Cheese is an amazing food that has been around for thousands of years. It’s also one of the most versatile foods out there. Cheese is used in cooking, baking, and even making desserts.
But did you know that cheese is also a source of protein? In fact, it contains 20% of the recommended daily amount of protein.
Cheese stinks. No matter how much you love cheese, there comes a point where you just want to throw it out. The smell is too strong, the taste is off, and you just don’t want to eat it anymore.
But if you’re wondering why cheese smells bad, you might be surprised at what causes it. In fact, cheese has a lot of different components that can cause it to stink.
But why does cheese have such a disagreeable odor? Alternatively, why does cheese have such a strong odor, if you’re very sensitive to the subject? Why are there just a few kinds of cheese? Why is it that some foods, like mozzarella, have no odor? Finally, how can you tell whether a piece of cheese is bad since it has such a distinct odor? Because there is so much information flooding your nose, you can’t truly use it. This is what we’ll be discussing in this post, and hopefully, you’ll find all the information you want.
Here’s exactly why cheese stinks so bad, plus how to tell when it’s gone off.
The first thing you need to understand about cheese is that it doesn’t really smell good or bad. Instead, it smells differently depending on its type.
For example, cheddar cheese will always smell stronger than other types of cheeses. But not every kind of cheese smells as strongly as others. Some cheeses do not have any scent whatsoever. And then there are those cheeses with a milder aroma. These include feta, blue-veined cheeses, and goat cheese. The reason behind these differences is because each type of cheese has unique ingredients. For instance, cheddar cheese is made from cow milk while Brie cheese is made from sheep milk.
Both of them contain lactose which gives their respective flavors. However, they differ in terms of fat content. Cheddar cheese usually has more butterfat compared to Brie cheese. That means that cheddar cheese tends to have a stronger flavor.
It’s a fact of life that cheese stinks. However, there are a number of explanations behind this difficult to ignore reality. The bacteria are mostly responsible for the odor of cheese. This is the most common offender, as it can be found in almost all cheeses.
After the milk has curdled, the bacteria is introduced to chew down the sugar (lactose) in the milk. The odor you detect is caused by the gas released by the bacteria, and it contributes to the cheese’s pungent scent. The bacteria culture develops as the cheese ages, and the scent intensifies. Consider Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.
After bacteria, the cleaned rind is the next most common cause of infection. Various liquids, like as brine, cognac, and beer, are used to keep them wet, and all three will make the rind smell bad from a mile away. Third, because of the nature of the animal, goat or sheep’s milk cheese will have a strong odor by default. If you’ve ever tasted lamb or mutton, you know how tough it is to get rid of the scent.
When cheese gets old, the bacteria starts growing rapidly. As time passes, the amount of bacteria increases, and the resulting gases start producing an unpleasant odor. In addition, the moisture level also rises, making the cheese ripe for mold growth.
Mold spores thrive at high temperatures, and once they enter the cheese, they multiply quickly. They produce toxins that give the cheese a foul taste and smell. If you don’t mind eating rotten food, go ahead and eat it. You’ll probably never notice anything wrong with your meal. On the contrary, if you’re sensitive to odors, you may find yourself avoiding certain foods just because they stink too much.
If you want to avoid getting sick, try to buy fresh cheese instead of aged ones. Fresh cheese contains fewer bacteria, and therefore won’t spoil as fast. Also, store it properly. Keep it out of direct sunlight and heat sources. Don’t leave it exposed to air currents either. Curdling the milk is required before creating any type of cheese. The protein and lipids in the milk are separated from the whey.
Even if a little amount of bacteria is present in milk, it is insufficient to get things moving as quickly as they could. As a result, the milk curds are inoculated with a starting culture. These cultures are a separate issue that we’ll discuss later, but for now, you should be aware that there are dozens of them. When the bacteria culture begins to digest the lactose in milk, a little amount of gas is released. They smell like tiny little fairy farts, and that’s how the cheese gets its fragrance.
The process of separating the fat from the water requires enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that act on other substances to break them apart into smaller pieces. Bacterial cells contain these enzymes, which makes them perfect candidates for use in cheese production.
In order to create cheese, the milk must first undergo some kind of treatment so that the fats and proteins become coagulated. For example, when the cream is added to milk, the casein molecules begin clumping together.
Lactic acid is produced by bacteria after they digest lactose. This acid is an important part of the cheese-making process. There would be no cheese if it weren’t for it. Even cheeses made with rennet (whether animal or vegetable) include lactic acid in some form.
As mentioned earlier, cheese can last up to two years without spoiling. However, this doesn’t mean that it has been stored for that long. Instead, it means that the cheese was kept under proper conditions during storage.
Properly storing cheese prevents it from going rancid. Rancidity occurs when the fats oxidize and turn brownish-yellow. Rancid cheese smells awful, tastes bitter, and even gives off toxic fumes. Cheese is usually aged for several reasons. One of the main reasons is to develop flavor.
During aging, bacteria and enzymes break down the proteins in the cheese, creating a flavorful product. This process takes anywhere from a few weeks to a year depending on the type of cheese. Cheese is also aged to help preserve it. As the cheese ages, it becomes harder and lasts longer. It is also easier to transport because it doesn’t develop texture. As the cheese ages, the protein molecules begin to clump together, forming a solid mass. This helps the cheese hold together during shipping and storage. Aging also allows the cheese to develop a stronger taste.
When people think about stinky food, they often associate it with rotten eggs. But what most people don’t realize is that many foods have a strong odor associated with them. In fact, one study found that more than half of all Americans believe that onions cause their breath to stink!
But while onion breath may not be pleasant, it isn’t necessarily unhealthy. The reason why your mouth might feel funny after eating onions is due to the presence of sulfur compounds called thiosulfinates. Thiosulfinate compounds give onions their characteristic aroma. And just like garlic, onions aren’t harmful to our health unless eaten in large quantities over time.
In an odd twist of fate, extremely pungent-smelling cheese is frequently incredibly pleasant. When you take a piece of a particularly stinky, stinking cheese, your brain will detect the flavor as something pleasurable, according to a mechanism known as "backward smelling." Parmesan, for example, has a strong aroma yet is exquisite to taste and melts in your tongue.
Cheese comes in different varieties. Some are milder tasting, such as mozzarella, feta, cheddar, Swiss, etc., whereas others are much spicier, including blue cheese, Gouda, Roquefort, parmesan, provolone, etc. These differences come from how each variety of cheese is processed.
Goat and sheep’s milk have a distinctive odor because of the presence of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in the milk. LAB is responsible for producing the characteristic flavor of goat and sheep’s cheese.
The type of milk you use is another key influence in cheese aroma. Cow milk has a faint odor, although it is not as noticeable as goat or sheep milk. This is because goat and sheep milk have higher levels of caproic acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid than cow and sheep milk. These are fatty acids discovered in greater concentrations in their milk than in the milk of any other animal.
As a result, any cheese made with goat or sheep milk may have a goat-like odor.
In conclusion, there are several factors that can affect the quality of cheese:
1. Type of Milk used – Goat/sheep milk gives off a distinct odor compared to cows’ milk.
2. Ageing Process – Aged cheeses have better flavor and texture.
3. Storage conditions – Cheeses stored at high temperatures lose moisture content and become hard.
I hope this article helped you with all your food curiosities.