How Does Cheddar Cheese Grow Mold?


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The main ingredient in cheese production is milk. Most cheeses are made from goat, cow, or sheep milk. Cheddar is made from cow’s milk, Parmesan is also made from cow’s milk, and Swiss from cow’s milk as well. There are a few differences between these cheeses, starting with hardness. Cheddar and Provolone are semi-hard, while Swiss is hard. The first step in making cheese is the curdling process. You must coagulate or curdle the milk until it turns into curds and whey. The cheese is curdled with a bacteria culture and a coagulating enzyme, both of which help speed the separation of liquids and solids. The cheese is then warmed until it has reached a bacteria-free temperature. During warming, adding a colored-dye is optional. After reaching a constant temperature, the starter culture is then added, beginning to coagulate the milk into one large curd. Then the whey is removed. After removing the whey, the molding, shaping and salting processes begin. After the salting process, the last and final step, ripening, then begins. Cheese can be made into four different levels of hardness: Soft, Semisoft, Hard, and Very hard.


Mold is a member of the fungi kingdom. Organisms like mushrooms fall in this category. Fungi must use other plants and animals to get their food source. Fungi have very similar metabolisms to animals, so they eat the same types of food sources humans do: Cheese, bread, ect. Some fungi can get all of the nutrition they need to grow from eating cheese, especially members of the genus Penicillium, all of which produce blue-green spores that give the mold its color. Some of the species of Penicillium are harmless, and they are used to give the Blue Cheeses their color and flavor. Mold grows on cheese often because of the abundance of bacteria used in the making of cheese. Cheese is also a moist which promotes the growth of mold. Cheese is affected by mold mostly through the mold spores in the air. Mold will grow as long as there is still a reliable food source. Sometimes it can double in size in an hour’s time. Mold can grow in a variety of colors. Some fungi are good – like yeast. Fungi and mold cause trillions of dollars in damage a year from food spoilage around the world.

Mold is only possible with an adequate amount of moisture. Humid, warm climates are more likely to have mold growth than dry, cool climates. Molds can be asexual or sexual. They can be sexual by one piece of mold moving into another and reproducing. They can be asexual by one piece of mold breaking away from the whole piece and then reproducing on its own.

Black mold is the worst type of mold. It is mostly grown on bread, but it can grow on other foods as well. Black mold can be airborne, like other molds. Whenever you inhale it can cause lung disease. It affects mainly children with mold allergies. Black mold is what’s known as a Toxic Mold. There are thousands of molds in the world that are not harmful to people. However, a few of them can cause diseases and illnesses.

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