We all love cheese whether it is in our pizzas or whether it is in our sandwiches and these days in other snacks as well we like to put cheese including in our fries or in our burgers.
There are many different type of cheese which are available these days but one of the most popular type of cheese which always craves our fascination is known as the Swiss cheese.
Swiss cheese has become so famous due to the appearance of Swiss cheese. If you look at Swiss cheese, you would realise that there are holes in Swiss cheese and this is not a defect in the Swiss cheese but rather this is actually the characteristic appearance of the Swiss cheese.
Many people have wondered why does Swiss cheese have holes? The answer to that lies in the process which is used to prepare Swiss cheese.
In order to understand the existence of these holes, it is important to understand how Swiss cheese is made and once you are able to understand this you would be in a position to find out the cause of these holes as well.
Why does Swiss cheese have holes?
The process of making the Swiss cheese starts with mixing different types of bacteria with the milk of the cow. This bacteria ferments the milk to make it into curd. From this curd with further processing, cheese is made. The curd which is then produced is put into large molds to drain off the water and to compress the curd. The mold is usually up to 4 feet in diameter to produce larger circles of Swiss cheese.
If you’re looking into the original appearance of Swiss cheese you would find that it is in the form of large circles resembling wheels. This is because of the molds in which they are made. The mold is usually up to 8 inches thick.
When the curd is removed from the mold, it is in a more solid state than it is submerged in brine and after this process it is covered in a layer and then it is stored to age because only after proper ageing, the cheese is fermented enough to taste like it does.
The storage is not in any normal type of container but in an enclosed area known as a cave is used and the temperature in the cave is strictly controlled to a maximum of 80°F and having a minimum of 75°F.
In all of this, you might be wondering where do the holes come in. You might have noticed that we mentioned that bacteria is added to the cow milk at the start. When the cheese is ageing, this bacteria would produce carbon dioxide and since the cheese is entirely solid, bubbles would be formed inside the cheese and these bubbles contain carbon dioxide which is emitted by the bacteria.
Eventually, the carbon dioxide escapes the bubbles and the bubbles burst leaving behind a hole in the area in which the bubbles existed previously. These bubble -type structures are the holes which we see in Swiss cheese. The bubbles may escape during the ageing process or the bubbles may escape when the wheels of the Swiss cheese are cut into smaller parts.
If you have been observing Swiss cheese in the past couple of tickets, you would realize that the size of the holes which are present these days in Swiss cheese are much smaller as compared to the size of the holes which were present earlier.
In some other countries, the size of the hole is still very large as compared to the size of the holes in Swiss cheese in United States. This is because if you look into the ruling of the Department of agriculture, you would realize that they have put a limitation on the size of the holes which can be present in Swiss cheese to consider it a great a food.
That is why, over the years in order to qualify as great food, the Swiss cheese manufacturers have reduced the amount of bacteria which produces the carbon dioxide which results in the holes, so that the size of the holes is according to the standards of the Department of agriculture.
Alternative theory for holes in Swiss cheese:
There is also an alternative theory for holes in Swiss cheese which states that when the cow milk is being collected for making Swiss cheese, some hay also enters the bucket in which the cow milk is getting collected and due to the presence of this hay, in the Swiss cheese, holes are formed.
Since the process of collecting the milk these days is completely automated and it is not with the help of buckets and also the hygienic conditions through which the milk is processed to these days have also improved a lot, the hay can no more until the cow milk and therefore the size of the holes as well as the presence of the holes has also gone down.
While this theory might be true to a certain extent but it does not explain how hay can cause the formation of holes in the Swiss cheese. Also, if hay was present in Swiss cheese, it would be a hygienic violation and in that case Swiss cheese would not be allowed in the United States at all. So, this theory is not proved in existence but can be considered as a myth. These are the two theories which explain the cause of holes in Swiss cheese and how the presence of holes as well as the size of the holes have gone down in the past few years.
So, now that you know the answer to the question why does Swiss cheese have holes, you would be able to better understand why those holes are caused and that those holes are not harmful in any way to the people who are eating the Swiss cheese with the holes. The holes in the Swiss cheese are on the way out and therefore soon enough they would be a thing of the past and just rumors would be present about the holes in Swiss cheese rather than the Swiss cheese actually having these roles which we are talking about.