National Cheese Lover’s Day
oday is National cheese lovers day and since I live in the dairy state, there was no other choice so which topic I was going to choose.
No one knows how to cheese was discovered or who was the first to make cheese. We know from writings on tablets that the Sumerians ate cheese dating back to about 4,000 BC. We also know that the ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans new about “
What is cheese
Cheese begins by separating the milk solids from the
A cheesemaker will drain away the whey and work with the solids when making most cheeses. Only ricotta is made from the
What type of milk is used
Most cheese that we know is made from cow’s milk. Goat’s milk sheep’s milk and buffalo milk is also used.
Why is most cheese made from cow’s milk
On average a cow provides 7 gallons of milk per day. A goat provides about one gallon per day. A ewe lamb (or sheep) provides a half a gallon of milk a day. And a buffalo provides between 2 and 4 gallons per day.
But that’s not the only consideration. Cow’s milk has 3.9% fat on average, goat and buffalo come in at 6% and sheep comes in at 9%. So while a sheep only provides a half a gallon of milk a day, the fat is more than double that of a cow. So every gallon of
But you still need a whole lot more sheep and with the amount of cheese that we Americans eat, we do not have enough grazing area to get the amount of milk needed to convert to cheese. This also tells us why the other cheeses are so much more expensive. With a ewe (sheep) only providing a half gallon of milk per day and a goat only one gallon per day, you need a much bigger herd in order to make cheese.
Varieties of cheese
There are over 1400 varieties of cheese. They fall into basic families. The Cook’s Companion says there are some basic families from which all cheese derive.
The fresh, uncured cheeses
These include cream cheese,
The surface ripened cheeses
These would include
The semi-soft cheeses formerly called the cheddar cheese family.
blue veined cheeses
Of course, the blue cheese is in this family, Stilton, Roquefort (sheep’s milk), Gorgonzola,
Included in this family
The Swiss Cheese
Of course, swiss cheese is in this category along with
The Parmesan or Hard Cheese Family
These are your hard Italian cheeses, parmesan, Romano, asiago, aged Gouda, and pecorino.
These are produced from the whey vs the milk solids. Whey is a byproduct of cheesemaking, but that does not mean it is any less desirable or flavorful. The most well-known way cheese is ricotta. traditional ricotta is made totally from
It’s interesting to note that my trusty old book, The Cook’s Companion, does not list brined cheese at all. They are not even a subcategory of one of the other families of cheeses. In this category is one of my absolute favorite cheeses and that is feta cheese.
Just a little tangent here. We have a Mexican grocery store here that sells a great variety of cheese. In the deli
Many of the cheeses that we know in the United States by a certain name are not the true cheese. I can buy swiss cheese from a cheese maker here in my state when Swiss cheese is really supposed to be made in Switzerland. The same goes for parmesan cheese, asiago cheese, and many others. Additionally, cheeses are often mass produced today and often the process needs to change to accommodate that. Raw milk cheese, the only way cheese was made up until the late
Also, cheese by its nature absorbs the bacteria from its environment. So a cheese using the
I can’t imagine a life without cheese. When they say that Americans have a love affair with cheese, it’s probably pretty true. But cheese is popular around the entire world. In Europe, a loaf of bread, a wedge of cheese, some fruit and a little wine constitutes a peasants dinner. Many a tourist pay good money for that peasants’ dinner of real bread, real cheese, fresh fruit, and a little local wine.
So enjoy your cheese today and
#NationalCheeseLoversDay #Cheese #Cheeselovers #Cottage Cheese
The Cook’s Companion, 1978
Garde Manger by The Culinary Institute of America