“The world produces more cheese than coffee, tobacco, tea & cocoa combined”
The 6 Essential Steps to Making Cheese
The first step to cheese making is acidification. During this stage, a starter culture is added to the milk that will change the lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. This changes the acidity level of the milk. And begins the process of turning the milk from liquid to solid.
Coagulation is the processing the liquid into a semi-solid. An enzyme called Rennet is added, when making cheese, either as a liquid or a paste t further encourage the milk to solidify.
CURDS & WHEY:
As the milk solidifies it forms Curds & Whey. The curds are the solid part and the whey is liquid. In this step the curds are cut using a knife or a tool that looks like a rake. Cutting the curds further encourages them to expel the whey. Generally, the smaller the curds are cut the harder the resulting cheese will be. Soft cheeses like camembert & brie are hardly cut at all.
Salt is added for flavor and also acts as a preservative so the cheese doesn’t spoil during the long months/years it spends ageing. It also helps to form the natural rind of the cheese.
In this stage, each type of cheese takes its familiar form as a solid block or a wheel. The cheese is placed in a basket or mold. Weights are added to press and to expel any reaming whey.
Referred to as AFFINAGE, this process ages the cheese until it reaches optimal ripeness. During this time, the temperature and humidity levels of the cave or room where the cheeses age monitored very closely. The amount of time the cheese is left to ripen depends on the type of cheese and the cheesemakers desired outcome.
It takes 10 pounds of Milk to make just 1 pound of cheese
“Say CHEESE!” -Whitehead, K.