Bacteria in Cheese

Do you remember that cheese is an example of beneficial bacteria? We couldn't have cheese or fermentation without bacteria. Just make sure that cheese and other protein-rich foods in particular are handled and stored carefully so as to not inflict a foodborne illness. The heating of milk in cheese-making means that cheese is pasteurized but if you eat or serve unpasteurized cheese you are taking a risk. Selling it is not legal in Canada.

Categorizing Cheese

Cheese can be categorized based on type of milk, texture/firmness, country or regional techniques, ripening etc. Ripening is the process or processes that transform the curdled cheese into something more distinctive and tasty. Based on ripening, there are 5 classifications; un-ripened (also called fresh cheese), internal bacteria ripened, washed-rind, blue-veined, and mold-rind. processed cheeses and cheeses made with other types of milk are in categories of their own.

It's amazing to think about all the types of cheese out there and that they all just started with milk!

Ways to Cook

Cheese can be:

  • eaten raw (best at room temperature, closer to body temperature where fats melt and improve the texture and volatile aromas)
  • grated and blended into sauces
  • topped on pizza, casseroles etc.
  • gratinéed such as on French Onion soup
  • puréed into dips, sauces and soups
  • breaded and deep fried (like mozzarella sticks
  • pan fried (like saganaki)
  • layered in sandwiches, wraps, hors d'oeuvres both hot or cold

Tips on cooking with Cheese

  • add on low heat so as to not curdle and split
  • grate it to incorporated it smoothly and evenly
  • watch the fat content and "oil" texture that can appear
  • use parmesan rind pieces to add umami flavour to soups and stews, then remove them before serving.
  • cheese can be frozen!

Food Safety

Remember that cheese is a potentially hazardous food (PHF). Mind the danger zone. Spores on cheese can have roots that are deep within a block of cheese and even though it looks safe, mold might have reached far inside the block.

More on Cooking with Cheese

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