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Food Science

Periodic Graphics

Periodic Graphics: The science of making cheese

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning explores the biochemistry of cheese.

by Andy Brunning, special to C&EN
May 27, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 19


An infographic that discusses four key stages of cheese making: Acidification, which converts lactose in milk to lactic acid; coagulation, where casein proteins in milk clump together to form curds; the reduction of moisture content, where cutting, cooking, molding and pressing are used to promote the loss of whey; and maturation, during which flavors and textures develop.

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References used to create this graphic:

Bintsis, Thomas, and Photis Papademas. “An Overview of the Cheesemaking Process.” In Global Cheesemaking Technology: Cheese Quality and Characteristics, 2017. DOI: 10.1002/9781119046165.ch0f

Freitas, A. C., D. Rodrigues , A.C. Duarte , and A.M. Gomes. “The principals of cheese making: an overview.” In Handbook of Cheese in Health: Production, nutrition and medical sciences, 2013. DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-766-0_4

Gilbert, Sarah Mullen. “Cheesy Science.” ChemMatters. December 2017/January 2018.

A collaboration between C&EN and Andy Brunning, author of the popular graphics blog Compound Interest

To see more of Brunning’s work, go to To see all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics, visit



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