Hip-hop makes kase fruitier: firlefanz or science?

hip-hop makes kase fruitier: firlefanz or science?

Kase and music, some people think of the "handkas" from hesse, which is called "with music" because of the noises during the digestion process. But the swiss are now on the trail of a completely different phenomenon. They test whether the sound of ripening cheese influences taste.

It all started as an art project at the university of the arts in berne. "We wanted to send the students out into the world to realize projects outside of the university. You should deal with practical problems," says christian pauli, communications manager and project manager at the university. In the search for such projects beat wampfler, veterinarian from burgdorf in emmental and hobby-case handler, came into play.

"People and animals react to external influences like music – why shouldn’t sound waves also influence the microorganisms in the kase – i’ve been asking myself that for a long time," says wampfler in his underground kase warehouse in burgdorf, accompanied by the sounds of eminem and a folk music band.

The humid air smells earthy, perfect conditions for the months-long ripening of the huge caseloads. The university and the hobby barracks came together, and so students joined michael hardenberg, lecturer for musical design and media theory, in the project.

For seven months, the caseloads were each sounded differently, in a wooden box in which the sound waves of the music were transmitted directly via a wooden board to the caseload lying on it. Mozart’s magic flute was part of it, as well as led zeppelin’s "stairway to heaven" and the hip-hop group a tribe called quest with "jazz (we’ve got)".

In a blind taste test in spring, there was a clear winner: the experts agreed that the hip-hop kase tasted the fruitiest.

The clou came a few weeks later: the university of applied sciences in zurich (ZHAW) found out that the kase had demonstrably developed differently depending on the music. In the low-frequency sounds – in hip-hop – there were the most free and bound amino acids. In addition, more aromatic substances and propionic acids were detected than in other samples. Are the swiss on the trail of something really rough??

Tilo huhn, ZHAW professor of food process technology, remains cautious as long as the results are not similarly proven in three other trials. These experiments are planned. "If the result is that we can influence the maturation process of kase using frequencies, that would be a sensation," he says.

Beat wampfler’s love of emmental cheese is almost visible. The 54-year-old carefully strokes the 100-kilogram caseload in his caseload warehouse. Between the shelves in the rough front room is a thick wooden table for cheese tasting, there wampfler hands out some wine, fresh bread and fruit. "My favorite cheese is the emmentaler" he says with conviction. His grandfather was a dairy farmer, his brother is a dairy farmer, it must have been in his cradle a little bit.

He is also good at marketing: even before the new trials are running, he is already blasting a few caseloads for sale, some with the works of the "king of hip-hop", eminem, others with a folk tune with the appropriate refrain: "ich bin ein emmentaler" (i am an emmental).

Esotericism is far from him, emphasizes wampfler: "i am a orthodox physician."Of course it’s all about the frequencies and vibrations of the various pieces of music. He is very pleased with the initial results. The fact that hip hop music did so well was a bridge to young people who otherwise had no connection to the traditions of the emmental, he says.

For huhn, it is obvious that the frequencies of the music have an effect on the vibrations of the membranes of the microorganisms that turn milk into cheese during the ripening phase. Biotransformation is what they call it. The microorganisms, in this case bacteria, are living beings, and when their membranes vibrate, this could influence the exchange of substances, as huhn says. It is still too early to draw clear conclusions. "But the results are at least interesting enough that we want to pursue this further," he says.

Indian researchers proved in 2015 that music has an influence on microorganisms. Almost all of them had grown better as a result of the sound, in some cases by more than 40 percent, as they reported in the scientific journal "microbiology. "It looks as if the permeability of the membranes had changed because of the music," they noted.

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