The moon is slowly disappearing each passing evening. It’s surface textured like the of a round ball of Swiss cheese in the sky. I imagine the big dipper to be a fondue pot awaiting the cheese to make some delicious fondue for the gods. Perhaps that’s where the moon goes every month is into the pot…
But enough of that, this new moon I would like to talk about cheese. What is it and how does it come to be?
Looking at the history of cheese it has been around since before recorded history and it’s origin is assumed to lie in the practice of transporting milk in bladders made of ruminants’ stomachs(mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a special stomach prior to digestion otherwise known as cows). It’s hard to say where it originated exactly, the process itself was likely discovered accidentally since animal stomachs and inflated organs were traditionally used to carry food. The usefulness of rennet in turning milk into curd and whey was discovered this way since they would’ve been living in these organs – Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in the stomachs of ruminants. These enzymes are a catalyst that separate milk into solid curds for cheese making and liquid whey.
In the 1860s mass-produced rennet happened as a result of scientists producing pure microbial cultures. Instead of relying on bacteria from the environment or from recycling an earlier batch’s whey. Which meant more standardized cheese could be produced (I’m drawing many parallels with wine making here in my brain).
Some interesting facts to note: Before fridges cheese was stored in ceramic dishes to prolong their life and the first industrial cheese factory opened in Switzerland in 1815 so no wonder I like cheese so much, it’s in my heritage!
There is much more to the history of cheese but that’s enough theory I prefer practice.
Here’s a link to my favorite YouTube chef on how to make cream cheese
And this is my favorite Swiss mountain cheese.