starter


In the world of cheese, a starter, also known as a bacterial culture or starter culture typically consists of enzymes or other microorganisms, bacterial or mold spores, lactic acid (sometimes from the previous day's milk or whey) and natural elements. Two types of cultures are used: thermophilic cultures work best at temperatures over 100°F and mesophilic cultures function at temperatures between 70° and 100°F. Starters work by converting the milk's lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. This is done to balance the milk's acidity (pH level) so the casein (milk protein) will more readily coagulate into a curd when rennet is added. The type of starter contributes to a cheese's flavor, texture and other characteristics, depending on the style of cheese. For instance, Penicillium roqueforti in a roquefort starter produces this cheese's distinctive blue veins; Propionibacter shermanii is added to the starter for emmental to create its characteristic eyes; and Penicillium candidum or Penicillium camemberti in the starter of brie and camembert is what makes such cheeses ripen from the outside in, rather than vice versa. See also yeast starter

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens...

Find 1000s of Food Network's best recipes from top chefs, shows and experts. And watch videos demonstrating recipe prep and cooking techniques.

Lobster Prices Dropping, Start Indulging

Lobster prices are at a 25-year low and that can mean an inexpensive and healthy indulgence.

Win This Cookbook: Clean Start

Enter for a chance to win a copy of the cookbook Clean Start by letting us know, in the comments, your New Year's resolution.

Caption It: Start Your Engines

We're challenging you, Food Network Star fans, to write your best captions for this sneak-peek photo from Sunday's new episode.

Countdown to the Big Game: Best Cheesy Starters

If you’re going the cheesy app route for your Super Bowl party, make it count. Here are Food Network's best cheesy bites to get started on with hours to go until game time.

Top Foods That Start (& Stop) Heartburn

Almost without fail, holidays equal lots of food. The trouble usually starts when you find a dish that's so delicious, you just can’t get enough (it happens to the best of us). Of course a few hours later, when heartburn kicks in, you’ll ask yourself that burning question: “Why did I eat so much?” We explain which foods can kick up heartburn (and why), plus ways to cool it down.

The Best Start to Your Day

Trying to find healthy and delicious recipes? Food Network makes that easy with their collection of low fat, low calorie and low carb recipes.

Wine to Get the Party Started

Having a party next week and don't know which wine to buy? Or how much? Follow these wine tips to make your party tops.

4 Juice Cleanses to Start 2015

If you're thinking of starting a juice cleanse in the new year, you'll be glad to know that they are more accessible than ever.

In My Kitchen: Getting Started for Thanksgiving

Here’s how I've started planning for Thanksgiving -- plus, some healthy recipes I'm testing out and adding to my menu.