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Swiss cheese

From Academic Kids

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Swiss_cheese_cubes.jpg
Cubes of Emmental Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese is the generic name, in the United States, for several related varieties of cheese, originally made in Switzerland. It has a distinctive appearance, as a block of the cheese is cratered with holes (although not all kinds of Swiss cheese has this feature; see below). The use of Swiss cheese as a generic name for a type of cheese (as opposed to a descriptor of national origin) is not common in the United Kingdom, where the cheeses are usually distinguished individually.

The 450 known Swiss cheeses are classified in 5 categories: extra-hard, hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, and soft. Cow milk is used in 99% of the cheeses produced, the remaining share is mostly made up of sheep and goat milk.

Contents

Well known Swiss cheese (among others) categorized:

extra-hard:

hard:

Swiss cheese being stored in a cellar in a small cheese dairy near St. Gallen
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Swiss cheese being stored in a cellar in a small cheese dairy near St. Gallen

semi-hard:

semi-soft:

soft:

Three types of bacteria are used in the production of Emmentaler cheese: Streptococcus thermophilis, Lactobacillus, and Propionibacter shermani. In a late stage of cheese production, P. shermani consumes the lactic acid excreted by the other bacteria, and releases carbon dioxide gas, which forms bubbles that appear to be "holes" when the cheese is sliced. The cheese industry calls these holes or tunnels "eyes". Swiss cheese without eyes is known as "blind".

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