How does Limburger cheese smell

odorWhy cheese smells bad

In Bad Heilbrunn, in Upper Bavaria, there is trouble about a cheese shop. Because it smells like cheese. That bothers the people who live in the house. That's why they put up signs everywhere: red warning signs with a nose. That, in turn, does not suit the owner of the cheese shop. He sued for an omission and was won. The verdict was announced on December 17, 2019. We wanted to know why cheese has such a special smell and which type has a particularly strong smell.

When cheese is made, rennet is added to the milk. Rennet is an enzyme that separates the liquid, i.e. the whey, from the cheese protein casein. This is also known in the technical jargon as a thick layer. The cheese then often goes into the ripening chamber: This is where microorganisms become active and produce the typical smell and taste because they break down various components of the milk.

"Proteins and fats are gradually broken down. Lactic acid is produced from lactose. This goes down to the individual components - this is converted into smells and flavors."
Jörg Hinrichs, Professor of Dairy Science and Technology at the University of Hohenheim
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The bacteria convert the components once in a complex process. Depending on which cheese is being made, the cheesemaker adds bacteria or fungi - to be precise, mold cultures to produce camembert, for example. And depending on which substances the bacteria produce during the manufacturing process, a strong or not so strong odor can arise.

If you have a very long matured camembert, you may end up feeling ammonia pungent in your nose.
Jörg Hinrichs, Professor of Dairy Science and Technology at the University of Hohenheim

The red smear cheeses - Tilsiter or Limburger - are particularly known for their typical scent. The red smear bacterium is responsible for the intense smell and the orange-reddish and somewhat smeary rind.

Affineurs care for the cheese in order to refine it

Ammonia and butyric acid are also among the breakdown products that arise when proteins are broken down. It is precisely this ripening process, during which these degradation products arise, that is the reason why the dispute over the smell of the cheese shop in Bad Heilbrunn is being tried in court.

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Allegation: The shop may not be used for maturing

An affineur cares for the cheese, rubs it with brine or brine, and allows it to mature further at certain temperatures and humidity. As a result, some of the cheese develops a stronger smell.

The accusation of the house residents in Bad Heilbrunn: The shop is not allowed to be used for the maturation of the cheese, because this causes the smell that is created in the apartments that are in the house. However, this has yet to be clarified in further court proceedings.

Tips for storing "smelly cheese"

  • airtight jar for the cheese so that the smell cannot spread in the refrigerator
  • For cheese fans: it may be worthwhile to buy a special cheese jar that filters out the smell.
  • a bowl of baking soda or lemon juice can help bind the odor
  • Cardboard egg cartons can absorb the smell of the cheese and spread it even after the cheese has long been eaten