Cheese History

The history of cheese probably goes back to the Neolithic. His invention is undoubtedly linked to the practice of transporting milk in bladders made of ruminant abomasum, sources of rennet. Some also advance the observation of curdled milk in veal curd slaughtered for consumption. There is no evidence to determine with certainty the region of origin of cheese production, which can be found in Europe, Central Asia or the Middle East. However, convincing evidence shows that milk production was practiced in Egypt and Sumer approximately 3100 years before our era, that meadows existed in the Sahara from the 4th millennium BC. J.-C., and we found Polish faisselles dated more than 7000 years1 (ribbon culture) 2 and other indices in European Turkey 9500 years ago3.

Several elements plead for a knowledge of cheese or related dairy products (fermented milks, curds) as old as the milking of the cattle itself. :

When milk is left in the open, it spontaneously begins to ferment. It acidifies or surites depending on the microorganisms present and curdles after a few hours. This fermentation keeps the curds for a few days, this time is increased if dirty. There was no other way to store dairy products in the Neolithic era.

Genetic studies carried out on populations in northern Europe show that genes bringing lactose tolerance to adulthood (lactose intolerance) appeared after the passage of these populations to agriculture4. Before the appearance of this tolerance, the lactose could be removed from the milk by fermentation and then draining the curds (which amounts to making either ribot milk or cheese).

Cheese making spread in Europe at least from the time of the Hellenic myth5 and, according to Pliny the Elder, became a technique developed from the beginnings of the Roman Empire6, when popular cheeses were shipped long distance to satisfy the tastes of the Roman elite.