Cheese & its holes


There are countless stories about how the holes get into the cheese and most of them are just anecdotes, legends and comical speculations…

Why there are really holes in cheese is scientifically explained as follows: through the activities of special maturing cultures, carbon dioxide is produced similar to how it happens within yeast dough. The gas would like to escape, but this is prevented by the cheese dough as well as the cheese rind. This is why the gas comes together within cavities of various sizes and these are the holes we find in cheese. Among experts you will hear the terms round eyes, irregular eyes or slit or grain-shaped eyes, characteristic hole structures which anyone can see when they take a closer look at the various cheese types.

Why does grated cheese stick Tear open the package, spread grated cheese generously over the pasta and enjoy!
But how is the cheese actually shredded and why does it not stick together?

The cheese is transported to the shredder in single-variety blocks and mechanically shredded into 30 mm to 40 mm long cheese sticks, depending on the specifications. A grating insert is then used to adjust the thickness of the cheese sticks.

After the cheese has been shredded, potato starch is added to the cheese sticks to prevent the individual pieces of cheese from sticking together. Although this sometimes makes the grated cheese feel a little mealy, it remains particularly free-flowing and spreadable. Using a so-called multi-head weigher, the cheese is then packed into 175-gram to 5000-gram bags using uniform filling mechanisms.

After the data and the best-before date have been printed, the bags are sealed and pass through the metal detector. This checks that the product does not contain any metallic foreign bodies. Afterwards, the bag has to be checked for weight, where all packages that are outside the permissible weight tolerances are sorted out.

If everything fits, the bags are packed in cartons, stacked on pallets and provided with transport protection. From the warehouse, they are transported by refrigerated trucks to the central warehouse of the retailer and from there to the various markets as needed.

By the way: an opened package should be used up within a week if possible, as grated cheese is one of the more sensitive foods. If you want to store a package once it has been opened, the ideal refrigerator temperature is between six and eight degrees Celsius.

Lactose intolerant means that a person’s body has difficulties processing milk sugar (lactose), thus the term.

Lactose intolerance is a metabolic disorder which can occur at any time during a person’s life. Typical symptoms are gas, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting. As soon as a person starts to suffer from lactose intolerance, that person’s entire diet has to change accordingly in order to lessen the symptoms. However, that person does not have to do without, he or she simply has to make more conscious choices when shopping for groceries and to keep a look out for certain lactose-free products.

People who suffer from lactose intolerance cannot breakdown or only partially breakdown the sugar which is naturally found within milk because their bodies lack the necessary enzyme called lactase. This enzyme breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose.

Normally, the disaccharide lactose is broken down into both glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase within the small intestines which then pass on into the bloodstream and thus provide the cells and organs with energy.

Foods with a lactose content of 0.1 g/ 100 g or less are considered lactose-free. If a person is completely lacking the enzyme lactase, then a lactose-free diet must be followed. This person cannot consume more than 1 gram of lactose per day. However, there are cases where the person simply has lactase deficiency where the diet simply has to be low-lactose in which up to 10 grams of lactose can be consumed per day.

In order to help lactose intolerant consumers, and these are approximately 12 million people just in Germany, enjoy cheese without any risks, Heinrichsthaler has made almost all of its products lactose-free. The lactose-free products are easily recognisable thanks to their lactose-free label.

Milk is one of our society’s staple foods and is an important provider of calcium. Milk supplies us with important vitamins, valuable milk proteins, easily digestible fat as well as important minerals which we should not do without.

Every year, the per capita consumption of milk and milk products amounts to approx. 330 kg (source: FNL).

One litre of milk contains (source: FNL):

– 39 g fat

– 35 g protein

– 49 g lactose

– 0,8 g vitamins (A, E, D, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, C etc.)

– Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc, etc.)

– 899 g water

The main component in milk, besides water, is milk fat which is considered easily digestible and is distributed throughout the milk in miniature globules. This leads us to the question of why milk is white in colour. On the one hand milk fat plays its part and on the other you have the casein. Not only the fat globules, but also the casein reflects the incoming light as white, thus colouring the milk white.

Protein is crucial for building bodily substances since our muscles, tissue as well as our organs are largely made up of protein. Even enzymes and hormones which are responsible for controlling our metabolism are made up of various proteins. The quality of the protein in our diet is largely determined by the amount of essential amino acids. The larger the number of essential amino acids, the higher the quality of the protein. The protein in milk is made up of approx. 80% casein and 20% whey protein. Furthermore, casein is made up of approx. 42% and whey protein of approx. 46% essential amino acids respectively, thus milk and milk products are especially rich in essential amino acids.

Milk sugar has a very advantageous feature which helps absorb calcium, magnesium and other minerals through our intestines.

Vitamins control and regulate the functions within an organism. The liposoluble vitamins from milk are more abundant the more fat content the milk has. Vitamin A, for example, supports the constant regeneration of the visual pigments found within the eye, plays an important role in reproduction and helps keep skin intact as well as keeps mucous membranes healthy.

Minerals are the building blocks for bones and teeth. Milk is very important for supplying calcium; no other food supplies so much of it. Calcium salts are built into hard bone and teeth structures. Calcium ions stabilise cell membranes, serve as stimulus transmitters within the nervous system, tell our muscles to move and activate enzymes for blood clotting. In order for the body to absorb calcium we need vitamin D or lactic acid.

source: FNL, CMA

Our quality management at Heinrichsthaler works across departments and includes quality assurance, quality management, the laboratory and product development. The processes of incoming milk, the entire production and the outgoing product are controlled.

A day in our quality management is very varied: sensory testing, validation and verification, as well as monitoring production processes. Our responsibilities also include dealing with complaints and training employees to familiarise them with the Infection Protection Act and the hygiene regulations, among other things.

But what constitutes quality?

That is usually an individual opinion. However, there are various legal regulations for our industry, such as EU and cheese regulations. In addition, certifications according to the “International Featured Standard” (IFS) are required by retail chains and customers. These are not obligatory, but guarantee high quality. IFS refers to a set of “food, product and service standards” that are intended to ensure that “a compliant product” is produced “or a service” is provided “in accordance with specifications agreed with customers”. The IFS certificate attests to the quality of the products and the production processes, from raw milk to finished cheese, as do the annual awards in DLG tests.

That is why we, once the royal purveyor to the Saxon royal family, stand for tradition, innovation and quality with our high-quality cheese range.

Cheese is pressed, seasoned, formed and ripened from milk with various fat content levels blended separately with rennet (sweet milk cheese) or acidification (sour milk cheese) made up mainly of protein, fat, mineral salts and milk sugar with a high nutritional value.

The first producers of cheese, dating back to approximately 8,000 B.C., were the nomadic peoples of Anatolia who first made use of animal milk products. 4,000 years later, the bible mentions a “blooming dairy economy” in Mesopotamia.

Over the millennia various methods on how to make and process cheese and numerous regional sorts have come to be. Cheese is now divided into the various fat content levels and taste variations:

a) mild cheese (e.g. Gouda, butter cheese, Edam)

b) robust cheese (e.g. Allgäuer Emmental, Bergkäse)

c) aromatic cheese (e.g. Tilsit, blue cheese, beer cheese)

d) hearty cheese (e.g. Camembert, Brie, Limburger, Munster, Romadur)

e) savoury cheese (e.g. Harzer, Mainz hand cheese, hand cheese)

f) spicy cheese (e.g. nettle cheese)

Furthermore, there is a dividing of hard cheeses such as Emmental or semi-hard cheeses such as Gouda as well as soft cheeses such as Brie or Camembert.

It is possible that, with the beginning of breeding cattle, our ancestors of the Middle Stone Age (around 10,000 B.C.) experienced that when milk filled in earthen pots was kept next to the cave fire, it would first turn sour and then thicken. These natural milk products turned out to be both quite tasteful and very nourishing and thus these first sour milk cheeses complemented the diet of the Stone Age people.

It still took another 5,000 years until the mystery of cheese production was really understood. What was once just by chance, was now being systematically cultivated, 5,000 B.C., in Mesopotamia, in Palestine, in the entire Black Sea region, in Asia Minor, Egypt and in North Africa. It is in this way that cheese quickly found its way into the daily diet of the Greek and that with great pride. Cheese became a much sought after commodity, a delicacy, a sacrificial object and, with a little bit of imagination, an aphrodisiac with magical metaphors.

The imaginative thinking and feeling of the Hellene towards the fortunes and forces of nature lead to the belief in the Olympian gods. Everything extraordinary was due to some aspects of this mythical nobility, even cheese. The Greeks of old swore that cheese was a gift from the Olympian gods. The magical force of enjoying cheese was transcribed by the Greek poet Homer himself in the 10th chapter of his odyssey, roughly 8,000 B.C., and even Aristotle completed an entire work on the processing of milk. It is Pliny that we have to thank for the idea that cheese closes the stomach. It is in his work „Caseus de si ipso“ (The cheese about itself) it is mentioned „Qui physicen non ignorat, haec testificatur“. In its translation from 1730, it reads as follows: „If the body rests, I (cheese) close the stomach.” This sentence is the start of a long tradition that cheese should be used to round up the perfect menu and to close the stomach.

Source: Dipl.-Soz. Helmer Pardun, 2005