Max McCalman: Lactose in Cheese
Max McCalman's got news for everyone about lactose in cheese. Mainly that most cheeses don't have lactose in them at all:
One of the most frequently-asked questions we receive is which of our cheeses have no lactose. We are happy to reply that all of our cheeses are virtually lactose-free. Having read this, you may wonder how we do that: sell lactose-free cheeses.
The process of cheese making includes three steps that eliminate lactose. Milk that is left out on its own will sour. Lactic acid bacteria (so named for the product they yield) reside in the milk itself and consume the lactose. This acidification is usually enhanced by the addition of cultures in cheese making. Those cultures may be “mother” cultures created by soured milk set aside from the previous day (causing the reduction of lactose) or by commercially prepared cultures. Those cultures work more quickly than the mother cultures and yield more consistent results. Either type of culture used, the souring is necessary for cheese making, and the lactose is reduced. Added benefits of the reduced pH levels include the minimization of pathogenic contamination. The “bad” bugs are less inclined to settle in a more acid environment