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Cheese

]] Cheese is a food derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. During production, the milk is usually acidified, and adding the enzyme rennet causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Some cheeses have molds on the rind, the outer layer, or throughout. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature. Hundreds of types of cheese from various countries are produced. Their styles, textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal's diet), whether they have been pasteurized, the butterfat content, the bacteria and mold, the processing, and aging. Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents. The yellow to red color of many cheeses, such as Red Leicester, is produced by adding annatto. Other ingredients may be added to some cheeses, such as black pepper, garlic, chives or cranberries. For a few cheeses, the milk is curdled by adding acids such as vinegar or lemon juice. Most cheeses are acidified to a lesser degree by bacteria, which turn milk sugars into lactic acid, then the addition of rennet completes the curdling. Vegetarian alternatives to rennet are available; most are produced by fermentation of the fungus Mucor miehei, but others have been extracted from various species of the Cynara thistle family. Cheesemakers near a dairy region may benefit from fresher, lower-priced milk, and lower shipping costs. Cheese is valued for its portability, long life, and high content of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Cheese is more compact and has a longer shelf life than milk, although how long a cheese will keep depends on the type of cheese; labels on packets of cheese often claim that a cheese should be consumed within three to five days of opening. Generally speaking, hard cheeses, such as parmesan last longer than soft cheeses, such as Brie or goat's milk cheese. The long storage life of some cheeses, especially when encased in a protective rind, allows selling when markets are favorable. There is some debate as to the best way to store cheese, but some experts say that wrapping it in cheese paper provides optimal results. Cheese paper is coated in a porous plastic on the inside, and the outside has a layer of wax. This specific combination of plastic on the inside and wax on the outside protects the cheese by allowing condensation on the cheese to be wicked away while preventing moisture from within the cheese escaping. A specialist seller of cheese is sometimes known as a cheesemonger. Becoming an expert in this field requires some formal education and years of tasting and hands-on experience, much like becoming an expert in wine or cuisine. The cheesemonger is responsible for all aspects of the cheese inventory: selecting the cheese menu, purchasing, receiving, storage, and ripening.

Etymology

, Switzerland]] The word cheese comes from Latin , from which the modern word casein is also derived. The earliest source is from the proto-Indo-European root *kwat-, which means "to ferment, become sour". The word cheese comes from (in Middle English) and or (in Old English). Similar words are shared by other West Germanic languagesWest Frisian , Dutch , German , Old High German —all from the reconstructed West-Germanic form *kāsī, which in turn is an early borrowing from Latin. The Online Etymological Dictionary states that "cheese" comes from "Old English cyse (West Saxon), cese (Anglian)...from West Germanic *kasjus (source also of Old Saxon kasi, Old High German chasi, German Käse, Middle Dutch case, Dutch kaas), from Latin caseus for "cheese" (source of Italian cacio, Spanish queso, Irish caise, Welsh caws)." The Online Etymological Dictionary states that the word is of "...unknown origin; perhaps from a PIE root *kwat- "to ferment, become sour" (source also of Prakrit chasi "buttermilk;" Old Church Slavonic kvasu "leaven; fermented drink," kyselu "sour," -kyseti "to turn sour;" Czech kysati "to turn sour, rot;" Sanskrit kvathati "boils, seethes;" Gothic hwaþjan "foam"). Also compare fromage. Old Norse , Danish , Swedish are related to Latin "broth, sauce, juice.'" When the Romans began to make hard cheeses for their legionaries' supplies, a new word started to be used: , from , or "molded cheese" (as in "formed", not "moldy"). It is from this word that the French , proper Italian , Catalan , Breton , and Provençal are derived. Of the Romance languages, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Tuscan and Southern Italian dialects use words derived from (, , and for example). The word cheese itself is occasionally employed in a sense that means "molded" or "formed". Head cheese uses the word in this sense. The term "cheese" is also used as a noun, verb and adjective in a number of figurative expressions (e.g., "the big cheese", "to be cheesed off" and "cheesy lyrics").

History

Origins

]] Cheese is an ancient food whose origins predate recorded history. There is no conclusive evidence indicating where cheesemaking originated, either in Europe, Central Asia or the Middle East, but the practice had spread within Europe prior to Roman times and, according to Pliny the Elder, had become a sophisticated enterprise by the time the Roman Empire came into being. The earliest evidence of cheese-making in the archaeological record dates back to 5,500 BCE, in what is now Kujawy, Poland, where strainers with milk fats molecules have been found. Earliest proposed dates for the origin of cheesemaking range from around 8000 BCE, when sheep were first domesticated. Since animal skins and inflated internal organs have, since ancient times, provided storage vessels for a range of foodstuffs, it is probable that the process of cheese making was discovered accidentally by storing milk in a container made from the stomach of an animal, resulting in the milk being turned to curd and whey by the rennet from the stomach. There is a legend – with variations – about the discovery of cheese by an Arab trader who used this method of storing milk.Jenny Ridgwell, Judy Ridgway, Food around the World, (1986) Oxford University Press, Cheesemaking may have begun independently of this by the pressing and salting of curdled milk to preserve it. Observation that the effect of making cheese in an animal stomach gave more solid and better-textured curds may have led to the deliberate addition of rennet. Early archeological evidence of Egyptian cheese has been found in Egyptian tomb murals, dating to about 2000 BCE. The earliest cheeses were likely to have been quite sour and salty, similar in texture to rustic cottage cheese or feta, a crumbly, flavorful Greek cheese. Cheese produced in Europe, where climates are cooler than the Middle East, required less salt for preservation. With less salt and acidity, the cheese became a suitable environment for useful microbes and molds, giving aged cheeses their respective flavors. The earliest ever discovered preserved cheese was found in the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, China, and it dates back as early as 1615 BCE.

Ancient Greece and Rome

]] Ancient Greek mythology credited Aristaeus with the discovery of cheese. Homer's Odyssey (8th century BCE) describes the Cyclops making and storing sheep's and goats' milk cheese (translation by Samuel Butler):
"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheese, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cheese&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany