The art of cheesemaking dates back at least 5,000 years. Evidence exists of cheese first being made in ancient Egypt.
The production of cheese, as a food preservation process, allows the value of the milk to be preserved, from a nutritional and economical perspective. This allows us to choose when to enjoy the cheese (within limits, of course). And, with more specialised processing comes greater economic value.
It may surprise you to learn that cheesemaking was probably discovered by accident, like so many modern food processing methods.
Nomadic herdsmen started milking their livestock. A need arose to store that which they could not consume right away. Milk sacs were made from the stomachs of goats and sheep. The stomach linings contain rennet, wild bacteria and lactic acid, causing the milk to coagulate and ferment. The sun’s heat certainly also played its part in this process. A type of yogurt would have been produced in this way.
Once gentle agitation and the separation of curd from whey were added, this would have resulted in the production of cheese, consisting mainly of the major milk protein – casein – and milk fat.