Tag: Cheese history
A Match Made In Heaven: When Bread Meets Cheese- Part One
Pao de Queijo- Brazil
Usually served at breakfast, this cheese-flavored roll is crispy on the outside and very chewy on the inside. Parmesan is often the cheese of choice in which this roll is made with for a delicious hit of cheese.
The crispy outside of this Bolivian treat contrasts so well with the soft, cheesy inside. The key ingredients to this delicious bread are either cassava or tapioca flour inside of all-purpose flour that most people use.
In the U.S, people often call a “Danish” something that consists of sweet cheese and pastry but traditionally in Copenhagen, a Danish is a delicious piece of rye bread which is coated in meats and butter with smoked or pickled fish as well as sliced cheeses.
Banerov Hatz- Armenia
This is a delicious combination of cheese and onions which are spread over a thin piece of dough which looks quite like a pizza. Some might say that it resembles an Alsatian Tarte Flambee.
Nobody combines bread and cheese better than Italy! This grilled cheese sandwich is known as Panino and dates back to Milanese sandwich bars called Pani note Che from the 1970s. It can often contain salads and of course, delicious melted cheese.
Paneer Paratha- India
This famous cheese “Paneer” of India is used in this Indian delicacy which is paired with unleavened bread “Paratha”. These two pairs up and get filled with spiced and are fried and served at breakfast or on it’s on for a light meal.
Beer And Cheese Soda Bread- Ireland
Since the Irish love beer and sharp cheese, it is no surprise that their contribution to this list is beer and cheese soda bread. There is no yeast in the soda bread but there are beer and cheese, which is good enough for us. Some people even add bacon to the mix, what could be better?
For toasties, cheddar cheese is the selected cheese for this English delicacy. It is pretty much England’s version of the grilled cheese from the U.S. However, the difference between toastie’s and grilled cheese is that the toastie is buttered on the inside and is toasted.
These little bread balls are sweet and spongy which are served throughout Indian subcultures in Southeast Asia, Bangladesh in particular. Rasgullas are usually made with an Indian cottage cheese known as ‘Chhena’. They are also made with semolina dough and light syrup. People often eat them as a dessert.
Pan de Bono- Colombia
Very similar to a Colombian bagel, Pan de Bono is usually paired with a hot chocolate. It is made out of cornmeal, question, egg, starch and feta cheese.
Fried bread is one of the most popular street foods in Hungary. However, the sour cream and melted shredded cheese on top make it a lot more savory. A lot of the time, vendors will add other toppings to it or stuff them with requested ingredients.
Flammkuchen translates to flame cake and is quite similar to pizza. Its thin dough is topped with onions, pork, and soft cheese. It is then cooked in a wood-fired oven to create the perfect combination of gooey, crispy cheese bread.
This perfect combination created by Greeks is feta and bread which is best served warm. It is usually served with dinner, however, leftovers can be reheated to accompany breakfast.
Croque Monsieur- France
Despite this sandwich not being able to exist without the ham, it still is best known for its cheese as well. The French cheese is similar to Gruyere with its nutty flavor which is placed in between two slices of bread and topped with nutmeg. It is then baked, broiled and served.
This popular snack is eaten instead of pizza in Georgia. It is made with sugar, dry yeast, flour, salt, and olive oil. It is topped with lots of butter, eggs and feta cheese and a melty cheese. Yum!
Discovering Dutch Cheeses
Amongst the famous windmills and glorious green pastures full of grazing cattle, Holland’s history has a heritage of cheese, milk, and butter that dates back centuries. Although the country is just a speck on the world map, it may be surprising to know that such a small European country is, in fact, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products! Holland sends the majority of their cheese to America, Western Europe, and Japan, the dairy industry is what keeps Holland thriving.
The Dutch cheese industry has undergone a massive modernisation in this last century. Modernisation that has brought technology such as milking machines and computers to farm. Despite the advancements, there are still many dairies who make cheese the traditional way, as well.
Cheese making remains an art which is ingrained in Dutch culture. Traditional cheese markets are still held in the towns of Gouda, Edam, Woerden, and Alkmaar, to this day. Not only that but visitors can explore cheese museums and sixteenth and seventeenth-century whey houses throughout the Netherlands.
As we all know, Holland is home to one of the world’s greatest cheeses-Gouda, but it is also home to many more excellent creations which are definitely worth appreciating:
This cheese showed up a little late to the cheese game, being created in the 1990s. Nonetheless, this sweet buttery cheese is delicious in its own right, is made from cow’s milk and a lot less expensive than the original Swiss variety. Its shape is like a boulder and is domed on top and has large holes throughout. You can enjoy this cheese in many different ways, salads, sandwiches, and breakfasts.
Famous all over the world, Edam is Holland’s second most exported cheese, after Gouda. It is made from skimmed or part-skimmed cow’s milk and is semi-hard. The pressed cheese is usually shaped balls which range from 1-4 pounds in weight. People generally consume Edam whilst is is still young in age. The color is pale yellow with a smooth texture and sweet, nutty flavor. You can enjoy this cheese in many ways such as with a tall glass of Pinot Noir or a pint of dark beer.
Leyden is a traditional farmhouse cheese which is a big favorite of the Dutch. It is made from a partial blend of skimmed cow’s milk and buttermilk. Cumin seeds or caraway are mixed in with the curds before they are pressed so that the aroma gives off a spicy note along with a creamy, nutty flavor. It can be quite similar to Gouda, but it is a lot drier and is shaped differently. The rind is also painted with red plastic or annatto. You can enjoy Leyden with a nice glass of dark beer and bread on the side.
This is definitely Holland’s most famous cheese and it is also its biggest export, contributing to more than half of the country’s cheese production. Gouda gets its name from the Dutch town which is outside of Rotterdam and the flavor is very similar to Edam, with the exception that it is made from whole or part-skimmed cow’s milk. The creamier texture and yellow interior are due to the higher fat content. You can either eat Gouda fresh or aged. The vary in flavor is that when it is young, the flavor is sweet and fruity. When it is aged, it is more complex and cheddar-like. If you mature it for over 18 months, the cheese is coated in black wax while younger variations are covered in rinds of yellow wax. Gouda can be a delicious table cheese or a great addition to a wine pairing.
Even though this cheese is produced in some of Holland’s modernized dairy plants, the savory kind is still smoked using ancient brick ovens which are filled with smoldering hickory chips. A lot of cheese lovers will attest that the brick ovens make the smoky, brown rind the cheese’s best part. The cheese as a whole is creamy yellow colored and can be flavored with garlic or herbs. Smoked Gouda would definitely be an amazing addition to a cheese board.
Dutch Mimolette (Commissiekaas)
This creamy, hard cheese made from cow’s milk is bright orange with rough gritty skin. It might as well be an aged Edam colored with carrot juice. This cheese takes around 6-12 months to ripen and when young the texture is firm and oily. When it is aged, however, its colors turns into a deeper orange and the cheese texture becomes harder. Its aroma is fruity with a nutty flavor.
Exploring South African Cheese
South Africa is a newcomer to the cheese industry compared to countries of Europe. In the past 10 years, the craft has significantly developed all over the South African countryside, attracting a bigger cheese-loving audience than ever.
The South African Cheese Trends
Sales of cheese increase about 1.8% each year as popularity grows. On the other hand, in South Africa, the sale of cheese is rising at almost double that, with the rate of 3% per annum. The reason for this is the changing lifestyles of the country.
Rather than dining in, a lot more consumers are dining outside of the home and enjoying cheeses as an ingredient in a number of dishes- an estimated 1,000 metric tons of South African Mozzarella is used on pizza in a month alone! With popular television food shows and cookbooks becoming more trendy, these only add to the reason why cheese is becoming a bigger part of the South African diet.
The Production Of South African Cheese
With the consumption of cheese in France being at 25kg per year and 9kg per year for Australia, New Zealand, and England, it is clear that South Africa only seems at the early stages of cheese production, being at only 1.9kg a year. However, this doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t a huge opportunity for growth.
Twelve big, modern cheese factories in South Africa currently produce about 65% of the country’s cheese. The rest of production takes place in small to medium shops. A lot of the cheese makers are located near the coastal areas where water is readily available and the weather is a lot better for production. More than half of the countries cheese is produced in the Western Cape, also known as the South African cheese province.
Varieties Of South African Cheese
Generally, South Africans have preferred the milder cheeses. The statistics show that of the 82,000 metric tons of cheese South Africa produces per year, 31% is Cheddar, and 20% is Gouda. Because of their versatility, cream cheese,, feta and mozzarella are also favored.
However, over the past 10 years of the cheese market growing and developing, new cheese making methods have introduced South African consumers to more flavorful cheese, French and artisan types in particular. As their palets adjust more to these new flavor profiles, the demand for specialty cheeses continues to rise.
South African cheese markets only carried a few fast selling cheese varieties in the past. However, today markets and delis are stocked with many varieties of blue-veined, brine-ripened, and specialty goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses, similar to those made in France, Switzerland and Denmark.
To further the growing popularity, the first annual South African Cheese Festival was held in 2002, but today it is hailed of the countries premier food event where cheese makers get to introduce the new and exciting cheese types they have been developing. Some of the new South African varieties include Kwaito, Wookie, and Bokmakiri, which is a soft goat’s cheese covered with garlic and pepper.
The Cheese Exports Of South Africa
The uniqueness and quality of South African cheese have improved drastically that many cheese lovers think that the country needs to develop its own program for registering the designation of origin cheeses. The labeling would show genuine quality, tradition and local production of South African cheeses.
This might happen when South Africa becomes a true cheese exporting country. Currently, a limited number of South African cheese manufacturers have exported their cheese to the European Union under the EU/SA Free Trade Agreement. We will all just have to eagerly wait to enjoy the delicious cheese that South Africa has to offer, as they strive to overcome exporting hurdles.
Cheeses Of Australia And New Zealand
With many European influences, the world down under is home to a huge array of delicious cheeses. The first cheese making in Australia and New Zealand began in around the 1700s when the first European settlers arrived. The variants they began to create in the beginning were Cheddar, English Cheshire and Leicester, the rest are favorites Aussie originals.
A new demand for continental-style cheeses flooded the nation when Italian and Greek migrants arrived. In today’s day, with Australia being rich in immigrants from all over the world, cheese makers locally produce cheeses from all corners of the world. The market is bursting with top-quality variations of Italian, Greek, English, and French cheese.
Although a lot of the cheeses are replicas of European classics with slight differences in flavor and texture, the amazing landscape of Australia and New Zealand seems to create cheeses with deliciousness in their own right. There are approximately 105 variations of cheese made down under and it’s definitely worth it to try discovering a whole different world of cheeses.
Here are some of the classics of Australia and New Zealand that will have you tempted:
Woodside Cabecou hails from the Adelaide region. The white, soft goat’s milk variety was originally created by Paula Jenkins. Its texture is almost mousse-like and very acidic, when young. With age, the cheese gets harder, giving off a more ‘mushroom’ aroma and flavor. It is distinguished by a thin, natural crust with a wrinkled, yellow color.
Gippsland is one of the first farmhouse cheeses that was made in Australia. It is sweet and buttery with a naturally orange crust dusted with grey-blue molds. The cheese makers, Tarago River Cheese Company, uses the milk of Jersey cows which creates a smooth, creamy texture and gives it a deep yellow color. The cheese ripens in about 8 to 10 weeks and forms into rounds. It is incredibly delicious on its own but can also be added to dishes and grilled.
This cheese is a type of modern cheddar made from cow’s milk, but it is not as hard or as smooth as traditional cheddar. It ripens for over a year and because of this, the truckle-shaped cheese has a granular texture and has a rich and nutty flavor. People often use this cheese for grating and grilling, while it also makes a perfect table cheese.
King River Gold
Being produced on the Milawa farm of David and Anne Brown, King River Gold is famous throughout Australia. This semi-soft cow’s milk cheese boasts a sharp taste and an orange-pink natural washed rind which is dusted with mold. It is the perfect table cheese but is also is just as delicious melted over vegetables.
Another popular cheese created down under is this semi-soft cow’s milk cheese which is sharp and spicy in flavor. The shape is very distinguishable as it is a square shape with slightly wrinkled, sticky rind. The Hunter Valley Cheese Company produces the Pokolbin and it serves as an unusual but interesting cheese board selection that is also great for grilling.
The name of this cheese originates from the small Australian farm owner mastered her cheese making skills in France- Gabrielle Kervella. This soft, white cheese is made from organic goat’s milk and is formed into logs or rounds. It is enjoyed in many different stages of maturity, at two weeks, Kervella Affine is sweet and mild. When it is matured more than that, it becomes flaky and hard while the taste is similar to macadamia nuts, with salty notes.
The most award-winning cheese title goes to Windsor Blue. It is usually made in South Island’s limestone area and is named after the township of Windsor. It is pasteurized cheese which has a combination of premium cow’s milk and unique blue cultures. Not only that but it is rich and loaded with a full-body flavor. This is a must try favorite of New Zealand.
Airedale is also the name of a district in New Zealand, which is where this cheese got its name from. This modern farmhouse cheese has a thin, natural crust which is coated with a special red cheese paint. Within this coating, the cow’s milk cheese has a compact, semi-soft to semi-hard texture with bright yellow coloring. It has a rich depth of flavor, which varies in age- fruity when young and more full-bodied and savory with age. It is also suitable for vegetarians.
From the ancient white rock limestone found in the New Zealand South Island, is where Whitestone cheese takes its name and is produced. Carrying fragrance of lemongrass, this unique cow’s milk variety has a fine Penicillium candidum rind. It is crumbly and moist in the center and softer towards the outside. With a fresh and fruity tang, it gives off notes of pineapple and guava. It also gains more character with age, displaying a nutty side.
Cheese-Making Has Been Around For Longer Than You Might Think, Predating the Time of Jesus Christ
As we all know, Cheese has played an integral part of history, serving as sustenance through the ages for the human race since before the common era (before the time of Christ). From its infancy to the present day, although the processes have been slightly changed, adjusted and tweaked over thousands of years, the basic ideas and methodologies for cheese-making has not really changed all that much.
Cheese can come in many forms, from bricks to wheels to larger blocks. If you’d like to see a large block of cheese, stop by Shisler’s Cheese House and take a gander at our 50-pound block of Pearl Valley Swiss Cheese. One of the more unique traits to cheese is that it is one of the few foods that are more sought after for when aged, than when made fresh. Some cheese can age several months, while some can age for several years.
As we are most accustomed to cheese for its use as a means of sustenance, cheese also has served a number of purposes through the ages, many of which are entirely “unrealized” by present-day society.
If you sit down and talk to anyone involved in the meticulous process of cheese-making, while it has its variations, the most simple answer for cheese making is: warming up some fresh milk, adding a solution that would increase the acidity content that would enable the milk to become curdled. As it cools down, the extra liquid called “whey” is extracted and the resulting product is cheese. While this becoming a known fact across society and while we are aware of this process, overall, how and where did this process become the standardized way of cheese-making?
It is noted in the publication in a journal called, Nature, cheese-making process established its primitive roots some 7,000 years ago, while other sources place the first cheese-making processes around 8,000 years. Nonetheless, we are still looking thousands of years of cheese-making, and the incredible part of it all is that, for the most part, the cheese-making process has experienced very little change,aside from a number of tweaks and modifications, due in large part to ever-changing technology and machines that cut down on the process time.
Noted in the journal’s article was that the first insights leading to the belief of Neolithic cheese-making were a number of foreign vessels in which archaeologists extracted across Northern Europe over 40 years ago. What was odd with these extracted vessels was that there were holes in them, which could suggest evidence of a primitive cheese-making container.
Unfortunately, at the time, this was only one workable theory as there was no certainty behind the claim, nor a way to a prove such. As the times changes, so did the technology and with the age of mass movements in technology, this theory would finally be proven as forensics would allow scientists to discover traces of cow’s milk within these hole-riddled containers.
Cheese has been a staple for millennia as the availability and life of dairy products ultimately causing hunters to stray more away from the killing of cattle and livestock to a life more focused on dairy and dairy processes, including cheese making. While hunterss did not stray completely away from the use of cattle and livestock as sustenance, dairy and dairy process were now more favorable as hunters now had the option of now putting down their “prized” cattle for food.
Noted again in the journal, a geneticist out of University College London did tremendous research on these primitive cheese-makers only to discover that most Europeans of the Neolithic period would have been lactose intolerant, meaning, digesting the lactose sugar from milk would have been very problematic. However, during the cheese-making process, any lactose from the milk would be extracted and removed through the holes in the primitive, cheese-making containers. A chemist out of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom discovered traces of milk buildup in pottery fragments across parts of Southwest Libya which dates back to prehistoric times.
As you can see, the evidence is quite revealing and has been scientifically proven. Cheese-making has been around for ages, dating back the some 7-8,000 years ago, essentially a world and time that has been all but forgotten of, but thanks in large part to technology, researchers, archaeologists and other scientist who dedicate their life’s work to such research, we can now begin to paint a picture of cheese-making, through the ages, even to a time before Jesus Christ, which is truly remarkable!
The “Untold” History of Cheese
This is the story you’ll often hear about the discovery of cheese in human history…
About 9,000 years ago, a nomad was travelling and brought along with him some milk in an animal stomach, serving as a sort of thermal insulator, to have something to drink at the end of the day. But when he arrived, he discovered that the rennet in the stomach lining had curdled the milk, creating the first cheese.
But there’s a major problem with that story, as University of Vermont cheese scientist and historian Paul Kindstedt explained on the latest episode of Gastropod—a podcast that explores food through the lens of science and history. The nomads living in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East in 7000 B.C. would have been lactose-intolerant. A nomad on the road wouldn’t have wanted to drink milk; it would have left him in severe gastro-intestinal distress.
Kindstedt, author of the book Cheese and Culture, explained that about a thousand years before traces of cheese-making show up in the archaeological record, humans began growing crops. Those early fields of wheat and other grains attracted local wild sheep and goats, which provide milk for their young. Human babies are also perfectly adapted for milk. Early humans quickly made the connection and began dairying—but for the first thousand years, toddlers and babies were the only ones consuming the milk. Human adults were uniformly lactose-intolerant, says Kindstedt. What’s more, he told us that “we know from some exciting archaeo-genetic and genomic modeling that the capacity to tolerate lactose into adulthood didn’t develop until about 5500 B.C.”—which is at least a thousand years after the development of cheese.
It took another recent advance to figure out the origins of cheese: Kindstedt says that only recently have scientists been able to analyze the chemical traces on pottery from thousands of years ago in order to find milk fat in the higher concentrations that indicate it was used to hold cheese or butter, rather than plain milk.
Using this new research, Kinstead explains, we now know that the real dawn of cheese came about 8,500 years ago, with two simultaneous developments in human history. First, by then, over-intensive agricultural practices had depleted the soil, leading to the first human-created environmental disaster. As a result, Neolithic humans began herding goats and sheep more intensely, as those animals could survive on marginal lands unfit for crops. And secondly, humans invented pottery: the original practical milk-collection containers.
In the warm environment of the Fertile Crescent region, Kinstedt explained, any milk not used immediately and instead left to stand in those newly invented containers “would have very quickly, in a matter of hours, coagulated [due to the heat and the natural lactic acid bacteria in the milk]. And at some point, probably some adventurous adult tried some of the solid material and found that they could tolerate it a lot more of it than they could milk.” That’s because about 80 percent of the lactose drains off with the whey, leaving a digestible and, likely, rather delicious fresh cheese.
With the discovery of cheese, suddenly those early humans could add dairy to their diets. Cheese made an entirely new source of nutrients and calories available for adults, and, as a result, dairying took off in a major way. What this meant, says Kindstedt, is that “children and newborns would be exposed to milk frequently, which ultimately through random mutations selected for children who could tolerate lactose later into adulthood.”
In a very short time, at least in terms of human evolution—perhaps only a few thousand years—that mutation spread throughout the population of the Fertile Crescent. As those herders migrated to Europe and beyond, they carried this genetic mutation with them. According to Kindstedt, “It’s an absolutely stunning example of a genetic selection occurring in an unbelievably short period of time in human development. It’s really a wonder of the world, and it changed Western civilization forever.”