ACS Body of Knowledge – Domain One Raw Materials of Cheesemaking – Bullet Points – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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ACS Body of Knowledge – Domain One Raw Materials of Cheesemaking – Bullet Points

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For all of you studying for the “Big Dance” in July or simply wanting to expand your cheese knowledge with facts and not myths, I have started a Cheese Study Group at Facebook. It is open to anyone wanting to learn more about the world of cheese. Come join our 2015 Cheese Study Group.

The group is following the American Cheese Society Body of Knowledge which consists of Nine Domains. This is our “cheese bible”.

For Domain 1 (The Raw Material for Cheesemaking) , I created this bullet point list with terms to know:

Body of Knowledge – Domain 1 – Raw Materials of Cheesemaking – Bullet points of information:

  • Milk is made-up of Water, Fat, Protein, Sugar (Lactose) and Minerals.
  • Water in cows’ and goats’ milk is approximately 87%, 82% in sheep milk and 81% in buffalo milk. (There are differences depending on breed.)
  • Remember that milk is seasonal in terms of fat, protein and yield. Fat and protein content increase the closer to the end of the lactation cycle as yield decreases. When yield is higher, fat and protein are lower.
  • Fats, proteins and minerals in milk are used to make cheese.
  • Butterfat in cows’ milk is 3.7%, in goats’ milk is about 3.6%, sheep milk is about 7.4% and in buffalo milk 8.3%. (There are differences depending on breed.)
  • Butterfat content varies from breed to breed. Be sure and familiarize yourself with which breeds have higher butterfat and be able to rank higher to lower (or vice versa).
  • Protein important in cheese are the caseins, which increase yield, speed-up coagulation and create a firmer curd.
  • Primary mineral to understand is Calcium Phosphate. Calcium Phosphate. Refer to page 124 of American Farmstead Cheese by Paul Kindstedt.
  • Lactose is the sugar in milk. Most is washed away with the whey and what remains converts to lactic acid, usually within a few days. With the exception of fresh cheeses, most cheeses aged more than 60 days contain no lactose. (If sugar content listed in ingredients is 0% or 0 grams, then the cheese contains no lactose.)
  • Ruminant is a mammal that derives its nutrition from a plant-based diet. The digestion of food occurs in its four stomachs.
  • Lactation periods: cows 305 days; goats 290-305 days and sheep 240 days. (Again, varies depending on breeds.)
  • Milk yield per day: Cows is about 8 gallons; goats 3 to 4 quarts and sheep about 2 quarts. (Again, varies depending on breeds.)
  • Definition of pasteurized milk: The terms “pasteurization”, “pasteurized” and similar terms shall mean the process of heating every particle of milk or milk product, in properly designed and operated equipment, to one (1) of the temperatures given in the following chart and held continuously at or above that temperature for at least the corresponding specified time: Temperature Time 63ºC (145ºF)* 30 minutes 72ºC (161ºF)* 15 seconds 89ºC (191ºF) 1.0 second 90ºC (194ºF) 0.5 seconds 94ºC (201ºF) 0.1 seconds 96ºC (204ºF) 0.05 seconds 100ºC (212ºF) 0.01 seconds.
  • Raw milk definition: Milk from the cow that has not been heat-treated to a temperature higher than the temp when it came from the animal.
  • Rennet, necessary to coagulate milk, traditionally is made from an enzyme (Chymosin) found in the 4th stomach of an unweaned ruminant (generally a calf although rennet can come from lambs and kids). The fourth stomach is known as the abomasum. Today, rennets are created in labs, which are cheaper to produce and considered “vegetarian suitable”. Many Portuguese cheeses use thistle for coagulation.
  • Somatic Cell Count – measurement of somatic cells (primarily white blood cells) in milk. Caused by infection (generally mastisis). Any number above 400,000 indicates milk is unfit for human consumption.
  • Vat pasteurization (LTLT) – Heating milk for 30 minutes at 145 degrees F.
  • Starter Culture bacteria are added to milk to start fermentation to form curd. The cultures also dictate the style cheese being made. Cultures affect aroma, texture, flavor. They help break down proteins to create different “finishes” in cheese. (e.g. p. shermani is added to create the gas (CO2) which forms the eyes in swiss-style cheeses)
  • Importance of salt in cheesemaking – includes contributing to lactic acid production, moisture control, rind creation, texture, flavor. Salt can be added at different steps to create different results. (Salting before pressing in cheddars, salting rind after pressing , brine soaking, bring for preserving such as feta and Havarti.)


Terms to know:

Alpage   Annatto   Beta Carotene   Butterfat   Casein   Chymosin   Coliform   Cultures   Diacetyl  E.Coli

High Temperature Short Time (HTST)   Lactase   Lactose   Lipases   Lipolysis   Listeria Monocytogenes

Mastitis   Mesophillic   Microbial Rennet   Microflora   Pasteurized Milk   Pathogen   Proteolysis

Raw Milk definition   Rennet   Rotational Grazing   Ruminants   Salmonella   Silage

Somatic Cell   Somatic Cell Count   Staphylococcus aureus   Terroir   Thermization or thermalization

Thermophillic   Transhumance   Vat pasteurization


Interviews with All Cheese Professionals: Cheesemakers and Cheese Professionals

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.

List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.

List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.

Please “Like” MarcellaTheCheesemonger Page on FaceBook.

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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