cheese cheese lifestyle


Wis­con­sin researcher makes a bet­ter ched­dar — Asso­ci­at­ed Press — Pub­lished March 12, 2003 — MADISON, Wis. — A Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son pro­fes­sor says he's found a way to take the bit­ter­ness out of ched­dar — a dis­cov­ery that could save cheese­mak­ers some seri­ous bread. Food sci­ence pro­fes­sor Jim Steele said an enzyme reduces the bit­ter taste that afflicts low-grade ched­dar cheese. "It has the poten­tial to give con­sis­ten­cy to the qual­i­ty of cheese that we pro­duce, and save us a whole lot of mon­ey,'' said John Umhoe­fer, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Wis­con­sin Cheese Mak­ers Asso­ci­a­tion. Cheese­mak­ers start by mix­ing a med­ley of bac­te­ria called a starter cul­ture with warm milk. They some­times add a sec­ond batch of bac­te­ria, called an adjunct cul­ture. To make ched­dar, they mix in an organ­ism called Lac­to­bacil­lus hel­veti­cus, which smooths out the cheese's taste and reduces bit­ter­ness. Steele and his team have worked to iden­ti­fy what in the organ­ism pro­duces this desir­able effect. They hoped they could then find a way to pro­duce the effect in the starter cul­ture, which would drop the cost and improve the cheese. The researchers sequenced the 2,400 genes in Lac­to­bacil­lus in 2001, and Steele's team iden­ti­fied the desired gene with­in six months. Cheese­mak­ers can now add that gene to starter cul­tures. Paul McShane, sales man­ag­er for the small Brook­field cheese com­pa­ny Roth Kase, thinks Steele's enzyme would take the mys­tique out of cheese pro­duc­tion. "Cheese­mak­ing is an art, and you lose some­thing — a qual­i­ty — when you try to take short­cuts,'' he said. But Bill Schlin­sog, chief judge at this week's 2003 U.S. Cham­pi­onship Cheese Con­test in Mil­wau­kee, hailed the dis­cov­ery as a weapon against bit­ter cheese. "It's unde­sir­able,'' he said. "And if it can be avoid­ed, then that's great.''

2 replies on “Wisconsin”

so essen­tial­ly in this arti­cle, they admit out­right that Wis­con­sin makes low-grade cheese.

While I don't think there is any real moral prob­lem with genet­i­cal­ly-engi­neered cheese, I do think that there is some­thing Franken­stein­ian about it. And even though this Frankenched­dar may rep­re­sent some kind of leap for­ward in the pre­dictabil­i­ty of cheese-mak­ing, it real­ly does take msome of the fun out of it. It reminds me of that fun­ny Onion pic­ture of these 1950s geeky male sci­en­tists look­ing very seri­ous and ded­i­cat­ed, under­neath a head­line that said some­thing like: "MIT researchers con­firm exis­tence of female orgasm".

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