What makes cheddar cheese “sharp”?


What makes cheddar cheese “sharp”?

In: Chemistry

Age mostly. It’s a chemical reaction that the longer it goes for the stronger the taste. A year could be a difference of $40

As I understand, there’s two components. Part of it is the culture (bacterial or fungus) that eats up dairy and poops out those delicious sharp flavored compounds. The other part is that as cheese is aged it might lose water content due to evaporation or whatever other means. The less water, the more concentrated the sharp flavors are.

The aging process of cheese is mostly accomplished by lactobacillus bacteria, which consume milk sugar (lactose) and produce lactic acid. The longer the cheese is aged the more lactose is consumed and lactic acid produced. Lactic acid, like other acids, has a tangy, *sharp* taste.

So you can probably already see that aged cheese will have a sharper taste with more acid and less sweet lactose sugar – while softer, less aged cheeses are generally sweeter. Other species of bacteria and mold will contribute other flavors, along with flavors from the cows’ (or goats’ or whatever) diet, lifestyle, and breed that add unique flavors to the milk.