The process of making cheese starts with milk as it is a milk product. Milk is the main ingredient required for making cheese though other items are also necessary. However, the milk that makes the best kind of cheese is not the ones that we get in the shops because they are mostly pasteurized milk. In the process of making cheese, fresh raw or unpasteurized milk is needed. However, to get unpasteurized milk and transport it to your kitchen could be a very difficult job. Generally, the fear that persists with unpasteurized milk is that of contamination. Firstly, getting a dairy farm or poultry where milk producing animals like cow, goat, sheep, etc are kept might not be within your reach. This reduces your chances of getting fresh raw milk. Secondly, even if you manage to get to a far away dairy farm the problem of transporting it to your place arises as unpasteurized milk gets contaminated quite easily. Therefore, it is important to transport the milk in some air tight and germ free container so that it does not get contaminated. However, if you raise milk producing animals at your place or have neighbours who raise such animals then obtaining milk from them is the best way of procuring unpasteurized milk. However, if you do not manage to get such raw milk you could start your cheese making process with other kinds of milk that are available in the market. Some of the alternatives that can be used in place of unpasteurized milk are skim milk, 2% milk or whole milk.
The reason why along with homemade cheese makers it becomes necessary to have raw milk is that in pasteurized milk the bacteria and germs are removed which affects the cheese enzymes. Thus, the ability of milk to form curd is reduced in case of pasteurized milk. Therefore, it is always true that pasteurized milk cannot produce the cheese of superior quality as unpasteurized milk can produce.
In the process of cheese making, caseins or milk proteins are converted into curds, which is the basic element of cheese. The conversion is carried out by adding a starter culture in the milk, where lactic acid is formed from the conversion of lactose present in the milk.
Starter culture refers to a group of bacteria. The bacterium goes through a process which may be compared with the method in which yeast is used for brewing of beer. Thus, for making cheese at home requires starter culture as homemade cheese makers. There are various kinds of starter cultures that can be used. However, the best type of starter culture for making cheese depends on the particular kind of cheese that you are going to prepare. For example, there are particular kinds of starters that make the best kind of mozzarella cheese while there could be some other kind of starter for making camembert or feta cheese. Starter culture helps in determining the flavour, aroma and texture of the cheese. Another cheese maker required along with starter culture is rennet. It is an enzyme that works with the starter culture in the cheese making process and helps in curdling of the milk.
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