A Cheesy Affair We All Need In Our Lives!
What comes to your mind when you think of Cheese? Cheese burst pizza, burger, lasagna and cheesy french fries to name a few! It is one of the most versatile foods as it helps elevate every dish.
It is procured when the milk is curdled and it is separated into milk curds and whey.
National Cheese Day is celebrated to highlight the significance of cheese over the course of thousands of years. Cheese is now widely found and even delivered through online grocery delivery apps. Its significance is very prominent as when people did not have much to eat, cheese, which is speculated to have been discovered by accident, was there to help people.
History of Cheese
The history of cheese cannot be pinpointed but it’s estimated to have originated 8000-10000 years ago when the domestication of milk producing animals became prominent. Cheesemaking also has a reference in Greek mythology as well as ancient Egyptian murals which is dated 4000 years ago.
Cheese is believed to have been discovered accidentally when milk was stored in the stomach of animals and was formed because the stored milk reacted with Rennet, an enzyme found in the stomach of ruminant animals.
In Kuyavia, Poland, strainers have been found, with milk-fat molecules, dating back to 5000 BC. Murals in Egypt depict cheese making and they go back to 2000 BC. The popularity of cheese, worldwide, is attributed to imperialism.
Types of Cheese
For most of us, Amul Mozzarella Cheese or a simple processed cheese is what we know. However, it is far more complex and bifurcated. It is divided into 7 different types. Which have been explained below:
- Fresh (No Rind)
This category generally includes cheeses such as mozzarella, ricotta and cottage cheese. These cheeses are very newly made and a few days old, if cured in salt, they crumble like Feta cheese. They are also easily available on online grocery delivery apps all across India. These cheeses are essentially high in moisture content, stringy, soft and have a mild lemony flavour. Typically they have a 19-24% fat content in them and thus generally used in pizzas, burgers, salads.
- Aged Fresh Cheese (Wrinkled white to grey-blue rind)
The oxymoron name can be justified! This ‘Fresh’ cheese is basically when they are aged just enough to develop a thin, almost translucent rind. Mozzarella, cottage cheese and Ricotta come under this category. They also have the same fat content as fresh, 19-24% fat. These are exclusively made from goat’s milk and the longer they’re aged the more ‘goaty’ they taste. They even become brittle and dry.
- Soft White Rind (White fuzzy rind)
A fuzzy, white and soft rind which encompasses the soft interior of the cheese. The rind is made up of penicillin candidum mould. The rind helps in aging the cheese without drying out the velvety, soft and voluptuous cheese. These generally have 24-26% fat content. Camembert, Brie de Meaux, Chaource, Chevre Log are few such cheeses. They usually taste sweet, mild and buttery with a slight hint of mushrooms.
- Semi-Soft (Fine to thick greyish-brown rind or orange and sticky)
These cheeses usually have the extra whey pressed out ever so lightly, which then creates a rubbery, elastic texture. They then start attracting a melee of grey, white and brown moulds, which are brushed off on regular intervals. This builds a leathery rind, gradually. To get the orange sticky rind, the cheese is ‘washed’ in brine and many times finished with alcohol. This results in a pungent, strong and aromatic flavour. The fat content is anywhere between 26-28%.
- Hard (crusty, grey often polished, oiled or waxed)
Cheddar, Pecorino, Beaufort, Manchego, Gruyere, and Parmesan are some of the renowned cheeses which fall into this category. They have the whey completely pressed out of them. There is 28-34% fat content and they tend to be aged for years, in curing cells. They attract a myriad of moulds white, blue, grey, and even pink, which are brushed off during the curing process. They have a complex and intense flavour. Cheddar and Parmesan are two such cheeses which can be found in online delivery apps and are popular with many people.
- Blue (gritty, rough and sticky rind)
These cheeses have a blue penicillium sprinkled onto the milk before the curdling process. The cheese, while forming, needs to be aired, so as to allow the curds and the penicillium to react. They have tunnels of air passing through it. It has a 28-34% fat content. Gogonzola, Stilton, Roquefort are some of the cheeses which fall into this category.
- Flavour added cheese (various)
This is a relatively new practice, where herbs, nuts and spices are added to the cheese to enhance the flavour. They have a fat content of 28-34%.
Now that you know about the different kinds of cheese, there at least a few very weird or unique kinds of cheeses which are sought after by many!
- Casu Marzu (Italy)
This is a cheese unlike any other! It is served with live maggots. While you squirm, many people do still enjoy eating this cheese. It’s a very sought after cheese in Sardinia, Italy. It was developed here when sheep farmers kept pecorino cheese out to rot and attract flies. The flies laid eggs which hatched into maggots thus arriving at Casu Marzu.
- Milkenbase (Germany)
This is yet another shocking yet extremely sought after cheese. It is cured using dust mites! It is produced from quark in Wurchwitz, the cheese is kept amongst dust mites along with rye bread for them to nibble on, for months. These mites secrete an enzyme that makes the cheese turn yellow, red, brown and then black, at which point it is consumed. It is eaten with all the mites in it, which is believed to have healing properties for people with allergies to house dust!
- Yak Cheese (Tibetan community)
Made from the milk of the yak, it is completely stripped of the whey and dried. It is then cured over a wood fire. This cheese has an earthy taste and is extremely hard and cannot be chewed. It is made with the purpose for individuals to suckle on them throughout the day, which helps in satiate hunger, keep the body moving in colder climates and give energy.
- Airag Cheese (Central Asia)
This cheese is made from horse’s milk, which is still a very integral part of the communities in Central Asia. Typically made when the horse’s are in foaling season. They are milked and the milk is then left to ferment along with most likely the last season’s airag. It is generally hung out the ger/yurt entrance so passersby can stir it and keep the process going. It can also be tied to the horse, while traveling so it has the same effect as that of stirring. The airag is added to boiled milk, so it curdles and then can be separated through a fine cloth. It is eaten fresh or dried.
- Camel’s Cheese (Ethiopia, Mauritiana, Sudan and Bedouin communities)
Since these tribes reside in dry climates and have camels, it only makes sense that they make cheese out of camels. Camel’s milk is higher in fat and protein content. It has a richer and more earthy taste, but it’s more difficult to make cheese from camel’s milk. Therefore the tribes use rennet from the stomach of these animals to help ferment and coagulate the milk into cheese. This is why camelbert has a distinct and pungent taste.
- Donkey’s Cheese (Serbia)
This cheese is extremely expensive because donkey’s produce only 200 ml of milk and a kilogram of pule to be made needs 25 litres of milk! It is priced at $576 a pound! Cleopatra attributed her beauty to donkey’s milk!
We are absolutely sure reading so much about cheese has you craving for some good cheesy food. Well, we have some recipes for you!
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
|1/4th cup grated or 2 slices
|1/4th cup grated or 2 slices
- Butter the bread on one side.
- Spread the cheese on the buttered side and cover with another slice of bread
- On the top of this sandwich apply some butter and grill it. It is that easy! A quick, comforting and tasty meal is ready for you!
Summer means a lot of cooling salad. A watermelon feta salad is a perfect afternoon dish.
Watermelon and Feta salad
|1 tsp freshly ground
- Cut the watermelon in cubes and set it aside to chill.
- In a separate bowl, combine Olive oil, salt, lime and pepper and mix together till they’re homogeneous.
- Roughly chop the basil/mint.
- In a salad bowl combine the watermelon, crumble the feta over the watermelon, sprinkle the basil and before serving add the dressing!
Cheesy Spaghetti Pasta
Pasta is one of the most popular dishes in the modern day. It is basically a quick dish which you can make in 10-15 minutes and has loads of flavour.
|500 gms (spaghetti)
|2 medium size
- Boil the spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet.
- Slice your onions thinly, chop your garlic fine and cut your mushrooms.
- In a pan heat the olive oil and butter, but don’t let it burn
- Once hot, put in your garlic and let it turn a golden brown
- As the garlic turns brown, onions should be added along with the mushrooms and cooked down till they’re caramelized.
- Check on your spaghetti and if it is al dente, remove it from the flame, reserve some of the pasta water and throw the rest. Rinse the spaghetti under cold water.
- Once the onions and mushrooms are caramelized, add heavy cream, cheddar and processed cheese and stir continuously until it’s all mixed well.
- The sauce may seem thick, put in some of the pasta water and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- As soon as the sauce is bubbling, put in the spaghetti and mix it well. Let it cook in the sauce for a few minutes, on a low flame.
- Serve it hot
Preparing a pizza has 3 crucial steps
- Making the dough
- Proofing the dough
- Making the pizza with that dough!
For the dough
|Raw sugar or maple syrup
|1 ½ tbsp
|Water (for kneading)
- Put the yeast in warm water along with raw sugar and stir it.
- Let it sit undisturbed till it turns frothy.
- Once frothy ad 300 grams of flour, ⅓ tsp salt and 1 ½ tbsp olive oil.
- Gently mix this and form a sticky dough. You may need 2-3 tbsp of water to bring it all together. Add very little water. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle some flour.
- Dough is smooth, then knead it with the heel of your hand on the counter. Pull the dough and fold it upon itself. This is followed until the dough is well-combined and when poked the dented area rises back up.
- Place this dough ball in a bowl and lightly coat it with oil, to avoid it from drying out. Grease your bowl as well.
- Cover this bowl with a cling film or a moist cloth and place it in a warm area. The ideal temperature should be between 26 C to 32 C.
- Let it rise until it doubles in size.
For the sauce
|1 ½ tbsp
|2-5 finely chopped cloves
|½ tsp crushed
- Blend the tomatoes and in a heavy bottom pan put 1 ½ tbsp oil and heat it.
- In the heated oil, put the finely chopped garlic and let it cook for a few seconds till aromatic.
- Add in 1 tsp chilli flakes and stir
- Add in the tomato puree along with ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Stir this well and let it simmer
- As the sauce simmers. It will splutter, therefore keep it covered and stir occasionally.
- Once the sauce has thickened and reduced then add 1 tsp Italian seasoning and ½ tsp crushed black pepper.
- Check for seasonings and adjust as per your taste.
For the pizza
- Preheat the oven to the highest setting for 25-30 mins.
- Chop veggies of your choice and keep them aside. You can use bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, olives to name a few
- Take the dough and punch it to deflate.
- Separate into smaller balls and cover the rest of the dough with a moist cloth.
- Roll it out thin or thick as per your liking. Put some cornmeal on the baking tray on which you are spreading the dough
- Spread the sauce, veggies and cheese on the pizza.
- Bake for 10-15 mins or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden.
We’re celebrating ‘cheese’ on the Milkbasket app, where you can order your favourite cheese through our 7 AM silent doorstep delivery & enjoy a cheesy affair at the comfort of your home! Easy, right!?
To all who believe cheese is just an addition or condiment, it isn’t! Cheese is an emotion, a food item that accentuates the flavour profile of almost all cuisines, in its own unique way. For more often than not, you may have made a core memory which included cheese and if you dig deep down, you will find it. Happy Cheese Day!
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