How Was Cheese Made in Ancient Greece?

Cheese has been a staple food for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece. The process of cheese making in ancient Greece was different than what we see today, but it was still an important part of their cuisine and culture.

What is Cheese?

Cheese is a dairy product made from the curdled milk of cows, goats, or sheep. It is then processed further by adding rennet or an acid to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then pressed and aged to produce cheese.

The History of Cheese in Ancient Greece

Cheese making was prevalent in ancient Greece and was an important part of their diet. They made cheese from the milk of goats, cows, and sheep which were domesticated animals back then. It is believed that cheese making in ancient Greece was started by accident when milk was stored in a bag made from an animal’s stomach lining which contained rennet, causing the milk to curdle.

The Process of Cheese Making

The process of cheese making in ancient Greece involved heating the milk until it reached a certain temperature. Then they added rennet or an acid like vinegar or sour wine to curdle the milk. They would cut the curdled mixture into small pieces and place them into molds made from woven baskets lined with cheesecloth.

Once the molds were filled with curds, they would be pressed using a weight for several hours until all the whey had drained out. The cheese would then be removed from the mold and soaked in brine (saltwater) for several days or weeks depending on the type of cheese being made.

The Types of Cheese Made

The Greeks made different types of cheeses such as feta, anthotyros (a fresh soft white cheese), myzithra (a soft tangy cheese), and kefalotyri (a hard salty cheese). Feta cheese, which is still popular today, was made from sheep’s milk and was stored in brine to mature. It was used in salads, pies, and as a topping for bread.

The Importance of Cheese in Ancient Greece

Cheese was an essential part of the ancient Greek diet because it provided a source of protein and fat. It was also used in cooking and as a condiment. Cheese making was considered an art form, and the Greeks took pride in producing high-quality cheese.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cheese making has been around for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece. The Greeks had their own unique way of making cheese that involved heating the milk, adding rennet or an acid to curdle it, and then pressing and aging it to produce different types of cheese. Cheese making played an important role in their cuisine and culture, and it continues to be an important part of our diet today.