From a legislative point of view, the name cheese or cacio is reserved for food product obtained from whole, partially skimmed or skimmed milk, or from cream, following acid or rennet coagulation, also using ferments and sodium chloride.

It can be seen that the law does not specify the origin of the milk to be used; we can therefore produce cheeses with milk of different origins, as long as they are rich in casein, since the coagulation - acid or rennet - of these proteins is essential for this purpose. ; among the casein milks we mention that of cow, buffalo and goat, which can also be used in a mixture with each other.

The chemical composition of the cheese depends on numerous factors, such as the milk and the microbial flora used, the processing procedures, as well as the degree and environment of maturation.


Cheese making Classification and nutritional value Blue cheeses Low-fat cheeses Cheeses rich in calcium Cheese and calories Cheese and cholesterol Lactose in cheeses

Homemade Cheese

In the video, our personal Cooker Alice brilliantly illustrates the main production phases of the cheese, explaining the technical and practical aspects. By following his advice, the reader will learn how to prepare excellent cheeses in complete autonomy. Good vision!

Cheese - how to make it at home

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Homemade spreadable cheese

Homemade mozzarella

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The production phases that we are about to illustrate are the same for all types of cheese; what changes is only the way in which they are conducted.

Naturally, it starts with milk, which must undergo a series of processes to become suitable for coagulation which, according to the law, can be acidic or rennet in nature. In the first case, particular bacteria ferment lactose to lactic acid, causing a lowering of the pH and a coagulation of the proteins; in the second case specific enzymes, called peptidases, added to the milk, act on the caseins, removing the colloidal protective peptide from the K-casein and allowing its coagulation.

Following coagulation, the so-called curd is formed, that is a gelatinous three-dimensional network between the meshes of which the fat globules and, of course, droplets of whey (buttermilk), in which sugars (lactose) and mineral salts are dissolved; this whey must be removed as far as possible from the curd, which for this reason is broken, facilitating the bleeding of the whey and consequently increasing the conservation time of the cheese.

Once the curd has been broken, for cooked-paste cheeses we proceed with cooking, while for raw ones we carry out the extraction directly; this phase consists in removing the gelatinous mass (curd) from the rest of the whey; this mass must then be put into shape, treated on the surface with salting and subjected to a period of maturation and maturation (more or less long depending on the type of cheese).

In the whey, after the extraction of the curd, a part of lipid globules remains (which make it suitable for the preparation of butter), as well as mineral salts, vitamins, part of the lactose and all the water-soluble components; above all, the proteins of the whey, which does not coagulate either by acidification or by the action of enzymes, but only by heat.Heating this whey we will then obtain one of the leanest, healthiest and most nutritious "cheeses", called ricotta.

Let's examine in detail the different stages of cheese production

Milk preparation

Once milked, the milk must be immediately refrigerated and used within two days. Similarly to what happens in the preparation of butter and yogurt, also in this case the lipid phase must be standardized; the law, in fact, requires that the lipid content of the starting milk is not less than 3.3-3.4% for full-fat cheeses, while 2.5% is sufficient for semi-fats. The lipid content of the milk can therefore be increased, by adding cream, or reduced by the skimming process.

At this point, a heat treatment is carried out, which in most cases is a pasteurization, mandatory for fresh cheeses but not for mature ones, since the particular maturing conditions (humidity, pH and lactic bacteria) prevent the proliferation of a flora. pathogenic microbial. Pasteurization is done at a temperature of 60-65 ° C for 30-40 minutes (low pasteurization) or at 70 ° C for 10-15 seconds (rapid pasteurization). In any case, 75 ° C should never be exceeded, a threshold beyond which the denaturation of proteins and the loss of their ability to curdle would occur.

The next step involves adding standardized microbial grafts (starters) based on lactic bacteria, both acidifying and flavoring, to the milk. These are strains similar to those used for the preparation of yogurt and butter: Streptococcus lactis, S. cremoris, S.termophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, L. casei, L. helveticus.

In addition to lactic bacteria, for some types of cheese other categories of microorganisms can be added, in particular molds, obtaining blue cheeses (gorgonzola, roquefort). In this case, mold spores are added: Penicilluim roqueforti And P. glaucum.

The law also allows the addition of natural dyes, such as annatto and saffron; these are rather expensive plant extracts and for this reason little used in the cheese industry.

Before being subjected to curdling, the milk must be matured for a certain time, thus allowing the acidifying bacteria time to multiply and act, giving it the desired pH.

These preparatory phases are followed by the most important phase of the cheese production process, that is the preparation of the curd, which can be acidic or rennet.

Other articles on "Cheese"

  1. cheese coagulation
  2. cheese processing
  3. nutritional value cheese
  4. low-fat cheeses
  5. cheeses calories
  6. cheeses rich in calcium
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