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Can cheese evaporate?

  1. Oct 1, 2013 #1
    As the title says: Can cheese evaporate and in case which temperature?

    Today I was eating a toast and this came to mind.

    Looking at the internet in general didn't give a clear answer, but most people said it couldn't
    First I guess all the water in the cheese will evaporate, and then act as wood and ignite at some temperature.

    Also I was wondering what chemical compounds cheese exists off? and is there some of it which will turn into a gas?
    I suppose of course it depends on which cheese it is, but let us go with cheese that is normally in a toast.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2013 #2


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    Cheese consists of milk fats and proteins, plus the byproducts of the cheese-processing bacteria. Plus water.

    If you just take a piece of cheese and set it out in the dry air it will eventually dry to form a hard cheese - like Parmesan - presuming that it doesn't get moldy.

    So yes, the water can evaporate. It takes longer the cooler it is, and it goes faster when it is hotter. If you heat the cheese too much the proteins will denature and you will have a mess. Your mother/wife will make you scrape out the mess, or buy a her a new pan.
  4. Oct 1, 2013 #3


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    Gases are produced in many types of cheese during the fermentation/formation process.
    The Jarlsberg cheese, for example, has large interior cavities, the remnant of gas bubbles made during the production.
  5. Oct 1, 2013 #4


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    Everything evaporates a little bit. But some things evaporate so slowly that the answer is no.
    Cheese can decompose into mostly carbon dioxide and water. I guess this will happen more quickly than the cheese evaporating.
  6. Oct 1, 2013 #5


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    It is all matter of how hot it can get.

    Water, fat, sugars, proteins - these are relatively easy to get rid of. Bunsen burner is all you need.

    Then you are left with the mineral part - like calcium, sodium, magnesium salts. These are much more difficult to vaporise. According to wikipedia calcium oxide boils at 2850°C. Around 3000°C there would be nothing left.

    However, it can happen that during roasting organic part you will be left with some elemental carbon. In that case you need over 3600°C to sublimate it.
  7. Oct 1, 2013 #6


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    If you can smell it, then some component must be evaporating.
  8. Oct 1, 2013 #7


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    All I know if I leave some cheese on the counter for a while and then come back, it has disappeared. It must have evaporated. I mean, it's not like anyone would have eaten it.
  9. Oct 1, 2013 #8


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    I did this experiment this summer, and my cheese turned green, in the fridge.

    My question is: how long will it take for my 0.5 kg block of cheese to sublimate whilst in the freezer?

    Or should I start a new thread?: "Can Cheese Sublimate?"
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