella was produced. Nevertheless, now the yellow cheeses dominate the market and conquer the consumers’ palates. Gouda is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, covering around 50-60% of the total cheese consumption. Smoked Gouda is a type of this famous cheese, which is made in special ovens. Smoked Gouda has brown, hard edges and a creamy yellow interior. It perfectly combines with tasty snacks such as fruits, nuts and dark chocolate. It tastes good in the form of a sandwich and a burger. 

4. Mice do not like yellow cheese 

The fairytale Jerry liked yellow cheese and maybe that’s why everyone associates this delicacy with mice. They prefer to eat sweets and products rich in sugar. Of course, if they had a hunger or a yellow cheese to choose from, they would choose the latter. However, this is only due to the instinct of survival. The same would be done by any other animal. 

5. One liter of blue cheese is 10 liters of milk 

To produce 1 kg of cheese, you need as much as 10 liters of milk. This means that 2 slices of cheese correspond to 2 glasses of milk. No wonder that the yellow cheeses contain a lot of calcium – eating 4 slices of cheese makes it possible to cover the average daily demand for calcium in 100% – whether it is digestible – this is another matter, proteins and of course fats. The preservation of the indicated proportions is, according to the cheese recipe, necessary to produce a good cheese. Nevertheless, today’s cheese producers can use technologies that help reduce milk consumption per 1 kg of cheese and lower prices. However, it affects the quality and taste of the cheese. 

6. Eating a cheese 30 minutes before bedtime makes it easier to fall asleep 

Scientific research carried out in 2005 has shown that eating a cheese for 30 minutes before going to bed helps you fall asleep. Effect of this treat results from the content of the amino acid called tryptophan. It reduces the stress level and helps you fall asleep. 

7. Sliced ​​cheese can be stored for a maximum of 4 days 

We buy yellow cheeses in slices and in a piece. Slices of cheese are faster to mold, so keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Cheeses in a piece can be stored up to 3 weeks. Cheeses should be stored at a temperature of about 6 degrees Celsius. To fully enjoy their taste, let’s eat them out of the fridge when they get to room temperature. 

8. Yellow cheeses do not contain lactose and rarely cause allergies 

You can meet the products that have \ lactose free written on the packaging and are yellow cheeses. Nevertheless, the conscious consumer knows perfectly well that the yellow cheeses do not contain any or contain traces of lactose. Lactose is a milk sugar that decomposes in the maturation process. What else is a cheese-like product – if you see something on the shop shelf that resembles cheese and is \ lactose-free, it’s probably just a cheese-like product. Interestingly, yellow cheeses, although containing cow’s milk proteins (provided that they are produced from this type of milk) rarely cause allergies. Proteins, like lactose, break down in the cheese ripening process. 

9. Hole in the cheese can be caused not only by fermentation 

Holes in cheese, which are so characteristic and valued by gourmets (eye), arise in the process of its maturation due to the release and accumulation of carbon dioxide, the formation of which is the result of the activity of propionic fermentation bacteria. The holes also appear because the milk contains small impurities that could not be removed during its filtration. According to the researchers (before the tests carried out in 2015), the holes were created as a result of the use of very clean milk. 

10. Why is yellow cheese shaped like a large disc? 

According to the tradition of European cheese manufacturers, the finished product has a round shape. Thanks to the fact that the cheese had the appearance of a large disc, it was easier to transport it – you did not have to carry it, because it could easily turn, like a wheel from a wagon. Interestingly, in the English county of Gloucestershire, cheese rolling has been organized for over 200 years. They consist in the fact that participants chase a round cheese weighing about 3 kg, rolled from a steep hill. The one who first grabs the cheese wins, and the prize is of course the prize. 

11. The yellow cheese has been processed into counterfeits 

Two decades ago, chocolate-like products were popular in Poland – nowadays few consumers want them because chocolate has become more available. Nevertheless, some of the buyers can be fooled by the fake yellow cheese, i.e. a cheese-like product. The definition of cheese is defined by EU rules. According to the adopted norms, cheese is a food dairy product obtained milk in the process of extracting protein and fat from it. You can add special additives to the cheese – for example, special mold, condiments and omega-3 acids. However, the list of additions is limited. The average consumer may find it difficult to distinguish between cheese and a cheese-like product. A proven way to distinguish cheese from a cheese-like product is the name of the product. The cheese-like products are called, for example, gouda type cheese, Dutch type cheese. The composition given on the label will also reveal the truth. In the cheese you will not find, among others vegetable fats and starch. 

12. The healthiest yellow cheese is parmesan cheese 

Parmesan originating in Italy is the healthiest yellow cheese. Parmesan provides the body with a lot of vitamins and minerals, and at the same time can be helpful in maintaining proper blood pressure, as confirmed by the study. Parmesan contains relatively few calories compared to other types of yellow cheese, as 100 g of this product contains approx. 26 g of fat. It is a rich source of protein, and it is very easy to digest. 

The above-mentioned 12 facts about yellow cheese reveal that, although we really like these milk products, we can not often distinguish them from the cheese-like product. Very often, cheeses are treated as a product that must be eliminated from the diet, while they constitute a valuable source of protein, vitamins and minerals. 


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How are acid (quark) and rennet cheese made?

Cheese is one of the oldest food products made by man.

Its beginnings are connected with the beginning of domestication and breeding of animals. Legends say that the first cheese was made from curdled milk by Mesopotamian shepherds about 10,000 years ago, and the first proof of the production phase of the cheese is the Sumerian bas-relief created 3000 years BC 

There are many legends and stories about the creation and discovery of further technologies and ways of cheese production. The cheeses are made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, buffalo milk, camel milk and reindeer milk. Depending on the type of milk, the technological processes used in the production of cheese differ in appearance, taste, smell, consistency and culinary use. So how are the most popular acid and rennet cheeses obtained and what are the rules and technological processes used during their production? 


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Classification of cheeses 

Cheese can be divided according to the following criteria 

• due to raw material used (milk) 

– cow’s milk cheeses, eg Edam, Gouda, Parmesan 

– sheep’s milk cheeses, eg oscypek, bryndza, Roquefort 

– goat’s milk cheeses, eg Fromage de Chevre 

• due to production technology 

– acid cheeses, eg cottage cheese 

– acid-rennet cheeses, eg rural and homogenized cheese 

– rennet cheese, e.g. Brie, Cheddar, Gouda 

– raspberry cheese, e.g. Ricotta 

• due to the texture and type of skin 

– fresh cheese, eg feta, curd, Ricotta 

– soft cheeses, eg Brie, Camembert, bryndza 

– hard cheeses, eg Parmesan 

– cheese, e.g. Munster 

– semi-hard cheeses, eg Gouda, Cheddar 

– blue cheese, for example, Brie, Roquefort 

• due to the period of puberty 

– ripening cheese (blue cheese and so-called yellow cheese) 

– unripened cheese (curd cheese and fresh cheese) 

What determines the variety of types and types of cheese? 

The variety of cheeses depends, among other things, on the type and quality of milk used, the technological processing of milk, curds and cheese, maturation conditions and microflora. 

How are acid cheeses formed? – curd production technology 

Acid cheeses are those in which a curd is naturally formed by the action of lactic acid bacteria. The most well-known representatives of acid cheeses include cottage cheese (fat, semi-fat and skinny curd can be distinguished). The history of its production dates back to 8000 BC, and to this day its popularity is still growing. 

The first stage in the production of curd is pasteurization of milk, and then it is cooled to the temperature of inoculation. Vaccinating is the addition of bacteria that cause the milk to acidify to a pH of 4.5. Sour milk is formed after 8 hours from acidified milk. However, the most aromatic curd may be obtained after about 17 hours of clot formation. Attention should also be paid to the amount of fat in milk. The more it is, the softer and more creamy the end product will be. 

The next step is forming a clot – cutting it into equal cubes and heating. The heated clot shrinks, resulting in grain and whey. Grain is poured into molds, where it drips and is pressed, which ultimately gives shape to the curd. This is how the cheese is packaged ready for distribution. 

How are the acid-rennet cheeses produced? 

Acid-rennet cheeses are cheeses in which the curd is obtained in a similar way as in acid cheeses, but in addition a small addition of rennet, a digestive enzyme found in large quantities in the mucous of calves’ stomachs, is used. The consistency of acid-rennet cheeses is definitely less frequent than that of acid cheeses. It is distinguished here cottage cheese (so-called cottage cheese) and homogenized cheese. 

How are the rennet cheeses produced? 

The rennet cheeses are created by adding rennet to the milk, which coagulates casein, the main milk protein. This creates a clot, which then crumbles, separates the whey, forms and compresses. The pressing of the cheese aims at completely separating the whey and creating the appropriate structure and forming the skin. Then the salt is made cold or wet. 

The next stage and at the same time the longest is maturing, which may last from several days to even several years. During ripening, a series of chemical, physical and microbiological processes take place in the cheese. Each type of cheese has strictly defined maturing conditions (minimum temperature, air humidity, time). Among the rennet cheese, there are soft, hard and semi-hard cheeses. 

Soft rennet cheeses are cheeses in which the maturation takes place from the surface to the inside under the influence of bacteria or mold typical of a given cheese. Soft rennet cheeses include cheese with mold growth (no. Camembert, Brie), with mold hypertrophy (eg Gorgonzola, Rokpol) and soft pomasanka cheese (eg bryndza). Hard cheeses are the largest group of rennet cheeses. They ripen in anaerobic conditions with the participation of lactic acid bacteria enzymes. Here, you can distinguish Swiss (Ementaler, Radamer), Dutch (Edamski, Gouda), Italian (Parmezan), English (Cheddar) cheeses and hard cheeses (eg oscypek, feta). 


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