History of Cheese††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Along with many other great findings, cheese was discovered by accident.According to history, a traveling Arabic merchant had brought some milk along for his journeys.The pouch in which he placed the milk was lined by that of the stomach of a sheep.As he traveled, the heat from the sun activated the enzyme, rennin, found in the stomach lining.This made the milk turn into its liquid whey and solid curd or cheese components.And thus cheese was revealed.

††††††††† The exact time of the appearance of cheese is unknown.However, cheese has its earliest record dating back to the ancient Sumerians circa de 3500BC.It is believed to have been in wider use in Asia which then migrated to Europe.Cheese was mentioned in Homerís epic, The Odyseey, in the scene in which the Cyclops is making cheese and placing in wicker baskets.Later, during the Roman Empire, the process of cheese making was extended.Milks from different sources began to be mixed, and a variety of seasonings were added to produce an abundance of flavors.Italy became the Mecca of cheese making in Europe at this time.

††††††††† The Middle Ages show a decline in the production and consumption of cheese.The process was mainly carried out by monks in the European monasteries.The monks studied the process of curing the cheese and its effects, which lead to improved ripening techniques.Brie and Camembert are examples of the cheese types that were developed.

††† ††††† Cheese arrived in America as soon as the Mayflower landed and became a staple component of the American diet.For a long time, cheese was produced individually or by local farms until the appearance of the first cheese factory.This came about in Oneida County, NY in 1851 and was started by Jesse Williams who began the mass production due to demand for his desirable cheese.From this beginning the cheese industry began to flourish.In 2003, the top three world cheese producers were:1.European Union with 5.5 million metric tons, 2.The United States with 4.0 million metric tons, and 3.Brazil with 500,000 million metric tons.The European Union and the U.S. were also the leading consumers of cheese and its related products.

††††††††† The process has had many developments throughout history.Nowadays, instead of using the enzyme, rennin, a synthetic chymotrypsin derivative is sometimes used, along with extracts from molds and plants.The plethora of flavors is due to the manipulation of a variety of factors including:††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††

1.     The kind of milk used = cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, reindeer, camel, yak, etc.†††††††††

2.     The curding, cutting, cooking, and forming methods.

3.     The type of bacteria or mold used in ripening.

4.     The amount of salt/other seasonings added.

5.     The ripening and curing conditions = temperature, humidity, time, etc.

With over 2000 types, cheese is one of the most versatile foods in the world.

††††††††† Currently, about one third of the milk produced in the U.S. each year is used in the manufacturing of cheese.Since it does come from milk, cheese contains a concentrated amount of almost all of the valuable nutrients found in milk.However, excessive quantities of cheese should be avoided.††††


History of Cheese
The Cheese Process
Contributing Microorganisms
Making Cheese
Fun Facts