You won’t believe this – according to an ancient Arab legend, an Arab traveler was carrying his supply of milk in a container made from the lining of sheep’s stomach. During his day-long travel in the sun, the rennet* from the lining of the container caused the milk to curdle and separate into curd and whey. And thus was discovered the delicious cheese.
No one really knows when cheese was first made. Records go back as far as 8000 years ago.
The legend may or may not be true. But since thousands of years ago, when man invented pottery and started storing milk in containers, sometimes milk was not used immediately and left to stand for hours. This milk would’ve coagulated from heat and lactic acid and turned into cheese.
Today, there are more than 500 different varieties of cheese recognised by the International Dairy Federation and they can be classified into types based on the length of ageing, texture, methods of making, fat content, animal milk, country or region of origin.
*rennet/rennin – an enzyme found in the stomach of an infant animal (like calf) which causes milk to curdle