The craft of making cheese dates back at least 5,000 years. Archaeological evidence exists of Egyptian cheese being made in the ancient Egyptian civilizations.
The production of cheese, like many other food preservation processes allows the nutritional and economic value of a food material, in this case milk, to be preserved. It allows the consumer to choose (within limits) when to consume the food rather than have to consume it straight away, and it allows the product to be altered which gives it higher value.
Cheesemaking may originate from nomadic herdsmen who stored milk in vessels made from the sheeps' and goats' stomachs. Because their stomach linings contains a mix of lactic acid, wild bacteria as milk contaminants and rennet, the milk would ferment and coagulate. A product reminiscent of yogurt would have been produced, which, through gentle agitation and the separation of curds from whey would have resulted in the production of cheese; the cheese being essentially a concentration of the major milk protein, casein, and milk fat. The whey proteins, other minor milk proteins, and the lactose are all removed in the cheese whey.