What is Cheese?

What is Cheese?

Cheese comes in a variety of different forms, textures and flavours. Having said that, it is incredibly popular, with cheeseboards and grazing platters often the feature at many dinner parties. Cheese is also great in many different dishes, making it a great allrounder.

However, there are many different styles and types of cheese. In this article, we look at what is cheese, as well as the key characteristics that distinguish different cheeses. 

What is Cheese?

Cheese is a dairy product and therefore made from milk. Primarily, the types of kinds of milk used are cow, buffalo, goat and ewe. Dairy contains lactose, which is the milk sugars found in dairy products. If you are ‘lactose intolerant’ this means your small intestine cannot produce enough enzymes to digest the lactose. Similar to other allergies, this can range from mild to severe. 

Cheese is made up of different fats and proteins found in milk. The milk is acidified, and in some cases, rennet is added. Therefore this causes the casein proteins in the milk to solidify. 

What is Rennet?

The stomach lining of animals contains an enzyme known as rennet. It plays an important role in cheese making, for example, separating the curds and the whey. Cheese made with animal rennet is therefore not suitable for vegetarians. However, new age methods are developing ways to create similar enzymes that can be used instead of animal rennet. 

The cheese will get its category considering a variety of factors. For example, texture, flavour, mould type, as well as the amount of time it is given to age and mature.

what is cheese
Categories are affected by texture, flavour and mould type.

The 5 Key Categories of Cheese Include:

  • Fresh
  • Soft
  • Semi-hard
  • Hard
  • Blue

Good quality milk must be used to make the cheese to ensure that the flavour is rich and plentiful.