Cheese Making and Homemade Cottage Cheese

image via Wikipedia

There are numerous legends regarding the discovery of cheese-making, most of them having elements in common: Somebody sets out on horseback on a journey, bringing along some milk in a pouch made from a calf s stomach. After a while, the traveler finds out that the milk has turned into a palatable sour curd.

Rennin, an enzyme present in the lining of a calf s stomach, turns milk into curds and whey and is used almost universally in cheese-making. The primary milk protein, casein, is curdled, or coagulated, by the enzyme action of rennet or pepsin, or by lactic acid manufactured by bacterial action, or by a combination of these.

Cheese is produced from the milk of various animals, including cow, buffalo, camel, ass, sheep, goat, mare, llama, reindeer, yak, and zebu. Like with yogurt, the flavor and consistency of cheese are dictated by the type of milk and the conditions under which it is transformed. And like wine, cheese has a myriad of varieties. Essentially, it is either soft or hard. Soft cheeses normally contain more moisture than hard cheeses. The homemaker can readily make soft cheeses, many of which have a cottage-cheese base.

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