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Cheese is something that most of us enjoy but very few of us understand. We tend to pick it up at the store, enjoying it on sandwiches or crackers and never give it much thought.

On the other hand, there has been a push recently for many people to understand more about the food they eat. This is seen in various cooking shows and online videos, and now cheese is the target.

Photo: YouTube/Smithsonian Channel

In the Smithsonian series “Inside the Factory,” Cherry Healy asks all the difficult questions that many of us never thought to ask. She was visiting a cheese maker in Somerset, England, and thanks to the video, we know more about cheese than ever before.

One of the first questions had to do with brie. Why does it have such a strong smell and what gives it the tough rhine and distinctive taste?

The cheese maker, Roger Longman, went on to explain that brie is given a bath on a daily basis. It is to encourage bacteria, which causes the shell on the outside, the strong scent, and the taste we have all come to appreciate.

Photo: YouTube/Smithsonian Channel

Interestingly, something similar is going on with Swiss cheese. When she asked why Swiss cheese has holes, it was also revealed that it was due to bacteria. In this case, the bacteria that was eating away at the cheese from the inside.

One other question was in regard to Stilton cheese. Healy wanted to know why it had blue veins.

In this case, it wasn’t due to bacteria but rather, it was mold growth. The spores are already in the cheese but mold needs oxygen to grow.

Photo: YouTube/Smithsonian Channel

In order to encourage the mold to grow, they pierced the cheese with a small metal tube. They will continue to pierce it over and over again, allowing the mold to grow inside and form the blue pattern that makes the cheese unique.

You can see more about the visit to a cheese maker in the following video: