Saturday, February 28, 2009
How does Emmental get its holes?
I bought a nice piece of Emmental from the local deli the other day which had the biggest holes I’ve ever seen in the cheese. When I was writing my cheese book I discovered how it gets them - the cheesemaker introduces a bacteria which reacts with the lactic acid in the cheese to create carbon dioxide gas. And that creates the holes (The Teddington Cheese company has a good description here)
Most Emmental comes from Switzerland (an AOC was created there in 2006) but this one came from the Savoie region of France. The only thing that surprised me was that it dried out pretty quickly (maybe because of the size of the holes? The size of the Swiss ones are regulated apparently!) so once it’s a day or two old you need to use it for cooking. It’s a good addition though to a fondue or for toasted cheese sandwiches.