Milk receipt & testing
The fresh milk from the dairy farm is received at the cheese plant. It is weighed and tested for quality and purity, then pasteurized or heat treated to ensure product safety and uniformity.
Filling the cheese vat
A cheese vat is filled with the pasteurized and tested milk.
Starting the cheesemaking process
Special starters or cultures are added to curdle and thicken the milk. The type of culture used depends on the cheese variety being crafted in 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.
Natural coloring may be added
The cheesemaker begins to heat and stir the thickening milk; then adds annatto, a natural coloring, found in some cheese varieties.
Stirring to mix all ingredients
The thickened milk is stirred to blend all ingredients and start to form cheese curds and expels the liquid whey. The whey is used for other food ingredients.
Cheesemaker monitors thickness
This coagulates the milk and forms a gel-like mass.
Cutting the thickened milk
The gel-like mass is cut into small pieces as the cheesemaker pulls through a sharp cheese harp tool to begin separation of the milk/cheese curds from the liquid/whey.
Pressing the curd to knit
The whey is drained from the vat and the curds are salted. This cheese variety is pulled to the side of the vat to begin forming a solid mass. Each specific cheese variety can be formed in a traditional cheese shape or mold.
Cheese is cured and packaged
The formed cheese varieties are either packaged for storage and distribution. Some cheese varieties are placed into aging rooms until each cheese reaches the desired taste and texture. The aging cheese varieties are kept in humidity and temperature-controlled rooms. Cheesemakers and graders continually monitor the cheese throughout the aging process.