The Science Of Why Cheese Is So Delicious

Science has never been so tasty.

The origins of cheese can be traced back about 6,000 years as a means of preserving milk when no other options were available. Cheesemaking may have started out as a practical solution, but different techniques for making it has led to a delicious diversity that became integral to the cultural cuisine of many areas. 

Cheese sure is tasty, but that's not the only reason humans love it so much.

Several studies have shown that the casein protein in cheese activates the reward center of the brain, causing happy feelings. This has led some to make the claim that eating cheese is as addictive as hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, which is a gross over-simplification of what's actually going on in the brain. 

Many other things also stimulate this region of the brain, including cuddling and singing, which is more in line with how it feels to eat cheese anyway.

One of the best things about cheese is that there are so many different kinds. There are different colors, flavors, textures, and animals that go into making the hundreds of types cheeses we know and love.

SciShow host Hank Green explains that the magic of cheese really comes down to some good old-fashioned science, by using specific microbes and cooking techniques to ferment the milk in very specific ways. Understanding how to carefully regulate this process is what lets cheesemakers take the same cow's milk to either make hard Parmigiano-Reggiano or soft brie, with many in between.

Careful cheesemaking also gives swiss cheese its holes, bleu cheese its color and tang, and mozzerella its incredible stretch.

Learn what makes your favorite cheese special here: