cheese

cheese1
/cheez/, n., v., cheesed, cheesing.
n.
1. the curd of milk separated from the whey and prepared in many ways as a food.
2. a definite mass of this substance, often in the shape of a wheel or cylinder.
3. something of similar shape or consistency, as a mass of pomace in cider-making.
4. Informal. partly digested milk curds sometimes spit up by infants.
5. cheeses, any of several mallows, esp. Malva neglecta, a sprawling,weedy plant having small lavender or white flowers and round, flat, segmented fruits thought to resemble little wheels of cheese.
6. Slang (vulgar). smegma.
7. Metalworking.
a. a transverse section cut from an ingot, as for making into a tire.
b. an ingot or billet made into a convex, circular form by blows at the ends.
8. a low curtsy.
v.i.
9. Informal. (of infants) to spit up partly digested milk curds.
v.t.
10. Metalworking. to forge (an ingot or billet) into a cheese.
[bef. 1000; ME chese, OE cese (c. OS kasi, G Käse) < L caseus]
cheese2
/cheez/, v.t., cheesed, cheesing. Slang.
1. to stop; desist.
2. cheese it,
a. look out!
b. run away!
[1805-15; perh. alter. of CEASE]
cheese3
/cheez/, n. Slang.
a person or thing that is important or splendid.
[1905-10; perh. < Urdu chiz thing < Pers]

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Food consisting of the coagulated, compressed, and usually ripened curd of milk separated from the whey.

When milk sours, it forms both a protein-rich gel, or curd, and a lactose-rich fluid, or whey. Coagulation is often facilitated by adding rennin, an enzyme that acts on the milk's chief protein, casein. The resulting curd is then cut or broken to release most of the whey. Ripening and curing are affected by moisture content, acidity, presence of microorganisms, and other factors. Cheese is made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, llamas, yaks, and other animals; in the West, cow's milk is most common. Products vary according to fat content of the milk, heating or pasteurization, and addition of enzymes or cultures of bacteria, molds, or yeasts. Cheese varieties include hard cheeses (e.g., cheddar, Edam, Emmental, Gouda, Provolone, Romano, Swiss), semisoft cheeses (Gorgonzola, Limburger, Muenster, Roquefort), and soft cheeses (Brie, Camembert, cottage, Neufchâtel, and ricotta). Cheese is a source of protein, fat, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, iron), and vitamin A.

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food
 nutritious food consisting primarily of the curd, the semisolid substance formed when milk curdles, or coagulates. Curdling occurs naturally if milk is not used promptly: it sours, forming an acid curd, which releases whey, a watery fluid containing the soluble constituents; and it leaves semisolid curd, or fresh cheese. In some areas, cheese is still made simply by allowing milk to curdle naturally, or by mixing milk with juices or extracts that reduce it to curds and whey. A brief treatment of cheese follows. For full treatment, see dairy product: Cheese (dairy product).

      Cheese making probably originated soon after humans first took milk from wild or domesticated animals. The Christian Bible refers to “cheese of the herd” being given to King David; milk from cows, and presumably from other animals, was used for cheese making by about 1000 BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew and valued cheese, as did early people in northern Europe. Methods for cheese making have often been kept secret.

 Important as a preservation technique, cheese making reduces about 10 volumes of milk to one volume of cheese. The curd, or soft gel, is formed by the chief protein in milk, casein, when enough lactic acid is developed from lactose (milk sugar) by the microorganisms present in the milk or when it is acted upon by rennin. Rennin is an enzyme usually obtained from the stomach of young calves in a brine extract called rennet. At the moment of coagulation, all the milk constituents, including most of the fat, casein, and other water-insoluble substances, are contained in the curd. The curd is cut or broken to release the whey, but a portion of the whey is always retained in the curd.

      Hundreds of varieties of cheese are made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, horses, llamas, and yaks. Products vary according to the selection and treatment of the milk; adjustment of its fat content; heating or pasteurizing; and addition of enzymes or cultures of bacteria, molds, or yeasts. Curd formation varies with changes in temperature, time, acidity for coagulation, proportions of rennet and acid, and the speed and extent of removal of the whey. Ripening and curing consists of biological and chemical changes that occur in the cheese and are affected by the moisture content, acidity, texture, shape, size, and microorganisms in the cheese. These changes alter the consistency as well as the flavour of the cheese. Before ripening, cheese is said to be fresh or green; after ripening it is called cured, aged, or ripened. The chemical changes may be classified broadly as the breakdown of fats to fatty acids; proteins to amino acids; and lactose to such products as lactic, acetic, and propionic acids, diacetyl, and carbon dioxide. Flavourful products of ripening include volatile fatty acids, ketones, esters, alcohols, peptides, amino acids, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide.

      In modern factories, cheese is mass produced according to standardized recipes and techniques that result in a more uniform product. It is not necessarily of higher quality, and there are fewer varieties. Cheese making has been of primary economic importance for hundreds of years in The Netherlands, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Certain cheeses are historically associated with particular areas. Keeping quality is enhanced by a variety of procedures, including heating and kneading (Italian provolone) and soaking in brine (Egyptian Domiati). The loosely knit structure of French Roquefort develops blue mold only in a cool, wet atmosphere such as occurs naturally in the caves of Roquefort.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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