Cheese Production Process
Cheese has been there for as long one can remember, invented first in 8000 BC when sheep were first domesticated. It is beloved by millions of people worldwide and keeps finding its place in peoples home. A recent statistic has shown that cheese consumption has increased from 8 pounds a year/person in 1970 to now almost three times that number at 23 pounds/person in a year. Most beloved as its topping for pizza, cheese has been there through the years and continues to add a flavour that is irreplaceable to our taste palate through its wide variety, taste and experience. Yes, eating all the different types of cheese is an experience of its own! Going from mozzarella which is probably the most well-known and loved cheese to mould, which is not a taste for everyone.
BENEFITS OF CHEESE
- It’s a good source of protein
- Good source of carbohydrates as well
- Helps in keeping healthy bones
- Management and prevention of Osteoporosis
- Healthy teeth
- Stress reduction
- Studies are being carried out on determining the reason for the effects that cheese has on stress and anxiety. Cheese has been observed to reduce panic and anxiety attacks. Where this can be attributed to the varieties rich n magnesium, a little cheese will certainly help you keep a relaxed mind.
- Probiotic nature. Yes, yogurt is not the only dairy product with a healthy probiotic nature, cheese as well has good bacteria that help maintain gut health
- The bacteria present in cheese help improve the digestive system and keep it strong and fight away diseases and viruses which result in an overall stronger immune system.
CHEESE PRODUCTION PROCESS
- The incoming milk is tested for quality. For every pound of cheese approximately 10 pounds (4.5kg) of milk is required.
PASTEURISATION AND CURDLING
Pasteurisation: In this process the milk is heated to less than a 100°c and stirred to help improve shelf life and remove pathogens.
Once desired temperatures are reached we add starter culture or good bacteria for the cheese making process, these help determine the texture and the flavour for the cheese. After this an enzyme called Rennet is added to finally curdle the milk and form a custard like consistency. The enzyme can be found in young calves or can be produced microbially with lactic acid. The stirring equipment is then switched off and the milk is allowed to rest for 30 – 40 minutes after which the custard-like mass appears.
WHEY SEPARATION AND CUTTING
The jelly like structure is cut using either a special machine tool or a person using a stirrer with a thin wire that turns it into smaller pieces. The curd separates from the watery part called the whey .The smaller the piece of curd, the harder the cheese is at the end of the process.
The whey can be processed further either into cream which can used to make butter or it may be used to make ziger.
HEATING, FORMING AND SALINE BATHING
Curd is heated to a desired temperature around 60-70°c while constantly being stirred. The cheese is then pressed either by its own weight or by applying external pressure and this causes the whey to leave the cheese. The lactic acid bacteria that had been added have now turned the lactose into lactic acid. For mozzarella cheese it is then pressed into 100-250 gram bales that are cooled under running water (10-12°) for 30 minutes followed by immersion in 5°c brine for 30 minutes. After this it is packaged.
*The soft cheese is then put into a saline bath depending on the size of the cheese from anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 days. This process helps it absorb salt and lose moisture.*
FERMENTING AND RIPENING
This a more expensive process due to the storage of the cheese and the requirements needed to keep the cheese cool, i.e. cold storage rooms and regular washing. However the ripening process is the stage in which cheese finally adapts its texture and taste that it is known for. The cheese ripening process can vary depending on the type of cheese needed as an end product and can take anywhere between a few days to a few years. Each cheese with a different taste and texture from the other.
Each cheese is checked before being shipped out and sold to ensure only the best cheese makes the cut.
Making sure that experience and love for cheese never dies!