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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. How is cheese made?
  2. What are common types of cheese?
  3. Should you buy low fat cheese?
  4. Is parmesan vegetarian?

Cheese is made by curdling milk with acids or enzymes and separating the solids (the curds) from the liquids (whey and water).

To make fresh cheeses, such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, and quark, the curd does not require much processing; it is just molded into the desired shaped and is already ready to eat.1

Curds can be processed in a variety of ways to produce other types of cheese. They can be stretched and kneaded (e.g. to make mozzarella), "cheddared" (e.g. to make cheddar), or washed to lower the cheese's acidity and give it a milder flavor (e.g. to make Gouda).2

Some cheeses have bacteria added to produce unique flavors, such as brie, Camembert, and all blue cheeses. For hard cheeses, moisture is removed by heating and salting the curd. Depending on how much moisture is removed, the cheese might semi-hard like cheddar and Gouda or hard like Parmesan and other grating cheeses. Ricotta cheese, on the other hand, is not technically cheeseit is made from the leftover whey.3

Many cheeses also come in reduced or low fat varieties, but many people will tell you the flavor suffers. When a dish only calls for a small amount, we'd suggest going for the full fat cheese!

Note about Parmesan cheese: if Parmesan plays a big role in the flavor of your dish (or if you're a serious foodie or serious about avoiding additives) it might be worth your time to track down "true" parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano. When buying Parmesan, it is best to buy a whole piece instead of the pre-grated stuff for the most flavor. Store parmesan, tightly wrapped, in the fridge.4 Also, Parmesan cheese is traditionally made using rennet, an animal-derived enzyme. For this reason, true Parmesan cheese is not suitable for vegetarians. You might be able to find a vegetarian hard cheese to substitute.5


  1. Cook's Thesaurus
  2. Green Field Farms - Glossary of Popular Cheeses
  3. DCI Cheese Company FAQs
  4. Whole Foods Market
  5. The Vegetarian Society

Nutrition DNA

The nutrition DNA of cheese. For example, you can see that 100g cheese covers 132% of your daily need of Saturated Fat and 73% of the recommended Calcium intake. Hover over the bars to see which nutrient is covered.



  1. Cheese is made by curdling milk, separating the solids from the liquids, and processing the solids in a number of possible ways to make different types of soft, semi-hard, and hard cheese.
  2. Common cheeses: cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, brie, camembert, blue, parmesan
  3. For the best flavor, use full fat cheese in smaller amounts instead of using a lot of low fat cheese.
  4. Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian if it has been made using rennet.
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