Culture Magazine’s “Cheese Facts” and “Cheese Science” – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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Culture Magazine’s “Cheese Facts” and “Cheese Science”


UPDATED 11/30/2015: More Cheese Facts and Cheese Science from Culture Magazine:

In addition to being a Cheese Junkie; I’m also a Twitter Junkie… yes… I admit it… I love Twitter and one of my favorite feeds is Culture Magazine and their “Cheese Facts” and “Cheese Science” tweets… were it not for Culture Magazine I would have never known that cows have best friends and that sheep can remember up to two hundred sheep faces for as long as two years… information absolutely necessary to have a well-rounded Cheese IQ.

To further my never-ending pursuit to increase my Cheese IQ (and assist all of our candidates sitting for the ACS CCP exam in July and 2016), I asked Lassa Skinner, Cheese Friend and Co-Founder of Culture Magazine, to grant me permission to re-post some of their tweets…

They’re entertaining and educational… so let’s get this Cheese Party started: (All Cheese Facts and Cheese Science tweets are owned by and copyrighted to Culture Magazine. Used by permission.)

: 1/4 teaspoon of rennet is enough to transform a gallon of milk into curds.

: Cheeses can contain dozens of different strains of bacteria, many of them incidentally introduced during the aging process.

: Eating cheese late at night won’t give you nightmares, but the kind of cheese you eat may shape what you’ll dream

: 16th-century Italian miller, Domenico Scandella, believed that cheese would natually grow worms.

: The Swiss term “vollmundia” describes the flavor of a cheese involving the whole mouth, firing off every one of your tastebuds

: Casein protein-groups in milk have a negative exterior charge, meaning they repel each other (and the milk remains liquid).

: In the Northeast, the average size of a herd of cows is 100; in California, the average size of a herd is 900.

: Swiss cows in Alpine mountain pastures eat up to 26-28 different species of grass, flowers, and plants.

: The emptier the aging room, the more air circulates and the more moisture is leeched from the cheese.

: As long as it’s not paired w/ a strong blue or stinky wheel, Riesling’s fruity sweetness goes with a LOT of different cheeses!

: Summer milk has less casein than winter milk, so it takes longer to coagulate into curds.

#CheeseFact: Stiltons are traditionally eaten around Christmastime b/c they’re best made in the cooler weather of early fall.

#CheeseScience: Odorants are the molecules responsible for the distinct aromas—and flavors—of drinks and foods (such as stinky cheese!)

#CheeseFact: Vella Cheese Company’s Dry Jack is hand coated with chocolate, vegetable oil, and black pepper.

#CheeseScience: Sheep’s huge, rectangular pupils allow them to see practically 360º without turning their heads.

#CheeseScience Cheddar is preferably made with milk produced late in a cow’s breeding season b/c it has more fat & protein and less water

#CheeseFact: The most coveted Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels are made in August and September, when the cow’s milk is richest.

#CheeseScience: Acidic cheeses (like feta) appear white b/c the low pH causes the casein matrix to contract and scatter light more readily.

Lassa kissing one of her favorite Cheesemakers

Lassa kissing one of her favorite Cheesemakers

#CheeseFact: A dried mozzarella, #Scamorza—Italian for “beheaded”—is tied 2/3 of the way toward the top, forming a neck to hang for aging.

#CheeseScience: Goat’s milk is richer in calcium, vitamin B6, & niacin, while cow’s milk has higher levels of vitamin B12 & folic acid.

#CheeseFact: Mozzarella needs to be pressed, pulled, and shaped until it floats like a soft pillow in a fresh milky pool.

#CheeseScience: Blue cheese has more salt than other cheese to keep quick-growing Penicillium from breaking down the interior too quickly.

#CheeseFact: Burrata is Italian for “buttered.”

#CheeseFact: Caerphilly cheese was originally a fresh, juicy farmstead curd that coal miners carried to work. Coal miners are also known as “Colliers”.

#CheeseScience: Sheep’s milk has smaller fat globules than cow’s milk, rendering the milk more homogenized.

#CheeseFact: A single 2 lb. wheel of Roquefort requires 12 lb. of milk (but only from Lacaune, Manecsh, or Basco-Béaarnaise sheep breeds!)

#CheeseScience: Cheese is a great source of Vitamin B12, which helps red blood cell development.

#CheeseScience: Cheeses can contain dozens of different strains of bacteria, many of them incidentally introduced during the aging process.

#CheeseScience: Sheep’s & goat’s milk cheeses have smaller fatty acid molecules, so they’re easier to digest than cow’s milk cheeses.

#CheeseFact: Only about 1 percent of Dutch Gouda is farmstead cheese.

Garretts FerryGarretts Ferry

#CheeseScience: Take your cheese out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to serving to let the flavors properly open up.

#CheeseFact: Spanish and goat cheeses go particularly well with red wines, partially because of the cheese’s veg. acidity.

#CheeseScience: After giving birth, sheep lactate for 6–7 months; goats for 10 months; and cows for up to 2 years.

#CheeseFact: Wisconsin has earned the name “America’s Dairyland.” It’s home to more than 1,200 licensed cheesemakers & 124 cheese plants.

#CheeseFact: According to the US but not the EU, halloumi cheese can only be made in Cyprus with Cypriot sheep’s and goat’s milk.

#CheeseScience: Cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk have less than 5% lactose, while human milk has around 9%.

#CheeseScience: 1 tbsp of grated Parmesan has 1/3 the amount of sodium (~35 mg) of Pecorino Romano or grated process cheese.

#CheeseScience: A matchbox-size chunk of hard cheese constitutes about a third of an adult’s recommended daily calcium requirement.

#CheeseFact: The majority of Shropshire Blue cheese is made not in Shropshire but in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire

#CheeseScience: Cow’s milk is over 87% water.

#CheeseFact: Brillat-Savarin was created by cheesemaker Henri Androuet and named for 18th century gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

#CheeseScience: The probiotics in yogurt are widely recognized as a way to help repopulate and balance the good bacteria in our stomachs.

#CheeseScience: Sheep’s milk is more highly concentrated in nutrients than both cow’s and goat’s milk.

#CheeseFact: To evenly distribute the mold that makes blue cheese blue, cheesemakers pierce the cheese with needles so oxygen can get in.

#CheeseScience: Holstein cows produce milk with as little as 2.5% butterfat, while a Jersey cow’s milk can contain up to 4.9% butterfat.

#CheeseFact: Younger, fresher cheeses like ricotta or cream cheese have more lactose than older cheeses.

#CheeseScience: Cultured butter is made when a culture is added to cream during butter production, coagulating it into a crème fraîche.

#CheeseScience: When milk is heated in the beginning of the cheesemaking process, bacteria feast on the lactose & turn it into lactic acid.

Tumalo Farms' Aging Room

Tumalo Farms’ Aging Room

#CheeseFact: Historically, Stilton cheese was first sold at the Bell Inn in Stilton, England, a waypoint for travelers.

#CheeseScience: Penicillium glaucum is the spore (native to Italy) that is responsible for the blue/green/gray veining found in gorgonzola.

#CheeseFact: Franciscan friars originally made Monterey Jack in CA missions before entrepreneur David Jack popularized the cheese.

#CheeseScience: The milk of yak and reindeer is among the highest in butterfat content.

#CheeseFact: Because of their high salt content, blue cheeses pair very well with sweet accompaniments like fresh fruits or compotes.

#CheeseScience: Wrapping cheese with leaves soaked in wine or spirits imparts a delicate and subtle taste.

#CheeseFact: Milk proteins in cheese can neutralize plaque acids and enhance remineralization of tooth enamel.

#CheeseScience: Pigs in Parma feed on leftover Parmigiano Reggiano whey and produce meat that is deliciously dark, moist, and nutty.

#CheeseFact: Leaf-wrapped cheeses are protected from air and light and allows the plant’s natural flavors to seep into the curd.

#CheeseFact: One northern Italian bank maintains 300,000 wheels of Parmesan, worth $200 million, as collateral for loans.

#CheeseScience: Store cut cheese by wrapping it in waxed or parchment paper. This allows the cheese to breathe but retains its moisture.

#CheeseFact: The name “mozzarella” comes from the Neapolitan word “mozzare,” which means to cut off.

#CheeseScience: Cheese tastes saltier when eaten from a knife.

#CheeseScience: There is more lactose in younger cheeses such as ricotta or quark than in aged cheeses such as Gruyère or sharp cheddar.

#CheeseScience: Ayrshire cow’s milk has smaller fat globules, resulting in a cheese that’s easier to digest than other cow’s milk cheeses.

Ooey-gooey Marieke Gouda and Orange Fig Spread

Ooey-gooey Marieke Gouda and Orange Fig Spread

#CheeseScience: Goat cheeses are harder to pair with red wine because certain fatty acids impart a gamey flavor that fights with the wine.

#CheeseFact: Époisses was first made about 600 years ago by monks in the cistercian Abbaye de Citeaux.

#CheeseFact: Wisconsin has over 20 creameries that together make over a billion pounds of cheese a year.

#CheeseScience: Soft cheese curds are normally cut into larger pieces & handled extremely gently to retain their moisture & texture.

#CheeseScience: The calcium and phosphorous in cheese help prevent tooth decay.

#CheeseFact: Fresh cheeses are usually sold within 1 to 14 days after their production and include ricotta, fromage blanc, and chèvre.

#CheeseFact: American Alpine goats produce, on average, a gallon of milk per day.

#CheeseScience: Typically, feta sits in a brine of whey for 60 days in order to develop its firm texture and salty taste.

#CheeseFact: Most of the dairies in the eastern German Alps borrow their cows rather than own them.

#CheeseScience: Generally, a cheese’s fat and protein content are equal, but triple-cream cheeses have at least 3x as much fat as protein.

#CheeseScience: Animal rennet is a coagulating agent made from enzymes naturally produced in the stomachs of ruminant (cud-chewing) mammals

#CheeseFact: Cow’s milk cheeses pair well with Chardonnay, whose natural heft complements the grassy sweetness of the milk.

#CheeseScience: B/c of its high protein & fat content, it takes half as much sheep’s milk as cow’s milk to make the same amount of cheese.

#CheeseScience: Milk from Guernsey cows is high in A2 beta-casein, an easy-to-digest protein.

#CheeseFact: It takes up to 168 gallons of milk to make one wheel of Comté. Once aged, the wheel will weigh 75–85 pounds.

#CheeseFact: Without orange dye, cheeses made with winter milk (when cows are on dry feed) are paler than spring cheeses.

#CheeseFact: Protected Designation of Origin, or PDO, refers to an officially regulated food w/ strict regional and production standards.

#CheeseFact: “Farmstead” cheese must be made with milk from the farmer’s own herd or flock, on the farm where the animals are raised.

Adam Burstein ACS CCP

Adam Burstein ACS CCP

#CheeseScience: It takes 10 lbs. of cow’s or goat’s milk to make 1 lb. of cheese, but only 6 lbs. of sheep’s milk.

#CheeseFact: Mozzarella is a pasta filata (“spun paste”) cheese, named for the stretching process it undergoes to achieve a stringy quality

#CheeseFact: A dry rosé works best with fresh mozzarella.

#CheeseScience: The yellowness of butter comes from the beta-carotene in the grass cows eat.

#CheeseFact: The state of California squeezed out 42 billion lbs. of raw milk in 2012, 43% of which went into making cheese.

#CheeseScience: Ricotta translates to “re-cooked” in English, since it’s made by reheating whey discarded from traditional cheesemaking.

#CheeseFact: Homer mentions goat cheese in the Iliad (he recommends crumbling some in a glass of wine along with some barley meal).

#CheeseScience: Over 60 days, lactic bacteria in raw-milk cheese increase acids to a level inhospitable to pathogens, making it safe to eat.

#CheeseFact: Light, wheat beers pair well with mozzarella and fruit beers pair well with mascarpone.

#CheeseFact: Archeological remains of cheese have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back over 5,000 years.

#CheeseScience: Studies show that cows can smell things up to 6 miles away.

#CheeseFact: Normandy cows are known for their high-protein and high-butterfat milk, docile demeanor, and flavorful meat.

#CheeseScience: The cambium layer—the thin sheet between the bark and the heartwood—of spruce trees is used to wrap fresh Winnimere.

#CheeseFact: Washed-rind cheeses are washed repeatedly w/ brine, beer, or wine while aging to inhibit mold & grow flavor-enhancing bacteria

Parmigiano-Reggiano (Raw); French Goat Brie (Pasteurized); Stilton (Pasteurized); Sleeping Beauty (Raw)

Parmigiano-Reggiano (Raw); French Goat Brie (Pasteurized); Stilton (Pasteurized); Sleeping Beauty (Raw)

#CheeseScience: When storing softer cheese, it’s important to flip it upside down to keep the moisture content consistent throughout.

#CheeseFact: Sardinia’s Pecora Sarda ewes produce 50 percent of all the milk used to create Italy’s pecorino cheeses.

#CheeseScience: Triple cream cheeses must have a butterfat content of 75% or higher.

#CheeseScience: The cultures that create the small holes and unique flavor of Swiss cheeses such as Emmental are Propionibacterium.

#CheeseFact: Rennet is an enzyme preparation derived from the stomach lining of suckling calves, kids, or lambs.

#CheeseScience: Cheesemakers wash some cheeses in brine, a saltwater solution, in order to slow bacterial growth and impart a salty flavor.

#CheeseFact: One of the biggest tricks of cheesemaking is teasing the nutrients from the milk and discarding most of the water.

#CheeseScience: When cheese is cold, the fat molecules contract and hold in molecules known as odorants, making the cheese less flavorful.

#CheeseFact: A giant wheel of Cheddar cheese was given to Queen Victoria (1837-1901) for a wedding gift. It weighed over 1,000 pounds.

#CheeseScience: Yak’s milk cheese is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linolecic acid (CLA), both healthful types of fat.

#CheeseFact: Jasper Hill’s Winnimere is made only from October-April, when the cows are on dry feed and their milk is 20% higher in fat.

#CheeseFact: Holstein cows comprise more than 90 percent of the U.S. dairy population.

#CheeseFact: Mexican cheese from the mountains is fattier b/c it doesn’t dry out. Valley cheese is saltier since it needs more preserving.

#CheeseScience: Goat’s milk is richer in calcium, vitamin B6, & niacin, while cow’s milk has higher levels of vitamin B12 & folic acid.

#CheeseFact: The piney earthiness of the juniper berries in #gin pairs well with milder sheep’s milk

: Raclette—a Swiss cheese traditionally melted fireside & eaten w/ potatoes—comes from the French “racler,” meaning “to scrape”

: Marie Antoinette played at being a milkmaid with a silver pail and ivory milking stool.

: 80% of microbes found in raw milk come from udders and the external environment.

: Plastic wrap doesn’t allow moisture to escape; it stays on the surface of cheese, which can lead to mold growth and spoilage.

: Sparkling wine makes strong cheese taste stronger, while the acidity and bubbles can make super rich cheeses less overwhelming

Salt Spring Island Chevre

Salt Spring Island Chevre

My thanks to Lassa Skinner and the staff at Culture Magazine for assembling this information and allowing me to share it with you.

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Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™,Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.

List of all Interviews from 2013: Cheesemakers, Cheesemongers.

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Taking the 2015 Exam? Please see my page on Tips for Studying for the Exam. Want support? Come join our 2015 Cheese Study Group.

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