February 2, 2006

Because It Looks Like Baby Goat Cheese

According to legend--and Wikipedia--cheese was discovered thousands of years ago by "an Arab nomad carrying milk across the desert in a container made from an animal's stomach, only to discover the milk had been separated into curd and whey by the rennet from the stomach."

To which I say, "Curds I know, but rennet? And while we're at it: whey?"

Rennet, also called rennin or chymosin (EC 3.4.23.4), is an enzyme that is added to milk as the first step in making cheese, or for making junket. The enzyme reacts with -casein on the surface of the casein micelle particles in the milk. This in the presence of calcium ions causes the coagulation of the casein micelles to form a curd.

Chymosin reacts very specifically with -casein, cleaving the protein between the amino acids phenylalanine(105) and methionine (106), producing two fragments. The soluble fragment (residules 106-169) which becomes part of the whey is known as glyco macro peptide and contains the glycosylation sites for -casein. The other component (residules 1-105) is insoluble.

I see.
Whey, or milk plasma is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained; it is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses. Whey is used to produce ricotta and gjetost cheeses and is used to make many other products for human consumption and as an animal feed.
Wow, you might say, is there anything Wikipedia DOESN'T know? Well, the whey info helps explain what the kid puked up in the first batch, but there's no entry about the second batch, what I'm guessing is called the Kid Cheese. And I was most interested in how Wikipedians cleaned kid cheese off of a sheepskin tuffet.

Related visual: Dr David Fankhauser's Making Ricotta Illustrated [biology.clc.uc.edu]

3 Comments

Wash it off in the shower - do not use soap or washing detergents containing enzymes or bleach and use as little soap and water as possible. Do not scrub. Air dry. I have the long haired pillows onb my bed and am waiting to see if the cat or the baby pukes first.

Rennet is important for vegetarians, because when made from an animal stomach, it makes cheese not vegetarian (as opposed to merely not vegan, which it is inherently not).

I thank god my kid's not a puker. Snot you just let dry and chip off.

[yeah, we got that too. -ed.]

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