Milk receipt & testing
Fresh milk sent from the dairy farm is received in a milk truck at the cheese plant. It is weighed and tested for quality and purity. The milk is pasteurized or heat treated to ensure product safety and uniformity.
Filling the cheese vat
A large cheese vat is filled with the pasteurized and tested milk.
Starting the cheesemaking process
Special starters and cultures are added to curdle and thicken the milk. The type of culture used depends on the cheese variety being crafted by the cheesemaker at that vat.
Enzyme is added to form the Protein bonds
Rennet is added when the milk becomes acidic and continues to break down the Protein that creates the structure for a firm cheese formation.
Cheesemaker monitors thickness
This gradually coagulates the milk and forms all of the milk into a gel-like mass.
Natural coloring may be added
The cheesemaker continually heats and stirs the thickening milk; then he can slowly add annatto, a natural coloring, found in some golden colored cheese varieties.
Stirring to mix all ingredients
The thickening milk is stirred to blend all ingredients. It begins to form cheese curds and expels the liquid called whey. The whey is used for other food ingredients.
Cutting the thickened milk
The gel-like mass is cut into small pieces when the cheesemaker pulls through a sharp cheese harp tool. The cutting begins separation of the thick milk/cheese curds from the remaining liquid/whey.
Pressing the curd to knit
The whey is drained from the vat and the curds are salted. The cheese curds for this variety are pulled to the sides of the vat to begin forming a solid mass. Each specific cheese variety will be pressed into a traditional cheese shape or form to knit the curds.
Cheese is cured and packaged
The formed cheese varieties are either packaged for storage and distribution; or placed into aging rooms until each cheese reaches the desired taste and texture. The cheese varieties are kept in humidity and temperature-controlled sanitary rooms. Cheesemakers and graders monitor the cheese throughout the aging process.