Cheese: characteristics and fat content of different varieties

Whether on bread, as a snack for wine or for baking, cheese enjoys great popularity with the Germans. Cheese consumption has risen steadily in the last decade. In 2016, every German consumed an average of 23.63 kilograms of cheese. Cheese is a very valuable part of the daily diet because it contains protein, fat, carbohydrates and calcium as well as many vitamins. Whether you like your cheese fine and mild in the aroma, or perhaps prefer it hearty, it does not matter. Here only the taste and smell nerves are decisive.

How to differentiate cheeses

Cheese is differentiated according to five different criteria:

  1. type of milk
  2. Method of coagulation
  3. raw materials
  4. maturation
  5. consistency

1. Milk: Which milk is made from cheese?

In our region, cheese is produced primarily from cow's milk. However, specialties from sheep, goat and buffalo milk are also becoming increasingly popular. For example, mozzarella is becoming increasingly popular. Originally, this is a cheese specialty from Italy, which is made from buffalo milk. Mozzarella is mainly offered as a cow's milk product, which tastes much milder than the original.

2. Coagulation method - rennet or lactic acid bacteria

The basis of cheese production is based on the "thickening" of the milk. This process can be done through the use of rennet or lactic acid bacteria. The protein coagulates and the milk thickens. It then creates the so-called Labkäse, to which the majority of cheeses belongs, or sour milk cheese such as hand and basket cheese.

Anyone who pays attention to the fat content of cheese, is well served with sour milk cheese. He is always one of the cheeses of the leaner stage (below ten percent fat in the dry matter).

Lab is an enzyme that occurs in calf stomachs and causes milk protein to clot. In addition to an animal lab from calf stomach, the enzyme can today also be obtained from microorganisms or molds and from genetically modified bacteria.

3. Raw materials: raw milk or pasteurized?

Before milk is thickened, it is usually pasteurized, that is, heated to about 75 degrees Celsius for a few seconds to preserve the product for longer and to neutralize unwanted microorganisms. In contrast, in the production of raw milk cheese, the milk is not pasteurized but only heated to a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius.

As a result, both naturally occurring microorganisms, which are important for the flavor formation and maturation of the cheese, as well as unwanted bacteria from the raw milk in the cheese pass. These include the Listeria. These are bacteria that can trigger the so-called listeriosis, a disease that can lead to death and premature birth in pregnancy. Raw milk cheese must be labeled "from raw milk".

Many cheeses, originally known as raw milk cheese (for example, Parmesan and Emmental) are now also commercially available as pasteurized cheeses. If the cheese does not contain a separate "raw milk" label, it can be eaten without hesitation.

4th maturation - the duration varies

To develop the taste, aroma and appearance, every cheese has to ripen. The time required for this varies from cheese to cheese. For example, Camemberts require a maturity of one to two weeks. Edam, Gouda, Tilsiter and mushroom cheese mature for about five weeks. An Allgäu Emmentaler has to mature for at least three months. The only exception is the cream cheese, this does not need time to ripen.

5. Consistency: from hard cheese to soft cheese

Depending on the type of cheese, the consistency varies from spreadable cream cheese to hard cheese (for example Emmentaler, Gruyère, Parmesan).

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