The kind of microorganism -- bacteria or fungus -- required to make cheese varies with the type of cheese. Some cheeses use a combination of microorganisms, while others require only one.
The primary function of bacteria in cheese-making is to acidify the milk by eating the milk sugar (lactose). The bacteria are added as cheese starter, of which there are two types. Mesophilic starters can be directly added to the milk and usually contain several subspecies of Lactococcus lactis or Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Thermophilic starters must be cultured before they can be added to the milk and contain Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii .
Fungus (or mold) spores are used to make cheeses with bloomy rinds or with veins. Penicillium camemberti is the primary fungus used for rinds, in cheeses such as camembert and brie. Penicillium roqueforti is used for blue or veined cheeses such as roquefort, stilton, gammelost, and gorgonzola.
Certain types of bacteria are required for the production of specific cheeses, in addition to the starter bacteria and fungi. For example, Swiss cheeses require propionic acid bacteria to achieve their characteristic round holes.
What Good Bacteria Is in Cheese?
A List of Foods Containing Microbes
What Is Animal Rennet?
The Difference Between Fresh Cheese & ...
Uses for Curdled Milk
What Are Rennet Tablets?
The Dangers of Roquefort Cheese
Difference Between Fermented Milk & ...
How to Store Parmigiano Reggiano
How to Make Muenster Cheese
How to Keep Scalloped Potatoes From ...
Swiss Cheese Nutrition
How to Make Queso Fresco
How to Crumble Gorgonzola Cheese
How to Pan-Fry Cheese
Pecorino Cheese Nutrition
Why Is Milk a Good Medium for Bacterial ...
Does a Sliced American Cheese Product ...
Baking Substitutions for Ricotta Cheese
How to Store Cheese
- Dairy for All: Starter Culture
- University of Hawaii Botany Dept., Faculty Lecture: Fungi In Manufacturing of Food
- Food Info: Dairy, Cheese Production
- "The Murray's Cheese Handbook"; Rob Kaufelt; 2006
Wendy Anderson has been writing professionally since 2006, and has had poems, short stories and essays published in several local literary magazines. She has also been copy-editing for more than 15 years, and has worked with local and national authors and publishing houses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lambuth College.