Is Raw Cheese Healthy or Unhealthy?


We’ve all eaten cheese at some point in our life, unless health reasons prohibit us from doing so. But what is “raw” cheese? No, it is not cheese that is not cooked thoroughly. Instead, raw cheese is made from milk that is not pasteurized. For a while now, food critics and health experts alike have continually debated the benefits and disadvantages that consuming raw cheese can have on one’s health.

Consuming unpasteurized cheese is considered the thing to do today, as buying artisanal foods as such is trending very high in today’s market. There are some who believe consuming cheese’s raw version is a healthier option than its counterpart, pasteurized cheese. However, as some would believe that raw cheese promotes health, there are others that contradict such claims.

Cheese

THE BENEFITS

As program director at Oldway’s Coalition, Carlos Yescas, noted, there are a number of benefits to eating raw cheese. Among the key benefits are the diversity of microorganisms that are contained within the raw cheese. While uncertainties still remain due in large part to the human biological response to these microorganisms, the majority of the microbes present in raw cheese have the ability to combat disease and bodily infections. While many folks have shown concern with raw cheese and its production, Yescas assures that at the forefront of safety measures for producing raw cheese, is the diligence in making certain that good milk is sourced. It is the cheese-makers utmost priority to ensure that quality of the milk is superior which includes animal living conditions, animal nutrition and diets and animal husbandry. Because of the great risk involved when not pasteurizing the milk, a great deal of time, energy and resources are invested in making certain the conditions surrounding the milking-process is pristine.

Raw milk also has similar nutrients that are normally contained in pasteurized cheese, such as protein and calcium, among others while tasting identical to their counterparts.

THE DISADVANTAGES

Normally, you’ll find the cheese-making process to use milk that has been pasteurized. The pasteurization process involves heating the milk to destroy and pathogenic microorganisms that might be harmful, while maintaining its integrity of nutritional quality. In some cases, the pathogenic microorganisms can make you fall ill, especially those with lower immune systems like children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, older folks and those with chronic diseases. It is best advised to not consume raw cheese if under these conditions.

THE FINAL SAY

A number of raw cheeses can be found at local markets, by local producers. It is of the utmost importance to check and ensure that the conditions and environment of where the cheese is kept up to health and safety regulations. If you decide to consume raw cheese, make certain you are aware of where you are buying it from and how the methods in which the producer treats and raises the cows for milking.

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Curious Case of Cheese


After doing some lengthy research, here is a list of the most interesting tidbits about cheese, that might be “news” to many…

From a Variety of Sources

Although the milk used in cheese-making commonly uses the milk of cows, milk involved the this process can also come from other animals such as sheep, goats, horses, buffaloes, camels, donkeys and moose. Although a rare type of milk used in making cheese, moose milk is made on farms native to Sweden and can be a bit challenging given the short lactation period of the moose.

Photo Credit: Alexis Negranti

When it Rome, Eat Cheese

One of the unknown facts about the Romans was their love of cheese. Romans that had larger end homes dedicated a room in the house as a special kitchen specifically for the purpose of cheese-making, which was called a Careale. As part of their custom, the Romans used the Careale to smoke the cheese as a means to add flavor and more importantly, to preserve it. Each state of the, then, Roman Empire, began creating their own customized cheese, native to their state, as the Roman Empire expanded through the centuries.

Maggot Cheese?!?!

Sounds disgusting, right? In anyone’s right mind, yes, you’d easily pass up the offer of eating cheese with maggots without a second though. But, there are folks that love the cheese and will swear that it is just the “bee’s knees”. The Cheese is called Cazu Marzu and is made from the likes of sheep’s milk, with an extra ingredient that, well… is unique, the “cheese fly”. Once in the cheese, the cheese flies will lay eggs, hatching and becoming maggots over time, causing the cheese to decompose, partially. I could go on with further detail of this cheese, but I think we all get the big picture here and I would rather not have you lose your lunch after reading this. Cazu Marzu is a delicacy in Sardinia, but illegal to eat due to its obvious nature and risk of health. Who would’ve thought you would need to sign over your will before eating a cheese… pass!

Do You Fancy Cheese

As there is an app for almost everything these days, there is a term for everything as well. In this case, the term that is coined for a true connoisseur and love of cheese is called a “Turophile”.

What Is That Smell???

Vieux Boulogne is a cheese native to France, made from cows’ milk and washed beer. Huh? Yes, washed beer. It is believed to be the cheese with the most potent smell on the planet. Limburger, you have company. Two other cheese that have a comparable pungent aroma are washed rine cheese and Stinking Bishop, a cheese native to England made from fermented pear juice. Just remember, a pungent cheese does not mean it has poor flavor.

Photo Credit: noodlepie via photopin cc

An Explosion Of Flavor

Unbeknownst to many is the oddity that while many dairy products are at their best quality when cooled, cheese is the polar opposite in the dairy family as it is at its best taste when eaten at room temperature as it has the most flavor when not chilled.

Cheesy Countries

When you think of nations that consume the most cheese, you’re thinking the United States has to be at the top. Wrong, the United States doesn’t even crack the top 3. The nations that lead in cheese consumption are: Greece, France and Iceland.

 

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Cheese So Expensive, It Makes Gruyere Seem Affordable


When it comes to cheese, most really never think twice about the differences in cheese, texture,  taste, sharpness and other characteristics that make cheese, well… cheese. As long as there is cheese available and on your burger, shredded on your pasta, topped on your salad or wrapped in your taco, that is the main focus on the minds of most when thinking “cheese”. What most do not realize is that, aside from your general cheese, such as Swiss, American, Cheddar among others, as the list goes on seemingly indefinitely, there is an unrealized and undiscovered “world” of cheese. From the United States to Canada to all of Europe, there are cheeses that are made every day that most are completely unfamiliar with.

Entering this undiscovered world of cheese, we travel all the way to Serbia, the location of one of the most expensive cheeses on Earth. What makes it so expensive is that it can only be made in Serbia as the milk used to make this cheese does not come from cows, nor does it come from goats, but instead, to make this cheese, the milk comes from the rare Balkan Donkey. The name of this cheese is “Pule” (poo-lay) and commands the hefty price in the world. In 2012, Pule was sold in bulk at a price that was considered discounted at over $750 per pound. The price for Pule increases exponentially on the open market going for upwards of $1300 per pound.

Why a cheese costing a seemingly ridiculous amount of money? Well, the process of making Pule itself is where much of its price is argued. Contrary to the modern marvels that would allow machines to extract milk from cows and goats, the milk coming from Balkan Donkeys is extracted by hand, each day, three times per day. To make matters even more intricate and arguable for the price paid for this cheese is that when milking these donkeys, very little milk is given off per sitting of milking these donkeys. All told it takes over 15 donkeys to produce a gallon of milk each day, and it takes over 3 gallons of milk to produce 1 pound of Pule.

Pule has been very popular for a very long time, especially to those familiar with its existence. Rumor had it that tennis star, Novak Djokovic used all of his winnings from his tournament to purchase the entire county’s supply of Pule, only later to discover the rumor was just that, a rumor. The global supply of Pule, albeit, a small supply relatively speaking, comes from a herd of Balkan Donkeys housed in a special nature preserve in the city of Zasavica in Serbia. Workers at the preserve view the production of Pule as a means of promoting the Balkan Donkeys which are considered by all right, an endangered species.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cheese is Everywhere in Wisconsin… Even on the roads?!


We all know that Wisconsin is known for its cheese-making prowess and it has become well-deserved honor through the course of history. Cheese and cheese-making have become such a mainstay across Wisconsin that vehicle license plates carry the slogan “America’s Dairyland” while lawmakers have officially coined the bacterium found in Monterey Jack cheese as the official microbe of the state of Wisconsin. A little over the top? Perhaps, but to each their own. However, one thing that takes Wisconsin’s love for its cheese from interesting to just… mind-blowing… is the use of cheese as melting agent for its city streets during winter.

In 2013, Milwaukee commenced a program that would use cheese brine to prevent citywide roads from freezing over during winter. The melting solvent was a mixture of cheese brine and traditional rock salt. The purpose behind this program was to execute a more cost efficient means of treating roads during the year’s harshest weather.

Photo Credit: Tom Lynn/New York Times 

According to Jeffrey A. Tews, operations manager for the city’s public works department, “You want to use Provolone or Mozzarella, which has the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it.” Tews and his crew, in the program’s infancy, spread the solvent across the streets of Bay View, a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side.

A group of experts noted that efforts to reuse the brine from cheese was only a matter of time before that came to fruition, especially considering a state so enamored in cheese like Wisconsin.

A local city official in Milwaukee noted that the state is trying to extract every possible use out of cheese it possibly can. He went on further to note that if the program continues to make leaps and bounds, it will most likely be implemented by cities all across the country. While the prospect of this program does sound like a genius idea, it does come with the potential for negative impacts, as does any newly piloted program in its infancy. Some of the issues that may surface range from:

  • Would the brine put out a cheese odor that would become bothersome for residents?
  • Would the scent attract rodents or other animals?
  • Would the pros of using cheese brine in the mixture of this solvent be enough to justify the transport and storage requirements for the brine, over the long haul?

If at first this sounds like a laughable program, think about the facts in play. Wisconsin produced well over 2 billion pounds of cheese in 2012. With such lofty amounts of cheese production comes an overwhelming supply of brine, which would otherwise be sent to the waste plant. Cheese brine, by city requirements, is allowable as a treatment on roads if limited to an 8 gallon to one ton rock salt ratio. The benefit of using brine in solvents for treating roads works for both parties, the dairy plants and the city’s public works departments. The dairy plants save on hauling costs for those municipalities in need of brine for road treatments who are willing to travel to the plant and haul it away for them (saving an average of $20,000/year) while the municipalities save on the cost of rock salt with the addition of brine to their treatment solvent (saving an average of $40,000/year). In the long run, it would seem that while there are both pros and cons on the table, I would suspect that the benefits of using brine to treat winter roads would tremendously outweigh the shortcoming of its use. I could see this become a nationwide program over the next decade.

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Use, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheese-Making Has Been Around For Longer Than You Might Think, Predating the Time of Jesus Christ


As we all know, Cheese has played an integral part of history, serving as sustenance through the ages for the human race since before the common era (before the time of Christ). From  its infancy to the present day, although the processes have been slightly changed, adjusted and tweaked over thousands of years, the basic ideas and methodologies for cheese-making has not really changed all that much.

Cheese can come in many forms, from bricks to wheels to larger blocks. If you’d like to see a large block of cheese, stop by Shisler’s Cheese House and take a gander at our 50-pound block of Pearl Valley Swiss Cheese. One of the more unique traits to cheese is that it is one of the few foods that are more sought after for when aged, than when made fresh. Some cheese can age several months, while some can age for several years.

As we are most accustomed to cheese for its use as a means of sustenance, cheese also has served a number of purposes through the ages, many of which are entirely “unrealized” by present-day society.

If you sit down and talk to anyone involved in the meticulous process of cheese-making, while it has its variations, the most simple answer for cheese making is: warming up some fresh milk, adding a solution that would increase the acidity content that would enable the milk to become curdled. As it cools down, the extra liquid called “whey” is extracted and the resulting product is cheese. While this becoming a known fact across society and while we are aware of this process, overall, how and where did this process become the standardized way of cheese-making?

It is noted in the publication in a journal called, Nature, cheese-making process established its primitive roots some 7,000 years ago, while other sources place the first cheese-making processes around 8,000 years. Nonetheless, we are still looking thousands of years of cheese-making, and the incredible part of it all is that, for the most part, the cheese-making process has experienced very little change,aside from a number of tweaks and modifications, due in large part to ever-changing technology and machines that cut down on the process time.

Noted in the journal’s article was that the first insights leading to the belief of Neolithic cheese-making were a number of foreign vessels in which archaeologists extracted across Northern Europe over 40 years ago. What was odd with these extracted vessels was that there were holes in them, which could suggest evidence of a primitive cheese-making container.

Unfortunately, at the time, this was only one workable theory as there was no certainty behind the claim, nor a way to a prove such. As the times changes, so did the technology and with the age of mass movements in technology, this theory would finally be proven as forensics would allow scientists to discover traces of cow’s milk within these hole-riddled containers.

Cheese has been a staple for millennia as the availability and life of dairy products ultimately causing hunters to stray more away from the killing of cattle and livestock to a life more focused on dairy and dairy processes, including cheese making. While hunterss did not stray completely away from the use of cattle and livestock as sustenance, dairy and dairy process were now more favorable as hunters now had the option of now putting down their “prized” cattle for food.

Noted again in the journal, a geneticist out of University College London did tremendous research on these primitive cheese-makers only to discover that most Europeans of the Neolithic period would have been lactose intolerant, meaning, digesting the lactose sugar from milk would have been very problematic. However, during the cheese-making process, any lactose from the milk would be extracted and removed through the holes in the primitive, cheese-making containers. A chemist out of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom discovered traces of milk buildup in pottery fragments across parts of Southwest Libya which dates back to prehistoric times.

As you can see, the evidence is quite revealing and has been scientifically proven. Cheese-making has been around for ages, dating back the some 7-8,000 years ago, essentially a world and time that has been all but forgotten of, but thanks in large part to technology, researchers, archaeologists and other scientist who dedicate their life’s work to such research, we can now begin to paint a picture of cheese-making, through the ages, even to a time before Jesus Christ, which is truly remarkable!

Posted in Cheese, Cheese history, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Our Beloved, Rita: A Life of love and a Legacy of Hard Work and Extraordinary Customer Service To Her Community


It all started 70 years ago in the town of Linz, Austria where our beloved, Rita Shisler opened her eyes to see the world in front of her for the very first time. Rita was born on August 12th, 1946 to her parents, Ludwig and Henrietta Baumgartner. Rita spent the earliest years of her life in a Displaced Persons camp in Ebelsberg, Austria. Her father Ludwig, worked for the American soldiers in Ebelsberg while her mother, Henrietta, went to nursing school. Having lived in Ebelsberg for 6 years, Rita had run into a major health scare as a child, developing Diptheria, a serious infection of the nose and throat. The infection had become grave to a point where doctors questioned her survival because of it. Rita went on to say, “During the Diptheria outbreak, there was a large room where children with the infection would stay, eat, sleep and receive their medications. During the night, several kids were shipped out because they had gone to heaven.” Later on, Rita was sent to another camp for food and medications in an effort to battle this infection. Miraculously, Rita pulled through and conquered the odds.

In 1952, Rita and her parents moved to Germany when her sister, Minnie, was born. Following their stay in Germany, her father thoroughly enjoyed the work he did for the American soldiers back in Ebelsberg that he wanted to bring his family to America. In an effort to come to America, they applied through the Catholic Church and eventually found a sponsor in New York. Growing up, Rita’s time was dedicated to school while taking care of the children, the cooking and the cleaning at home, while somehow managing to carry on her duties at work at Akron City Hospital. Rita belonged to the German Club after coming over from Germany, where she participated in youth group events such as singing and dancing.

A time later, as a senior high school girl, Rita tested out of the Akron City Rubber Company. The Akron City Rubber Company was testing senior high school girls in office practice for shorthand and typing. From there, Rita was placed with the BF Goodrich program, but instead decided to move to Defiance, Ohio, where she continued her collegiate education as she had wanted to go to law school. As part of her collegiate resume, Rita continued classwork at The University of Akron and Kent State University in the years following. She also worked for the Holiday Inn where she was sent to the Culinary Arts program at Cornell University. Soon, thereafter, Rita met Dan Shisler, and it was a match made in heaven and the beginning of the marriage of Rita and cheese.

THE BIRTH OF A CHEESE HOUSE

Shisler’s Cheese House was originally owned by a gentleman named Fred Biery and was then called Biery Cheese. Dan’s father, “Grandpa Shisler” bought the cheese store from Fred Biery when he retired from the railroad, after Biery traveled with his wife to Switzerland to convince Grandpa Shisler to do so. Eventually, Dan bought the cheese store from his father, and Shisler’s Cheese House stands today at the corner of Kidron Rd and US-30.

As the cheese store was in its infancy stages, Rita didn’t quite have that firework passion for cheese that she has today, and rightly so with anyone that is initially put into foreign waters. But, overtime, Rita developed a passion for business, customer service and of course, a burning passion for cheese as Shisler’s Cheese House has become her livelihood. The work, the customers and the cheese keeps her coming back for more. As Rita said “I am too old to start a new career” and why should she tamper with something that isn’t broken. Never mess with a good thing, or in this case, a great thing! More importantly than the cheese she sells to her customers, are her customers themselves. She treats them like royalty, because they are royalty. She has built rapports and lifelong friendships with countless customers over the years and they continue to come back knowing that they will have a personalized touch to their purchase, and more importantly, their visit with Rita. “I feel like I have an audience when I’m out there”, as Rita always delivers for her customers, no matter the day or time. She always has room, in what seems like an unending schedule, to talk with her customers and make them apart of her family, something you cannot find these days.

Last Christmas, the store was overflowing with customers, as is the norm for that time of the year for the store. Rita noted that it was the greatest thing seeing three generations of Shislers working in the store that day… herself, her son Dennis and her granddaughter, Natalia.

Wishing you a wonderful, beautiful, Happy 70th Birthday, Rita! May the day, the smiles and the cheese be amazing on your birthday and every day that follows!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pip Pip Cheddar-io: England, the Birthplace of Cheddar.


Cheddar

The most widely eaten cheese on this planet, Cheddar originated in Somerset, England around the late 12th Century and took its name from the Gorge or caves in the town of Cheddar that were used to store the cheese. The constant temperature and humidity of the caves provided a perfect environment for maturing the cheese. The town also gave its name to a unique part of the cheese-making process – known as “Cheddaring” – which is the process of turning the slabs of curd and piling them on top of each other in a controlled way to help drain the whey.It also stretches the curd. The process helps to create a harder cheese with firm body and is unique to Cheddar making.

Some History

Cheddar making in Somerset goes back more than 800 years with records from the King of England’s accounts (the so-called “Great Roll of the Pipe”) noting that in 1170 the King purchased 10,240 lbs (4.6 tonnes) of Cheddar cheese at a cost of a farthing a pound. The king at the time- Henry II – declared Cheddar cheese to be the best in Britain and his son Prince John (who reigned between 1199 and 1216) clearly thought the same as there are records of him continuing to buy the cheese for the great Royal banquets. In the reign of Charles 1 (1625 to 1649) parliamentary records show that the cheese made in Cheddar was sold before it was even made and indeed was only available at the court.

In 1724 Daniel Defoe devoted a chapter to Cheddar and its cheese in his book “A tour of the Islands of Great Britain”.

Today

Today Cheddar cheese is still made in Somerset but also all over the world. It is made on farms in the West Country and 14 makers are licensed to use the EU Protected Designation of Origin “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar”. The cheese must be made on a farm in the four counties of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset from locally produced milk and using traditional Cheddar making techniques – including hand Cheddaring. West Country Farmhouse Cheddar is matured in the region and sold at a minimum age of 9 months and is subject to regular grading throughout its life.

Larger dairies throughout the UK also make Cheddar and this is sold at different ages. Mild Cheddar is typically sold at about 3 months of age; medium matured Cheddar at 5 to 6 months; mature Cheddar at around 9 months, Extra Mature at around 15 months and Vintage at 18 months or more.

As Cheddar matures so its taste develops from the young creamy taste of mild Cheddar to complex, lasting, slightly nutty flavours of mature Cheddar and beyond.

Major brands include Cathedral City, Pilgrims Choice, Colliers and Seriously Strong whilst many supermarkets will now include the creamery or the farm in which the cheese was made. For example, Davidstow, Taw Valley, Lake District, Caledonian Pembrokeshire, Lockerbie and Isle of Man in the case of major creameries and Alvis, Gould, Denhay, Parkham, Brue Farm, Quickes, Goodwood Estate or Keens, in the case of farm made cheeses.  Cheddar is made in most areas of the country often as a balancing cheese when milk supply from a farm peaks.

Traditionally made Farmhouse varieties, which may be cloth bound, become significantly harder as they age; the texture becomes drier and the flavours generally more complex than their creamery counterparts. Some of the farm-made Cheddar uses unpasteurised (raw) milk which will tend to have rather more complex and stronger flavours, whilst others will use pasteurised milk. Cheese flavour will also vary depending on the time of year  it was made and what the cows may have been eating at that time.

Creamery made Cheddar is increasingly being sold at a longer age in response to changing consumer tastes for tastier cheese. These more mature (extra mature or vintage) Cheddars often have a characteristic sweet, nutty flavour with a very long finish. Mild Cheddar remains popular as an every day cheese and is characterised by a gentle, creamy flavour and has the added advantage of slicing easily.

So whatever your preference there will be a Cheddar for you depending on its age, how it was made, where it was made and the time of year that it was made.

Tips when buying

If you can, try before you buy because every  Cheddar will be slightly different. Find the one that you like and try to remember its name and its age (as defined by mild, medium mature etc). For a difference try one of the smoked or smoke flavoured Cheddars which many cheese shops now offer or the blended Cheddars where ingredients such as herbs, spices, Marmite© or fruits may have been blended with the matured cheese to produce a whole range of different taste sensations.

Posted in Cheese, Product Reviews, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feta Cheese vs. Goat Cheese: Quite the Cheesy Argument


Greek Feta

Ever wonder where the differences lie between feta and goat cheese? While many people refer to feta as a goat cheese, feta actually has a higher sheep’s milk content than goats’ milk content. According to the regulations surrounding the official name ‘feta’, no more than 30% of a feta cheese’s milk can come from goats; at least 70% of the milk has to be sheep’s milk. If a feta cheese has more than 30% goats’ milk in it, it is not, officially speaking, a feta cheese.

 

Goat cheese, as can be inferred from the name, is made from goats’ milk. Therefore, the difference between feta cheese and goat cheese is that goat cheese is 100% goats’ milk, and feta cheese is made up of sheep’s milk, plus some varying amount of goats’ milk, up to, but not exceeding, 30% of the total milk used to make the cheese. Despite this difference in content, there are good reasons why feta and goat cheese often get mixed up.

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese has a long tradition of being made in Mediterranean countries, where it is required that feta be aged at least three months. Just like the milk content is checked to make sure that the cheese can be classified as feta, the amount of time the cheese has been allowed to ripen is also checked in order to ensure that it can accurately be called a feta cheese.

The actual name ‘feta’ comes from Greek, meaning ‘a slice or a morsel’, and feta cheese is closely associated with many Greek dishes. Many recipes calling for feta cheese are variations on Greek salads, which often feature feta and olives, or variations on cooked feta, such as what has come to be known as Spanakopita, a Greek puff pastry filled with feta cheese, spinach, and spices.

Goat Cheese

Unlike feta cheese, goat cheese is traditionally made from 100% goats’ milk. Most common in France, goat cheeses are usually aged for a shorter period of time than feta cheeses. While fetas must be aged at least three months, many variants of goat cheese are ready for consumption very soon after the cheese has been formed and salted during the goat cheese making process. Other variants of goat cheese can be aged much longer, with some being aged for a month and others having three months or more to mature.

 

Generally speaking, the longer the goat cheese is aged, the stronger the flavor of the cheese becomes. When in France, it is a delight to explore the many varieties of goat cheese that are some of the favorite French cheeses. Trying both young and aged goat cheeses provides a very different experience of the taste of goat cheese; if you’re buying goat cheese in a shop where there is no shopkeeper to advise you on flavor, remember that the outside rind of a goat cheese becomes progressively darker with age. If you’d like a young goat cheese, choose the whitest rind you see; the darker rinds have more mature goat cheeses inside.

Difference Between Feta Cheese and Goat Cheese Tastes

While both of these cheeses are white in color and on the ‘soft’ side of the cheese spectrum, their flavors are actually quite different from one another. While the dominant flavor most people experience in feta cheese is a salty taste, goat cheeses are usually experienced as soft and sweet in flavor. Of course, different varieties of goat cheese (aged different lengths of time) have different flavors; however, aging goat cheese will not make it taste saltier. Instead, the flavor will become stronger in aged cheeses, but stronger in complexity, not in saltiness.

Both feta and goat cheese can be eaten cold or hot. Experiment with different types of recipes for these two delectable cheeses and you’re sure to find ways that you enjoy both types of cheese!

Posted in Cheese, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “hole” story behind Swiss Cheese… Get it?


Modern science has established that old-style processing led to the holes in Swiss cheese.

For more than a century, the holes in Swiss cheeses such as Emmental have been attributed to carbon dioxide given off by bacteria. But that’s not the whole story, and now the Swiss have determined exactly why the holes form the way they do.

The culprit? Hay.

In recent years, the holes in Swiss cheese – known as eyes – have gotten smaller because processing centers have gotten cleaner, according to the Agroscope Institute for Food Sciences, a Swiss research center.
The old-fashioned barns and buckets of previous years allowed more and larger hay particulates into the process, leading to bigger eyes. John Jaeggi, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Dairy Research, compares the relationship between eyes and particulates to the formation of raindrops. It all goes back to what’s called “heterogeneous nucleation,” he says.
“Rain forms around dust particles, and it’s kind of the same principle,” he says. “With these little specks of hay powder in that cheese body, that’s causing weaknesses in the curd structure and then that’s where the gas is going to form and get your eyes.” It doesn’t have to be hay, either, he adds — other particulate matter can do the same thing.
The basic theory regarding eyes and carbon dioxide is credited to William Mansfield Clark, a Department of Agriculture chemist, who published “A Study of the Gases of Emmental Cheese”in 1912. He used an apparatus of glass cylinders and mercury to capture gas. To make their discovery, the Swiss scientists used a CT scanner and followed the ripening of a cheese over the course of 130 days, Swissinfo reported.
Jaeggi, a third-generation cheesemaker with Swiss ancestors, says the new study has given a longtime belief in the cheese industry hard scientific proof. “They’ve basically put the science behind what was commonly known,” he says.
Be sure to stop by Shisler’s Cheese House and be apart of this “hole” story by diving into some Swiss Cheese!
Posted in Cheese, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Taste Of Heaven: Sharp Cheddar Mac N’ Cheese with Bacon


Macaroni and Cheese With Bacon - Photo: Diana Rattray

Cooked bacon adds smoky flavor to the cheese and bread crumb topping in this flavorful and creamy macaroni and cheese casserole. Feel free to make it without the addition of green onions. I thought they went well with the bacon flavor, but if you’re not a fan of onions, you can leave them out. Serve this macaroni and cheese with sliced tomatoes or a tossed salad for a satisfying family meal.

INGREDIENTS
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, about 2 cups dry
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • Topping
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

PREPARATION

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain the macaroni in a colander, rinse with hot water, and set aside.

Heat oven to 350° F (180° C/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the green onions and garlic powder. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir until well blended and smooth.

Continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Set 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese aside and  stir the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese into the sauce. Continue cooking and stirring until the cheese has melted.

Combine the cheese sauce with the drained macaroni and then spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle bacon evenly over the casserole and then top with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese.

Toss the bread crumbs with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Stop by Shisler’s Cheese House and let us help you make this tasty lunch or dinner creation with our supply of smoked bacon and sharp cheddar!

Posted in Cheese, Favorite Recipes, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment