Spanish cheeses

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There is a legend that says it was discovered by an Arab merchant who, while making a long journey through the desert, put milk in a container made from the stomach of a lamb. When he went to consume it, he saw that it was coagulated and fermented (due to the rennet in the lamb's stomach and the high temperature of the desert). There are other authors who point out that cheese was already known in prehistoric times, but it has not been proven.

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There is a legend that says it was discovered by an Arab merchant who, while making a long journey through the desert, put milk in a container made from the stomach of a lamb. When he went to consume it, he saw that it was coagulated and fermented (due to the rennet in the lamb's stomach and the high temperature of the desert). There are other authors who point out that cheese was already known in prehistory, but it has not been proven.

Legends aside, it probably arose as a way to preserve milk, applying salt and pressure to it, before using a ferment for the first time, perhaps by verifying that cheeses made in animal stomachs had a better and more solid texture. The oldest archaeological evidence of cheese making has been found in ancient Egyptian tomb murals, dating from around 2300 BC. C. These early cheeses would likely have a strong flavor and be intensely salty, with a texture similar to feta or cottage cheese.

Sheep were domesticated 12,000 years ago and in ancient Egypt cows were cared for and milked for milk, so it stands to reason that they would also make cheese. Milk was kept in containers made of leather, porous ceramic, or wood, but because they were difficult to keep clean, the milk fermented rapidly. The next step was to extract the whey from the curd to make some kind of fresh cheese, without rennet, with a strong and acid flavor.

From the Middle East, cheese-making skills were introduced to Europe, where colder climates required less salt for preservation. With the reduction of salts and acids, the cheese became an environment conducive to bacteria and molds, responsible for giving it its characteristic flavor.

The curing of the cheeses consists of the aging of the same, in a process in which they are dried and additionally, conservation techniques are applied, such as salting or smoking. The time required to consider a cheese as cured can vary from one to another, but in general a minimum of a year and a half or two years is required.

The curing process makes it obtain a much harder and drier texture, as well as increasing the intensity of its flavor, a property highly desired among cheese lovers. However, many people do not tolerate strong flavors, so it is easy to find different curing variants for the same cheese, usually classifying them as tender, semi-cured and cured.

 

There are also varieties made by maceration, buying cheese with wine or buying cheese with rosemary are two good options to try them.