Cheese is a foodstuff made from the curdled milk of various animals including cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo. Rennet is often used to induce milk to curdle, although some cheeses are curdled with acids like vinegar or lemon juice. Rennet is an enzyme obtained from the stomach lining of bovine calves, although a microbiological (laboratory produced) substitute is often used. Bacteria are added to cheese to reduce the pH and develop flavor, and some cheeses also have molds, either on the outer skin or throughout. Cheese is naturally yellow. In some parts of the world, such as Wisconsin USA, the milk fat is low in beta-carotene, making the cheese a paler yellow than normal. In this case it is common to add annatto plant dye as a coloring agent.
Major classes of cheese include:
- white mold cheese (e.g. Camembert)
- blue mold cheese (e.g. Roquefort)
- red surface bacteria cheese (all "stinky" cheeses)
- hard grating cheeses (e.g. parmesan)
- cheese with eyes (e.g. Swiss, or Emmental)
- pasta filata cheese (e.g. Mozzarella)
- hard cheese (e.g. Cheddar)
- semi-hard cheese (e.g. Edam and Gouda)
- soft, unripened cheese (e.g. cottage)
- whey cheeses (e.g. Brunost, Mysost, and Gjetost)
See also List of cheeses.
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Before the advent of space travel, it was believed (for some unknown reason) that the moon was made of a substance similar to cheese.
Because of the way it makes the mouth smile the word cheese is said just before someone takes a picture.