5 fun facts you need to know about cheese!

February 20, 2021

Did you know that farmer Jonas is making his own cheese again? I know many customers and everyone on the farm team is happy to see him back at it! 

I am really looking forward to trying some Beiler Family Farm Fresh Cheddar Cheese, and I bet you are too!

After all, who doesn’t love cheese?!? 

Cheese is the ultimate snack food, and a versatile cooking ingredient that gives whatever dish it is added to that special something that only cheese can bring. 

So, the topic of cheese has been on my mind lately, and in my curiosity I have come across some interesting facts about cheese.

Allow me to share…

1. Legend has it that the 1st cheese was created 4,000 years ago, accidentally!

“Whey” back when (get it), we didn’t have all the fancy storage containers with their matching lids like we do now. 

Instead what did we use? Animal stomachs of course! 

Well the story goes that someone stored their milk in an animal stomach and an enzyme within the stomach lining (which we now call rennet) caused the milk to separate into curds and whey. The curd solids were the first cheese, and the rest is history!

2. It takes about 10 pounds of milk to make just 1 pound of cheese!

That’s right, it’s a lot of milk! But if you have a lot of extra milk making cheese is a great way to utilize it.

Recently farmer Jonas made over 500 lbs of cheese! That means it took about 5,000 lbs of milk to make that much cheese! 

Just for comparison your average bathtub holds about 42 gallons of water.

3.Some cheeses are illegal in the United States.

Ok so some of you may already know this, especially if you have been a customer buying raw dairy for a while. However, I think it’s an important and interesting fact.

The law says, raw cheese is legal only after it has been aged for at least 60 days. 

This rule is in place because according to the FDA, evidence indicates that aging raw milk cheese for 60 days may eliminate or adequately reduce E. coli and Salmonella in raw milk cheese.

The US even bans certain cheeses from being imported here if they do not follow these standards. Even though those cheeses may be perfectly legal in the origin country. 

Like many small farmers, farmer Jonas is legally certified to produce raw cheese on his farm and he believes in the health benefits of raw cheese.

However, even being legally certified does not always protect you from agencies like the FDA. There are many instances of government agencies seizing and destroying thousands of dollars of raw cheese inventory due to possible contamination. 

But, this is a complicated and extensive topic that will need to be saved for another newsletter.

4. Cheese caves are a real thing!

Yup, cheese caves are real. Turns out caves are the perfect environment for properly aging cheese. Caves are cool and humid, and that is just what cheese needs to age and impart that natural cheese flavor we all love. 

Back in the day, cheese makers used to use natural caves. Nowadays, modern day cheese makers typically construct their own cheese caves so that they can easily regulate temperature and humidity. They are basically like really big refrigerators. 

The Belier Family Farm happens to have a cave on their property, maybe Farmer Jonas can experiment with aging his cheese in a natural cave!

5. Many lactose intolerant people can eat cheese!

Being lactose intolerant does not have to mean goodbye to cheese. You just have to find the right kind of cheese for you. Aged cheeses tend to have very little lactose in them.

Most of the lactose in cheese is actually lost as the whey drains during the cheesemaking process. The next step in cheesemaking, fermentation, starts metabolizing the milk's lactose and turning it into lactic acid. 

All this results in very little lactose left behind in the final product. 

As a general rule, the fresher and softer the cheese, the more lactose. So if you are lactose intolerant you may want to avoid fresh and soft cheeses. 

Instead aim for hard and aged cheeses like, parmesan, muenster, swiss and sharp cheddar. 

Cheese is a food that has been enjoyed throughout much of human history. 

It is nutrient dense, protein packed, great on the go, and of course delicious.

It is a food that tells a story based on the region it is made. It can be dressed up as fine cuisine or enjoyed as a favorite down home comfort food like mac and cheese. 

Plain and simple, cheese is awesome and tasty and that is why we all love it!

-Sara and the Beiler Farm Team

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