Just to start things off – in popular terms, there was already a scientific factor that was believed to cause the ‘iconic’ holes in the Swiss cheese. This explanation pertained to how carbon dioxide generated by bacteria contributed to these holes. We are of course discounting the other fantastical reason that related to how mice inside the cheese wheels nibbled away to glory – to make these holes. But now after a century of researching and analyzing, Swiss scientists have finally found the pertinent answer to this ‘hole’ mystery (excuse the bad pun). To that end, experts from Agroscope, a state center for agricultural research, have found that it is hay in the milk (as opposed to bacteria) that causes the indentations on the cheese types – like Emmental and Appenzell.
Interestingly, the research phase showed that the occurrences of such cheese holes were more prevalent when the cheese itself was made from traditional methods. This mainly involved the traditional bucket that was used during the milking process. In other words, when milk was extracted to make the cheese, the fluid that fell into the open bucket also contained bits of hay – that eventually caused the numerous holes on the cheese.
Consequently, the frequency of such holes have remarkably decreased over the period of the last ten to fifteen years. This is because in the our contemporary times, traditional milking methods have given way to sealed milking contraptions that reduce the content of the tiny hay particles in the milk. So, in a twist of evidences, this finding seemingly disproves the aforementioned bacteria theory that had been widely accepted since 1917 – when William Clark published his detailed analysis on the subject.