Cheese has been around since nearly the beginning of civilization, and it’s gone through plenty of different versions over the years. Making cheese requires using cheese culture, but a lot of people aren’t sure what those are.
So what is cheese culture? What does cheese starter culture do to help you make cheese and how are they used?
That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about what cheese culture is and its importance in making cheese.
What is Cheese Culture?
Cheese culture is a type of bacteria strain that’s used to make specific types of cheeses. There are often a wide array of cheese cultures used to make cheese, and they’re usually combined to create the final product.
While it may seem daunting that bacteria are used to make your cheese, understand that cheese culture helps the “good” bacteria in your milk prosper. This leads to a more natural cheese flavor in the end.
How Do You Classify Cheese Cultures?
There isn’t just one type of cheese culture that’s used to make cheese. There are multiple bacteria strains that are all unique to creating your final cheese product. Let’s look at how these different cultures are classified.
Cheese cultures are often determined by the temperature. This is the temperature at which these cultures work.
Mesophilic cheese culture, for example, works at about 90 degrees F, while thermophilic culture operates anywhere between 68 and 125 degrees. Different temperatures yield different types of cheese.
You can also separate cheese cultures by whether or not they’re starter cultures. These are basically bacteria that’s been made to start a reaction in your milk to create cheese.
A cheese starter culture combines unique sets of bacteria depending on the type of cheese being made. This makes starter cultures great for beginners looking to get into making cheese.
Non-starter cultures, on the other hand, are microbial groups that are made out of different conditions than starters. These are able to handle harsher environments and contribute to the cheese’s final characteristics.
Why is Cheese Culture So Important?
If you want to preserve your cheese for as long as possible, you need cheese culture. If you want greater texture and better flavor, you also need cheese culture. Culture is basically a key ingredient when it comes to cheese.
Cheese culture is crucial for both the development of your cheese as well as its longevity. It protects the cheese from bad bacteria that might otherwise hamper your cheese’s production.
Cultures also create curds that break down lactose in the milk and convert it to lactic acid. As such, cheese cultures create the rich flavor that most cheeses are known for.
Understanding Cheese Cultures
Whether you’re using it for cultured cottage cheese or cultured brie, cheese cultures are crucial to producing any kind of cheese. Use this guide to help you understand what they are and why they’re so important.
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