Decoding the science of cheese

A technical resource for cheesemongers, cheese buyers, and cheese connoisseurs

In loving memory of Patrick Polowsky - creator and founder of the Cheese Science Toolkit. More Info.



Donations go towards a scholarship for Purdue Food Science Undergraduates.

Washed Curd

Time to give those dirty little curds a good washing, for science of course.

washed, curd, cheese, colby, jack, brick, gouda, edam, milk, science, infographic


The 10 Steps

Ten may not seem like a lot, but thousands of permutations rise from the process!

cheese, steps, cheesemaking steps, milk, science, infographic


5 Cheese Myths

Sometimes you want to smash some cheese. This time the myths are up to bat!

cheese, myths, lactose, crystals, fat, cheddar, rind



Does cheese give your mouth a tingle? You usually have to pay extra for that.

histamine, cheese, histidine, burn, itch, tingle, amine



How in the world is the Manhattan Project connected to cheese? Blue mold!

blue cheese, penicillium, roquefort, microbes, mold, micro


Caramel Flavor

Don't sugar-coat it! Caramel flavor in cheese can be sweet indeed!

caramel, flavor, sweet, crystals, microbes


Light Oxidation

Lights! Camera! Cardboard! Join us while we shine a light on this popular defect.

light, oxidation, flavor, plastic, fat, defect



Smokin! No not you, the cheese of course! Some basic chemistry of smoke and cheese.

smoke, smoky, flavor, crystals



A topic that is barely mentioned in published scientific literature, let's go!

crystals, washed rind, gritty, sandy


Pearson Square

Ever get called a square? Wear it as a badge of honor. Dairy math is where it's at!

fat, milkfat, butterfat, standardization, pearson, square



Why are cows so clumsy? Because they lack toes! Get it? Lactose...

lactose, lactate, sugar, lactic acid



What do you get when you heat whey with some acid? A fun time for sure.

cheese, ricotta, whey, coagulation



From baby vomit to perfume, lipolysis makes the flavor magic happen

cheese, lipolysis, video, fat


Nothing harks back to Wisconsin cheese better than squeaky cheese curds

cheese, curds, cheddar


Sounds like something that would be under the purview of Mr. Miyagi, doesn't it?

buffering, pH


Want to learn about the chemistry of Fondue? More like FUNdue, am I right?!

fondue, melted

Cheese Color

Orange, yellow, white! Oh my! Understanding the color of cheese is so damn fly.

annatto, beta carotene, white, yellow

Cheese Yield

Pound for pound, a pound of cheese is ten pounds of milk. Is that right?

yield, van slyke, math

Pasta Filata

♫ Pasta Filata. What a wonderful phrase! Pasta Filata. Ain't no passing craze! ♫

mozzarella, stretcher

Calcium & pH

Nothing like waking up and looking at a fine scatter plot first thing.

mineral, calcium, pH, acid


Nothing like taking a bite of cheese and it tasting like a mouthful of dirt.

minerality, musty, flavor


When a cow is milked matters when it comes to milk quantity and quality.

Milk Infographic

In order to understand cheese, one must first understand milk. Moo!


Cheese is made from milk; makes sense some of them should taste like it too.


Sweet like sugar? Not anymore! All thanks to microbes and glycolysis!

Cheese with Eyes

What do you call a cheese without any eyes? Blind! Seriously, no joke.


Baa! Baa! Baa! What makes sheep cheese sheepy is nothing to balk at.


Hey, wanna drop some acid? Let's get our pH chemistry straight first.


A less mature person would make a "cut the cheese" joke. I'm no such person.

Cheese Chart

A classification chart organizing cheeses by how they are made, not by firmness.

Cheese Types

How would a cheese maker organize cheeses? By how they're made probably.


Why do some aged cheddars smell like boiled eggs? Well sulfur of course!

Fatty Acids

Free fatty acids are an end-product of fat breakdown. Goaty and rancid, oh my!


Sprinkled, submerged, or scrubbed. It's a good thing salt is added to cheese!


How will the scale tip when a cheese maker alters the protein and fat content of milk?



Does milk got you hot under the collar? Lucky for you, unlucky for microbes.

Melt and Stretch

From melty goodness to hard-as-a-rock, what causes cheese to melt and stretch?


Put the squeeze on milk in order to prevent cream separation, but what else?


Blue cheese has a unique aroma that is between perfume and cough syrup.


Goat cheese has a certain je ne sais quoi that we call a "goaty" flavor.


Bloomy rind cheese often smells like the forest floor. Why is that so?


Provolone and feta can sometimes smell like baby vomit. In a good way!


Bark-wrapped cheeses can sometimes smell like trees. Who'd a thunk it?

Grading Terms

What kind of lingo does a Wisconsin licensed cheese grader need to know?

Rennet 101

What causes coagulation? Coagulation enzymes of course! But there are so many.


Perhaps the most used flavor descriptor for cheese. What does it mean?


Coagulations! Turning something from liquid to solid is no easy job at all.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium isn't just for your teeth and bones! It can be for cheese too!

Grainy Grana

Grainy, crumbly, mealy, coarse, a horse is a horse of course of course.


Hold me, love me, squeeze me. Put the squeeze on curds to remove whey.

Texture Basics

Who knew proteolysis and dropping acid could affect cheese so much?

Brie Texture

Inside chalky outside gelly. Seven days of the week, seven different Chevys

Flavor Wheel

Always wanted to see the flavors of cheese in wheel form? Look no further!

Flavor Basics

Why does sharp provolone smell like baby vomit? Why is sharp cheddar sharp?

Microbes 101

Cheese is alive! And not just in the poetic sense, learn about cheese microbes.

Milk Chemistry

A basic overview of what's in cow's milk. Milk sugar, protein, and fat.

Cheese Color

Orange, yellow, white! Oh my! Understanding the color of cheese is so damn fly.

Cheese Crystals

What gives certain cheeses that distinctive crunch: calcium lactate and tyrosine crystals.