How can there be so many different kinds of cheeses?

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Magical Realist, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    They're all just curdled milk aren't they? And yet we have huge variations of flavor and texture and consistency--mozarella, cheddar, parmesan, swiss, bleu, gouda, you name it. Is it the aging process? The bacteria they use?


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  3. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    Cheese is not just curddled milk. It is milk that has been altered by bacteria - sort of like yogurt. The different types of bacterial will produce different flavors. Cheese can also be molded. The mold will impart different flavors also - such as blue cheese (the blue is the mold).

    It is really rather easy to make cheese curds, which is essentally mozzarella. Look on the internet for cheese making at home. It is fun and rather tasty!
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I may do that. I didn't know it was so easy. Do they have kits online you can order? Tks for the info.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    How's your French? :- http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_de_pâtes_de_fromage

    But it seems you have the hard (pressed) cheeses, many of which are pate cuite (heated at some point in the process) and the pate molle, some of which have a washed rind which alters the bugs that grow on the outside (and often makes the rind look orange and have a strong smell, in my experience).

    And then there are the types of milk or cream (cows, sheep, goats), where from (terroir), yeasts and bacteria used, conditions of maturing.....

    Some of their history is over 1000 years old. Charlemagne was given Brie as a lenten cheese by the monks at Meaux - and he lived in ~800. A thousand years, later a monk from Meaux was escaping to the channel ports from the Revolution and stopped for a while in a town in Normandy, where he showed the locals what he knew of cheese-making. The name of the town was Camembert......
     
  8. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    There are kits but don't waste your time on them. You need basically milk a thermometer and some rennet. look it up.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I wouldn't waste your time. Emigrate.

    France is the place for cheese, with a few isolated, though splendid, contributions from Italy (Gorgonzola, Parmesan), Switzerland (Gruyère, though not that different from French Comté) and England (Stilton, some would say Wensleydale). Most Dutch cheese is all one variety and often fairly tasteless, unless you can get a really mature boerenkaas: Oud Amsterdam is OK once in a while. Cheese belongs to old and settled rural cultures, in a temperate climate. The restlessness of the New World, and uncomfortably hot or cold climates, do not encourage a serious cheese tradition.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    American states often have their own cheeses which are fantastic. It's not just the bacteria but also what the cows ate...
     
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Ah well, perhaps I'm overgeneralising. My time in the US was admittedly in Texas, which may not have been the best place to savour the indigenous cheeses. But it's only in France that I've seen the cheese aisle in the supermarkets 20m long....
     
  12. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    I've been to Switzerland a few times and the cheese there was fantastic. Beats the hell out of the "simulated cheese product" that many Americans mistake for actual cheese! Here in upstate NY there are some great cheeses just not alot of variety.
     
  13. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    The Tillimook region of Oregon makes some EXCELLENT chedder.
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Ahh yes! I know it well. Have you tried the Tillamook Sticky Bun Ice Cream? Utter perverse decadence!
     
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Says it all! Cheddar has been prostituted so long it has lost any self-respect. We didn't know what we had and failed to protect it. The best "cheddar" in England now doesn't come from Cheddar at all but Lincolnshire, on the other side of the country! Lincolnshire Poacher. Very good - but hardly the real thing. Who knows whether this one from Oregon bears any resemblance to the original. I'm sure it's good, but is it Cheddar, whatever that is, or was?
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The Rogue creamery makes the best blue cheese I've ever tasted. They are based in the Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon. They had to recreate the cave conditions used in France by casting domed concrete rooms.

    http://www.roguecreamery.com/store/
     
  17. Stanley Registered Senior Member

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    Cheddar is pretty cheesy, never cared for it. I'm still a "cheese head". I like imported though, come to think of it, this is the only area where i am a snob.

    Good cheese is an art form and this guy thinks he can make cheese with a kit? LOL, good luck with that.

    Edited to add: Has anyone mentioned the milk the cheese is made with?

    Personally I am partial to cows milk and dont go in for the exotic milks. May go as far as milk from a goat.

    Its weird, when i was a baby i never imagined a life where i would drink the milk from a cows breasts.
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Seems you have the same taste as my wife, who is a bit sniffy about "pȃte cuite" cheese generally - though she makes an exception for Parmesan. I like both "pȃte cuite" and "pȃte molle" types, including good Cheddar and its surrogates. Gorgonzola Dolce is probably my favourite of all, with Livarot a close second.

    But I think you miss something by excluding Roquefort, for example (ewe's milk).
     

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