That is all.
Always a good topic, huh?
In the Scientific American article linked above, author Steve Mirsky talks about how a decades-old Swiss genetic experiment on flies is related to a more current set of experiments regarding what causes the formation and development of the eyes (or holes) in Emmental (or Swiss) cheese.
In the fly experiment, geneticists managed to get a fly to grow a ton of eyes all over its body by isolating and manipulating a few of the fly’s genes. More recently, 13 researchers at three different Swiss research facilities have figured out the link between the genetic fiddling needed to create the extra fly eyes and the genetic fiddling needed to regulate the size and quantity of holes in Swiss cheese.
The study, published as “Mechanism and Control of the Eye Formation in Cheese,” was published in the International Dairy Journal and contains a discussion on why eye/hole regulation is important.
“The size of the eyes of first-quality cheese should be between the size of a cherry … and a walnut,” says the journal article. However, different cheese-lovers prefer different sizes (and quantities) of eyes. “Italian consumers prefer Emmental cheese with walnut-sized eyes, whereas commercial manufacturers of sliced cheeses ask for cheese with smaller eyes and higher eye numbers.”
In making cheese, bacteria is key. A product of the bacteria is carbon dioxide, which forces the holes to expand to any given size, but until this study, it was unknown what made the holes themselves begin to form in the first place. Turns out, the process is analogous to the process of how a raindrop forms around a particle (a “cloud condensation nuclei”) in the vapor-saturated air. For the cheese, a little particle can act as an eye nucleus, around which the round hole begins to form.
In the study, the researchers chose hay dust as their particles of choice and found, through varying the amount of dust the young Swiss cheese was exposed to, that they could actually control the number and size of the eyes.
So they can basically do cloud seeding, but with cheese. Cheese seeding? Cheeding?
Anyway. Pretty cool!
I think I need to start a cooking/recipe blog separate from this, because this is turning into a near-weekly thing, and since I already have promised a science-related blog every week (or so) and I don’t want my blogs to turn into a compilation of themes, it might be necessary to do so.
I was screwing around with “what has been in my fridge for x weeks and is about to expire ‘cause I eat the same things everyday so why do I bother buying anything different?” ingredients and I stumbled upon a few things that make a tasty little appetizer thingy if you ever have people over or are asked to bring food to a party or whatever you social people do.
What you shall need:
- 1 can of Pillsbury Crescents (the “makes 8 crescents” size)
- 3 string cheeses
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Parsley flakes
- Garlic salt
Open the can of crescents, trying to keep them all intact. Roll out and separate the 8 triangles, then ball the triangles up. The “let’s roll this into a ball” step is solely to make the next step easier: cut the balls of dough into to equal halves.
Remove the wrappers from the string cheese and cut each string cheese into 5 pieces. You’ll note the discrepancy between the 16 half-balls of dough and 15 chunks of cheese. Since it’s not worth opening a fourth string cheese and since 15 fits best on the baking pan anyway, either eat the extra chunk of dough raw (tasty!) or just cook it regularly.
Press the cheese chunks into the balls of dough, then mold the dough around the cheese, creating a tight seal where the dough meets itself. You’re going to want a seamless little ball of dough filled with cheese.
Place these balls crease-side up (though they shouldn’t be visible) onto a baking pan. Now you’re going to make the tasty part. In a bowl (or microwave safe measuring cup, in my case), combine the butter, a good sprinkle of parsley, and a half a teaspoon of garlic salt. Microwave until the butter is totally melted, then stir to evenly distribute parsley and garlic salt. Spread this concoction liberally onto the tops of the dough balls.
Now bake according to the instructions on the crescent can (I believe it’s 10 – 12 minutes at 375°). When you take them out, you’ll notice that the crease has now reopened, leaving a nice neat little pool of cheese in the middle of a doughy bowl. Freaking tasty! They’re also good cold.
Today’s song: I Want You to Want Me (Live) by Cheap Trick
HOLY CRAP Netflix.ca has happened!
Also, here’s a quiz that told me what type of cheese I am. I’ve posted this before, but it was long ago and my cheesy ways have changed (I used to be brie).
Today’s song: Falling Inside the Black by Skillet
I just found the best cheddar cheese on the planet: Original Bothwell’s mild cheddar. This is honestly the best cheese I’ve ever tasted. I think they should change the back label to “Ideal for French onion soup, fondues, scallop potatoes, omelettes and other gourmet dishes—OR JUST EAT IT OUT OF THE BAG ‘CAUSE IT’S FREAKING AMAZING.”
Also, screw fellowship applications.