Once upon a time, some mad genius said, "Hey, let's take milk and make it into an awesome, delicious, salty food!" Then he made cheese, and all was right with the world. Of course, there's more to cheese than just milk, salt, and magic. Cheese science in general is just as fascinating as you might suspect. Well... when it's not a little gross, that is.You see, as glorious as cheese is, there's some weird cheesemaking science that might make you pause a moment before cutting a slice off that next wheel. Though, let's be honest, you'll only hesitate a second, right? Come on, it's cheese.
We Have No Idea Where Cheese Originally Came From
We do know that we've had cheese on the menu for over 4,000 years, and that it probably originated with carrying milk in pouches made from sheep's stomachs (because that can start the ripening process). That being said, we honestly are not sure who made the first cheese. The Middle East, Europe, and Asia all have the right climate and materials, and we think one of them may have had a hand in it, but your guess is as good as ours.
There Are Over 1,700 Different Kinds of Cheese
When you go to the store, you're probably used to seeing the classics on the shelves: Swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, American, parmesan, etc. But the world of cheese expands far beyond that. Worldwide, there are at least 1,777 different kinds of cheese to explore and love. What's more, there are at least 74 countries that have types of cheese all their own. Maybe time for a cheese-tasting tour of the world?
Cheese Is Crawling with Bacteria
You don't have to drop cheese on the floor to get bacteria on it. You see, in order to make cheese, you have to start the ripening process using a starter culture... of bacteria. Now don't panic, because this is the friendly kind of bacteria. The kind that makes a tasty snack to spread on crackers or bread, and the kind that can be kept frozen for up to two years in some cases. But yes, you are eating bacteria with every bite of cheese.
Cheese Can Be Made with Basically Any Kind of Milk
You've had goat cheese, and you've had cow's milk cheese, but have you ever had camel cheese? It exists, no kidding! If there's milk that has the ability to coagulate properly, you can make cheese out of it. The fact is that, worldwide, you can find cheese made from buffalo, camel, donkey, horse, reindeer, sheep, water buffalo, and even yak! As gross as it is, you can even find milk made from human breast milk.