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The Cheese Matrix I

Mold Mycelia Development

“A ripening cheese is a virtual treasurehouse of microorganisms, engaged in life and death activities, and enzymes catalyzing simple to complex reactions of fat, protein, sugar and their intermediate products…What is the magic of this food and why is it so difficult or impossible to duplicate with other protein foods like soybean, peanut, and coconut?…A ripening cheese does not deal with one system; it deals with a multitude.  It is complex, intriguing, and totally biological.” (Frank Kosikowski)

During the aging process, we have the casein protein structure, an intense network of protein fibers cross linked and bound at various sites.  This cross bounding is what gives cheese its incredible strength at an early age.

“In time, and with sufficient available water and acid, this structure disintegrates partly and firmness gives way to a softer texture.  Rigid dicalcium paracaseinate has been transferred into pliable monocalcium paracaseinate and a free protein form, paracasein.  Some of the bonding material, too, disappears, dissolved by the increasing lactic acid of fermentation or hydrolized by enzymes…the bacteria continue their task of creating new compunds and…flavor.” (Kosikowski)

The above photo shows the matrix of the fungus strains that develop within cheese (like blue) and upon its surface (like white mold on brie).  Beautiful, right?

How far would you like to enter the matrix?

I am delving into as we speak…stay tuned…

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