Tags: swiss cheese | holes

Swiss Cheese Holes Finally Explained: No, It's Not Hungry Mice

Image: Swiss Cheese Holes Finally Explained: No, It's Not Hungry Mice
Swiss cheese with holes. (Spaxia/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2015 02:57 PM

Put aside the cute picture of mice nibbling holes in the Swiss cheese because scientists have finally solved the mystery of what causes the voids to form.

A Swiss agricultural institute took on the challenge of determining what causes the holes, a question that has stymied scientists and cheese-makers for decades. It’s come to the forefront recently because modern production methods have “left Swiss cheese a little less hole-y,” ABC News reported.

What the scientists from the Agroscope Institute for Food Sciences discovered was that the number of hay particles found in the milk had a direct correlation to the number of holes in the cheese, SwissInfo.com reported.

Using CT scans, or computed topography, the scientists studied the cheese formation over 130 days. It was determined that hay particles get trapped and the holes, or what the industry calls “eyes,” form from carbon dioxide gas that is trapped, ABC said.

"After spending several years on that topic, the discovery of the magic effect of traces of hay dust on eye formation was for the whole team somehow just an enlightenment," study author Daniel Wechsler told ABC. "The solution is so simple, it’s almost incredible that this mystery remained unsolved until nowadays."

John Jaeggi, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin's Center for Dairy Research, told CNN that he likens the hole formation to raindrops.

“Rain forms around dust particles, and it's kind of the same principle," he said. "With these little specks of hay powder in that cheese body, that's causing weaknesses in the curd structure and then that's where the gas is going to form and get your eyes."

Because today’s manufacturing processes don’t allow as many opportunities for hay particles to enter the process, SwissInfo said the number of holes forming in swiss cheese has been decreasing.



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Put aside the cute picture of mice nibbling holes in the Swiss cheese because scientists have finally solved the mystery of what causes the voids to form.
swiss cheese, holes
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2015-57-29
Friday, 29 May 2015 02:57 PM
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