ORIGIN, PRODUCTION, AND USE OF CHEESE
ORIGIN, PRODUCTION, AND USE OF CHEESE: Cheese is a product that is manufactured from the solids of milk, and it provides a valuable food. The making of cheese was known in ancient times, it having probably originated through a desire to utilize an oversupply of milk. When cheese was first made, the fact that bacteria were present was not known, nor were the reasons for the spoiling of milk understood; but it was learned that milk can be kept if most of its water is removed. This discovery was very important, for it led to various methods of making cheese and proved that cheese making was a satisfactory and convenient means of storing nourishment in a form that was not bulky and that would keep for long periods of time. From a very small beginning, the different methods of making cheese became popular, until at the present time more than three hundred varieties are made and their manufacture forms one of the large industries of the world.
Cheese offers a valuable source of nutriment for the body, because its food value ranks high. The food value in 1 pound of cheese is equivalent to that in 2 pounds of beef, that in 24 eggs, or that in 4 pounds of fish. The use of cheese, however, is not nearly so great as its food value warrants, the amount used in the United States per capita being only about 3-1/2 pounds annually. This is a condition that should be overcome, for there is a large variety of ways in which cheese can be used to advantage in the diet. When eaten raw, it is very appetizing, and when used with soups, sauces, and foods that have a bland taste, it lends additional flavor and makes an especially attractive dish. In addition, the fact that it is an economical food and can be conveniently kept and stored should recommend its frequent use.
COMPOSITION OF CHEESE: Since cheese is a product of milk, it is somewhat similar to milk in composition, but the change that occurs in the formation of cheese causes some differences. Nearly all the water present in milk is removed during the manufacture of cheese, so that this product becomes a concentrated food made up of all the nourishment that milk contains except small amounts of albumin, milk sugar, and mineral matter. These, because they are in solution in the water, are lost when the whey is separated from the curd. The food substances that occur in the largest amounts are fat and protein in the form of casein, which is the tissue-building material of milk. Cheese made from milk that contains some cream has in it a greater amount of fat than that made from completely skimmed milk. Besides these two chief food substances, cheese contains a small amount of milk sugar, mineral matter, and water.
On account of the large quantity of protein found in cheese, this food can readily take the place of meat in the diet; in fact, it has some decided advantages over meat. As has been pointed out, cheese yields more than twice as much food value as an equal weight of beef. Then, too, the buying and care of cheese are much simpler matters than the buying and care of meat. As it does not require the low temperature that meat requires and does not spoil so readily, it can be bought in considerable quantity and used as desired without danger of spoiling and loss. In addition, the use of cheese as food does not require so much skill in preparation as meat does, nor is there loss of flavor and nutriment in its preparation, as is often the case with meat.
QUALITY OF CHEESE: Every variety of cheese has its own standard and quality, some being hard and dry, others moist, and still others very soft. The difference in quality is due to the way in which the curd is coagulated, the amount of pressure that is put on it, and the ripening of the cheese. The holes that often occur in cheese and give it a porous appearance are formed by gas, which is the product of the growth of bacteria. A large number of very small holes in cheese indicate that the milk used to make it was not clean and contained many kinds of bacteria. This condition could be overcome by the use of absolutely clean milk; indeed, milk of this kind is as necessary for the production of good cheese as it is for the making of good butter. Certain cheeses, such as Limburger and Roquefort, have a typical odor and flavor, the odor being due to bacteria and the flavor to mold. These are carefully grown and introduced into the cheese during its manufacture.
CARE OF CHEESE: The very strong odor and flavor that characterize cheese make it necessary that care be given to cheese in the home in order to prevent it from coming in contact with other foods and transmitting its odor and flavor to them. The best place to keep cheese, particularly the soft varieties, is in the refrigerator, where it should be placed in a closed receptacle and kept as far as possible from foods that are easily tainted. It is well to avoid a damp place for the keeping of cheese, as mold frequently develops on the outside when too much moisture is present; but in case mold does appear it can be removed by cutting a thin slice from the side on which it has grown. On the other hand, cheese that is kept in a dry place becomes hard and dry unless it is wrapped in oiled paper or a damp cloth. However, such cheese need not be thrown away, for there are numerous uses, particularly in cooking, to which it can be put.
KINDS OF CHEESE;
CLASSIFICATION OF VARIETIES
The cheese used in the United States may be included under two leading classes, namely, foreign cheese and domestic cheese. Since the foreign cheeses are imported, they are more expensive than the cheeses made here, and should not be bought if cheese is to be used as an economical article of food. They are valuable chiefly for their flavor and are generally bought for this reason. The domestic cheeses can be used in larger quantities, for, besides being less expensive, they are usually of a milder type and are more easily digested. To enable the housewife to become familiar with the principal varieties of each of these classes, a discussion of them, including their names, characteristics, and, in some cases, their use and the method of making, is here given.
Each of the European countries has originated its own peculiar kind of cheese, which remains representative of a certain people or locality. The majority of these cheeses have met with so much favor in the United States that large quantities of them are continually imported. A few of them have been copied here with success, but others have not been successfully made. While these are not in such common use as the domestic cheeses, it is well for every one to know their names and the characteristics by which they can be identified.
ENGLISH CHEESE: Chief among the kinds of cheeses made in England is CHEDDAR CHEESE. It is rich, double-thick cream cheese, ranging from a pale to a dark yellow, although when uncolored it may be white. Such cheese, when fresh, has a milk flavor, but when it is well ripened it has a characteristic sharp taste. New Cheddar cheese is soft, but not waxy, in texture and may readily be shaved or broken into small pieces; when it is well ripened, it may be grated. English Cheddar cheese is not unlike AMERICAN CHEDDAR CHEESE, or, as it is commonly called, American cream cheese, which is shown by b. In fact the American variety is made according to the method used for the English. Owing to its characteristics, flavor, and abundance, Cheddar cheese, both English and American, is the kind that is used most extensively in the United States.
ENGLISH DAIRY CHEESE, shown at d, is similar to Cheddar cheese, although it has a reddish color and, on account of the method of manufacture, it is harder. This kind of cheese lends itself well to cooking, as it may be easily grated.
CHESHIRE CHEESE, a well-known English variety, is a dry cream cheese made from whole cow's milk. It is deep yellow or red in color, similar in flavor to Cheddar cheese, and is used in much the same manner.
HOLLAND CHEESE: The variety of cheese is known as EDAM CHEESE. It is a hard rennet cheese of a red color and is mild in flavor. This kind of cheese is molded into the shape of a ball, the outside of which is usually dyed red, and will keep for a long period of time. Edam cheese is one of the important products of the Netherlands, and while it is seldom used in cookery in the homes of this
country, it is served at the table. Usually a section of the top is cut off to serve as a lid while the inside is scooped out as needed.
Sometimes, after most of the cheese has been removed, the hollow shell is stuffed with macaroni or rice that has been cooked and seasoned and the food then baked in the shell.
FRENCH CHEESES. Among the French cheeses, the variety called GRUYERE CHEESE, is well liked. It is usually made of skim milk, has a yellow color and a mild, sweetish flavor, and contains large holes like those found in Swiss and Emmenthal cheeses, varieties that are very similar to it. Like these cheeses, Gruyere cheese may be used in cooking or served without cooking, being used considerably in the making of sandwiches.
BRIE CHEESE is a French variety of very soft cheese, with a strong flavor and odor. It is made from whole or partly skimmed cow's milk coagulated by means of rennet. This kind of cheese is used mostly as an accompaniment to other foods.
CAMEMBERT CHEESE, which is shown at h, is also a soft cheese. It is made by practically the same process as Brie cheese and is used in the same way. This cheese has a typical odor. Its rind is thick and dry, but its center is very soft, being sometimes almost liquid.
NEUFCHATEL CHEESE, which is shown at i, is a soft rennet cheese made from cow's milk. It is made at Neufchatel-en-Bray, France, and not at Neufchatel, Switzerland. This variety of cheese is wrapped in tin-foil and sold in small packages. It is used chiefly for salads, sandwiches, etc. As it does not keep well after the package is opened, the entire contents should be used at one time.
ROQUEFORT CHEESE, is a hard, highly flavored cheese made from sheep's milk coagulated with rennet. It has a marbled
appearance, which is due to a greenish mold that is introduced. Roquefort cheese is frequently served with crackers at the end of a meal, and is well liked by many persons.
ITALIAN CHEESES: From Italy is imported a cheese, called PARMESAN CHEESE, that is used extensively for flavoring soups and macaroni dishes. This cheese, is very hard and granular and, provided it is well made, it will keep for years. Owing to its characteristics, it may be easily grated. It can be bought by the pound and grated as it is needed, or it can be secured already grated in bottles.
GORGONZOLA, another Italian cheese. It is not unlike Roquefort in appearance and in use, but it is made from whole cow's milk coagulated with rennet. Into this cheese is also introduced a mold that gives its center a streaked or mottled appearance.
SWISS CHEESES: Possibly the best known cheese imported from Switzerland is the variety known as SWISS, or SWITZER, CHEESE. This kind of cheese has different names, depending on the district of Switzerland in which it is made. Nevertheless all of them are similar and have a mild, sweet flavor. Swiss cheese may be readily recognized by its pale yellow color and the presence of large holes, although it resembles Gruyere cheese very closely.
EMMENTHAL CHEESE is a variety of fairly hard cheese that originated in Switzerland, but is now made in many other countries. It is similar to Swiss cheese, being made from whole cow's milk and characterized by large holes about 3 inches apart.
SAPSAGO CHEESE, is a skim-milk cheese made in Switzerland. It is a very hard cheese, and therefore suitable for grating. In the process of making this cheese, melilot, a clover-like herb, is added, and this gives the cheese a green color and a peculiar flavor.
BELGIAN CHEESE: A cheese that originated in Belgium, but is now manufactured in other countries, is the variety known as LIMBURG, or LIMBURGER, CHEESE. It is a soft rennet cheese made from whole cow's milk. It is very strong in taste and smell, due to putrefactive germs that are added to the milk in its manufacture.
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