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Cheese manufacturing good practices app
Cheese manufacturing good practices app gives you the best cheese yield, increases cheese quality, and maximizes profit in the cheese manufacturing process.

Cheese manufacturing good practices app

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Good manufacturing app for cheese:

Manages cheese manufacturing good practices process for all types of cheeses.

CHEESE PRODUCTION – GENERAL PROCEDURES FOR HARD AND
SEMI-HARD CHEESE

Cheese manufacturing good practices app
Cheese manufacturing good practices app

Cheesemaking involves a number of main stages that are common to most types of cheese. There are also other modes of treatment that are specific to certain varieties. The main stages for production of hard and semi-hard cheese are illustrated schematically on the block chart in Figure 14.1.
The cheese milk is pre-treated, possibly pre-ripened after addition of a bacteria culture appropriate to the type of cheese, and mixed with rennet. The enzyme activity of the rennet causes the milk to coagulate into a solid gel known as coagulum. This is cut with special cutting tools into small cubes of the desired size – primarily to facilitate expulsion of whey.


During the rest of the curd-making process, the bacteria grow and multiply and form lactic acid from the lactose. The curd grains are subjected to mechanical treatment with stirring tools, while at the same time the curd is heated, according to a pre-set programme. The combined effect of these three actions – growth of bacteria, mechanical treatment and heat treatment – results in syneresis, i.e. expulsion of whey from the curd grains. The finished curd is placed in cheese moulds, mostly made of plastic, which determine the shape and size of the finished cheese.
The cheese is pressed, either by its own weight or more commonly by applying pressure to the moulds. Treatment during curd-making, pressing, brining and storage conditions determines the characteristics of the cheese.
The process flow chart in Figure 14.1 also shows salting and storage. Finally, the cheese is coated, wrapped or packed.

The 6 Steps of Cheesemaking

The Basic Process of Turning Milk Into Cheese

Cheese manufacturing good practices app
Cheese manufacturing good practices app

Making cheese is both an art and a science. Cheesemakers rely as much on measurements of pH levels and inoculations of specific molds as they do their own senses of sight, touch, and smell.

There are six important steps in cheesemaking: acidification, coagulation, separating curds and whey, salting, shaping, and ripening. While the recipes for all cheeses vary, these steps outline the basic process of turning milk into cheese and are also used to make cheese at home.

Acidification

The first step to making cheese is acidification. During this stage, a starter culture is added to milk that will change lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. This changes the acidity level of the milk and begins the process of turning milk from a liquid into a solid.

Coagulation

Coagulation is the process of transforming the liquid into a semisolid. When making cheese, an enzyme called rennet is added either as a liquid or paste to further encourage the milk to solidify.

Curds and Whey

As the milk solidifies, it forms curd and whey. The curds are the solid part and whey is the liquid. In this step, the curds are cut using a knife or a tool that resembles a rake.

Cutting the curds further encourages them to expel whey. Generally, the smaller the curds are cut, the harder the resulting cheese will be. Soft cheeses like Camembert or Brie are hardly cut at all. Harder cheeses like cheddar and Gruyere are cut into a very fine texture. For these harder cheeses, the curds are further manipulated by cheddaring and/or cooking. Cooking the curd changes its texture, making it tender rather than crumbly.

When this process is complete, the whey is drained away, leaving the curd alone to become cheese.

Salting

Salt is added for flavor. It also acts as a preservative so the cheese does not spoil during the long months or years it spends aging and it helps to form a natural rind on the cheese.

There are several ways to use salt. Salt can be added directly into the curd as the cheese is being made. The outside of the wheel of cheese can be rubbed with salt or with a damp cloth that has been soaked in brine (heavily salted water). The cheese can also be bathed directly in a vat of brine, as it is for mozzarella.

Shaping

In this stage, each type of cheese takes its familiar form as a solid block or wheel. The cheese is put into a basket or a mold to form it into a specific shape. At the same time, the cheese is also pressed with weights or a machine to expel any remaining liquid.

Ripening

Referred to as affinage, this process ages cheese until it reaches optimal ripeness. During this time, the temperature and humidity of the cave or room where the cheese ages are closely monitored.

An experienced affineur knows how to properly treat each cheese so it develops the desired flavor and texture. For some cheeses, ambient molds in the air give the cheese a distinct flavor. For others, mold is introduced by spraying it on the cheese (Brie) or injecting it into the cheese (blue cheese). Some cheeses must be turned, some must be brushed with oil, and some must be washed with brine or alcohol.

The amount of time a cheese is left to ripen depends on the type of cheese and the cheesemaker's desired outcome. It may take several months to quite a few years for a cheese to age, but once finished, it is ready to be packaged.

If you read our ultimate cheese guide, your mouth was probably watering by the end of it. After all, who doesn’t love cheese? We shred it on top of pasta or potatoes, add a slice to our favorite sandwich or enjoy it as a fabulous snack or appetizer with a glass of wine. We can all agree cheese is delicious, but even self-declared cheese lovers may not know much about the cheese-making process.

At S. Clyde Weaver, we know this process inside and out, so we’re here to demystify the magic of the art of cheese making. We’ll look at the ingredients that go into cheese making and break down the process, step by step. The next time you enjoy your favorite cheese, you may have a greater appreciation for the labor and care that goes into creating this delicious product.

SHOP OUR CHEESES

Cheese manufacturing app
Cheese manufacturing app

WHAT IS Cheese manufacturing app?

There are countless types of cheese, all of which have their own distinct textures and flavors, but all these cheeses start out with the same star ingredient: milk. While all cheeses have milk in common, the type of milk can differ from cheese to cheese. Some common types of milk used in cheese making include:

  • Cow’s milk: Most cheeses are made with cow’s milk. This is due in part to the wide availability of cow’s milk and the fact that it offers optimal amounts of fat and protein. Some examples of cow’s milk cheeses include cheddar, swiss and gouda, among many others.
  • Sheep’s milk: Sheep’s milk isn’t commonly enjoyed as a beverage since it’s so high in lactose, but it makes an excellent base for cheese. Some popular types of sheep’s milk cheeses are feta, Roquefort, manchego and petit basque.
  • Goat’s milk: Goat’s milk is also used to make some delicious cheeses, with a distinctive tangy flavor. Goat’s milk cheese is known in French as chèvre. In addition to fresh chèvre, other examples of goat’s milk cheeses include Le Chevrot and French Bucheron.
  • Buffalo milk: Water buffalo milk is not a common cheese ingredient, but it has made a name for itself in the world of cheese making as the traditional choice for mozzarella. Most mass-produced mozzarella today is made with cow’s milk.

Even more obscure types of milk can be used to make regional specialty cheeses. For example, camel’s milk is the basis for the South African caracane cheese. Other cheeses can be made from horse’s or even yak’s milk.

Milk doesn’t turn into delicious cheese on its own. Another important ingredient in cheese is a coagulant, which helps the milk turn into curds. The coagulant may be a type of acid or, more commonly, rennet. Rennet is an enzyme complex that is genetically engineered through microbial bioprocessing. Traditional rennet cheeses are actually made with rennin, the enzyme rennet is meant to replicate. Rennin, also known as chymosin, is an enzyme that is naturally produced in the stomachs of calves and other mammals to help them digest milk.

Milk and coagulant are the main components of cheese, but cheese can also include sources of flavoring, such as salt, brine, herbs, spices and even wine. Some cheeses may be made with identical ingredients, but the end product will differ based on different aging processes.

Cheese manufacturing app
Cheese manufacturing app

HOW IS CHEESE MADE?

So, how does milk turn into cheese? It’s a natural process that requires some help from artisans, known as fromagers or, simply, cheesemakers. Another term you may hear is a cheesemonger, but this technically refers to someone who sells cheese.

With so many different varieties of cheese, of course, there are differences in the cheese-making process, depending on what cheese is being made. However, all cheese making follows the same general process, especially when it comes to the earlier steps. The cheese-making process comes down to 10 essential steps. We’ll explain them more in the next section, but first, let’s do a quick overview of the process:

  1. Preparing the milk: Before it can be turned into cheese, the milk may need to be processed.
  2. Acidifying the milk: Adding cultures to the milk allows it to begin to ferment and makes it more acidic.
  3. Curdling the milk: Adding rennet causes a reaction that curdles the milk, creating curds.
  4. Cutting the curd: Next, the cheesemaker cuts the curd with knives and heats it, further separating the curds and whey.
  5. Processing the curd: Processing the curd through stirring, cooking and washing continue to acidify and dry the curds.
  6. Draining the whey: Next, the whey is drained, leaving only a mat of cheese curds.
  7. Cheddaring the cheese: The cheesemaker next cuts the curd mat into sections and repeatedly flips the sections before milling the mat.
  8. Salting the cheese: For some cheeses, the next is dry salting, and for others, it is brining.
  9. Shaping the cheese: Next, cheesemakers shape the cheese, often using molds to assist.
  10. Aging the cheese: Some cheeses are aged for anywhere from a number of days to a number of years.

THE CHEESE-MAKING PROCESS

Now, let’s take a closer look at the magic of cheese making, starting with simple milk all the way to the finished product.

Cheese manufacturing app
Cheese manufacturing app

STEP 1: PREPARING THE MILK

Since milk is the star of the show, to make cheese just right, you need your milk to be just right. “Just right” will differ from cheese to cheese, so many cheesemakers start by processing their milk however they need to in order to standardize it. This may involve manipulating the protein-to-fat ratio.

It also often involves pasteurization or a more mild heat treatment. Heating the milk kills organisms that could cause the cheese to spoil and can also prime the milk for the starter cultures to grow more effectively. Once the milk has been heat treated or pasteurized, it is cooled to 90°F so it is ready for the starter cultures. If a cheese calls for raw milk, it will need to be heated to 90°F before adding the starter cultures.

STEP 2: ACIDIFYING THE MILK

The next step in the cheese-making process is adding starter cultures to acidify the milk. If you’ve ever tasted sour milk, then you know that left long enough, milk will acidify on its own. However, there is any number of bacteria that can grow and sour milk. Instead of letting milk sour on its own, the modern cheese-making process typically standardizes this step.

Cheesemakers add starter and non-starter cultures to the milk that acidify it. The milk should already be 90°F at this point, and it must stay at this temperature for approximately 30 minutes while the milk ripens. During this ripening process, the milk’s pH level drops, and the flavor of the cheese begins to develop.

STEP 3: CURDLING THE MILK

The milk is still liquid milk at this point, so cheesemakers need to start manipulating the texture. The process of curdling the milk can also happen naturally. In fact, some nursing animals, such as calves, piglets or kittens, produce the rennin enzyme in their stomachs to help them digest their mother’s milk. Cheesemakers cause the same process to take place in a controlled way.

In the past, natural rennin was typically the enzyme of choice for curdling the milk, but cheesemakers today usually use rennet, the lab-created equivalent. Rennet inactivates the protein kappa casein, turning it into para-kappa-casein. The important thing to understand is simply that this reaction allows the milk to form coagulated lumps, known as curds. As the solid curd forms, a liquid byproduct remains, known as whey.

STEP 4: CUTTING THE CURD

The curds and whey mixture is allowed to separate and ferment until the pH reaches 6.4. At this point, the curd should form a large coagulated mass in the cheese-making vat. Then, cheesemakers use long curd knives that can reach the bottom of the vat to cut through the curds. Cutting the curd creates more surface area on the curd, which allows the curds and why to separate even more.

Cheesemakers usually make crisscrossing cuts vertically, horizontally and diagonally to break up the curd. The size of the curds after cutting can influence the cheese’s level of moisture. Larger chunks of curd retain more moisture, leading to a moisture cheese, and smaller pieces of curd can lead to a drier cheese.

Cheese manufacturing app
Cheese manufacturing app

STEP 5: PROCESSING THE CURD

After being cut, the curd continues to be processed. This might involve cooking the curds, stirring the curds or both. All of this processing is still aimed at the same goal of separating the curds and whey. In other words, the curds continue to acidify and release moisture as they are processed. The more the curds are cooked and stirred, the drier the cheese will be.

Another way curd can be processed at this stage is through washing. Washing the curd means replacing whey with water. This affects the flavor and texture of the cheese. Washed curd cheeses tend to be more elastic and have a nice, mild flavor. Some examples of washed curd cheeses are gouda, havarti and Swedish fontina.

STEP 6:  DRAINING THE WHEY

At this point, the curds and whey should be sufficiently separated, so it’s time to remove the whey completely. This means draining the whey from the vat, leaving only the solid chunks of curd. These chunks could be big or small, depending on how finely the curd has been cut. With all the whey drained, the curd should now look like a big mat.

Cheese manufacturing app
Cheese manufacturing app

There are different means of draining whey. In some cases, cheesemakers allow it to drain off naturally. However, especially when it comes to harder cheeses that require a lower moisture content, cheesemakers are likely to get help from a mold or press. Putting pressure on the curd compacts and forces more whey out.

STEP 7: CHEDDARING THE CHEESE

With the whey drained, the curd should form a large slab. For some cheeses, another step remains to remove even more moisture from the curd. This step is known as cheddaring. After cutting the mat of curd into sections, the cheesemaker will stack the individual slabs of curd. Stacking the slabs puts pressure on them, forcing out more moisture.

Periodically, the cheesemaker will repeat the process, cutting up the slabs of curd again and restacking them. The longer this process goes on, the more whey is removed from the curd, resulting in a denser, more crumbly finished cheese texture. Fermentation also continues during the cheddaring process. Eventually, the curd should reach a pH of 5.1 to 5.5. When it’s ready, the cheesemaker will mill the curd slabs, producing smaller pieces.

STEP 8: SALTING THE CHEESE

The curd is now beginning to look more like cheese in its final form. To add flavor, cheese makers can salt or brine the cheese at this point. This can either involve sprinkling on dry salt or submerging the cheese into brine. An example of a cheese that gets soaked in brine is mozzarella. Drier cheeses will be dry salted.

Some cheeses have flavor added in other forms as well. Some examples of spices that find their way into some types of cheese are black pepper, horseradish, garlic, paprika, habanero and cloves. Cheese can also contain herbs, such as dill, basil, chives or rosemary. The options for flavoring cheeses are endless. For many cheeses, though, the focus is simply on developing the natural flavors of the cheese and adding salt to intensify those flavors.

STEP 9: SHAPING THE CHEESE

There are no more ingredients to add to the cheese at this point, so it’s ready to be shaped. This is where the final product really begins to reveal itself. Even with so much moisture removed from the curd, it is still malleable and soft. Therefore, cheesemakers are able to press the curd into molds to create standardized shapes.

Molds can take the form of baskets or hoops. Baskets are molds that are only open on one end, and hoops are bottomless molds, meaning they only wrap around the sides of the curd. In either case, the milled curd mixture is pressed into the mold and left there for a certain amount of time to solidify into the right shape. These molds are usually round or rectangular.

STEP 10: AGING THE CHEESE

For some cheeses, the process is already finished, but for many cheeses, what’s known as aging remains. Aging should occur in a controlled, cool environment. As the cheese ages, molecular changes take place that cause the cheese to harden and the flavor to intensify. The aging process can take anywhere from a few days to many years. In some cases, mold develops, which adds unique color and flavor to the cheese.

Once the cheese has finished aging, it is finally ready to be enjoyed by consumers. Cheeses can be sold in whole weels or blocks or by the wedge. When you know how much time, effort and care went into making your favorite cheese, it’s likely to taste even more delicious.

fresh cheese being made
Cheese manufacturing app

HOW IS FRESH CHEESE MADE?

Now that we’ve looked at the general production of cheese, you may be wondering about the particulars of how certain types of cheeses are made. For instance, what about fresh cheese? Fresh cheeses tend to be smooth, creamy and mild in flavor. There is one main difference that separates fresh cheese like feta, ricotta or fresh mozzarella, from other cheeses — they are not aged.

Fresh cheeses must still go through the bulk of the steps we outlined above to varying degrees. If all you did was drain some of the whey off after initially forming curds and whey, you would have cottage cheese. For other fresh cheeses, you must continue to strain the curds to remove more moisture and pack the cheese into a shape. Making fresh cheese is a simpler process, so some home cooks attempt this type of cheese making in their own kitchens.

Racks of aging cheese
Cheese manufacturing app

HOW IS CHEESE AGED?

Aging cheese doesn’t just mean leaving it lying around for a while. It is a carefully controlled and timed process, and even subtle changes can affect the texture and taste of the finished cheese. In general, cheeses are aged in cool environments with relatively high humidity levels. Another term for aging when it comes to cheese is ripening. There are two basic types of ripening that can take place:

  • Interior-ripened cheeses are coated with an artificial rind of wax or some other material to protect the surface. This causes the aging process to occur from the inside out. Two common examples of interior-ripened cheese are cheddar and swiss.
  • Surface-ripened cheeses are not sealed off on the outside, so a natural rind develops with the help of bacteria being introduced. This process causes the cheese to age from the outside in. Brie and Muenster are two examples of surface-ripened cheese.

Beyond these basic distinctions, it’s helpful to understand the process that goes into aging specific categories of aged cheese, including red mold (also known as washed rind) cheese, white mold (or bloomy rind) cheese and blue cheese. Let’s take a look.

1. RED MOLD CHEESE

As the name suggests, red mold cheeses are covered in a reddish rind. Some popular types of red mold cheeses include French Morbier, Reblochon and Taleggio. Red mold cheeses are also often called washed rind cheeses, which hints at how they are aged. These cheeses are stored in a very humid environment and are washed frequently in some type of liquid, such as wine or a salty brine, for example. The thinner the cheese, the more the liquid will permeate and soften the cheese.

Person trying white mold cheese
Cheese manufacturing app

2. WHITE MOLD CHEESE

Cheesemakers spray or rub a white penicillin mold onto aging cheeses to create white mold cheeses, also known as bloomy rind cheeses. When these cheeses are done aging, they are covered in a fuzzy white mold. This process results in a soft cheese that is creamy and pasty in texture. The most popular type of white mold cheese is brie, which is loved for its silky smoothness and mild flavor. Some other examples include French Normandy Camembert, Le Chevrot and St. Marcellin.

3. BLUE CHEESE

Some aged cheese doesn’t just have mold on the rind but throughout the inside of the cheese, as well. Blue cheeses, like the ever-popular French Roquefort, creamy gorgonzola or English blue stilton contain streaks of blue or green mold and have a characteristically sharp flavor. First, mold spores are added to the cheese at some point during the cheese-making process. Then, during the aging process, cheesemakers encourage the mold to grow and spread throughout the cheese by poking air tunnels into it.

DELICIOUS ARTISINAL CHEESES FROM S. CLYDE WEAVER

At S. Clyde Weaver, we know our cheese. In fact, we have a century of experience creating delicious, artisan cheeses, meats and other delicacies to brighten Americans’ tables. When bland, over-processed cheese from the grocery store doesn’t cut it, you can find amazing cheeses, aged by experienced cheesemakers from S. Clyde Weaver. Some of our cheeses are aged for many years to produce the perfect texture and flavor. We even have creamy, delicious cheese spreads to try.

Whether you’re looking to assemble an amazing cheeseboard or you just want to try something new to add a punch of great flavor to your next meal, browse our selection of cheeses today.

Swiss Cheese from S. Clyde Weaver
Cheese manufacturing app

Want to learn more about different cheese types?

Here’s what you need to know:

We’ve gathered more than three dozen different types of cheeses below with descriptions of their taste, color and more that should help you on your way to a dairy diploma.

American: American is a creamy, smooth cheese made from blending natural cheeses. It comes in several forms including individually wrapped cheese slices, small pre-sliced blocks and large blocks. It melts well.

Asiago: Asiago, a nutty-flavored cheese, comes in two forms: fresh and mature. The fresh has an off-white color and is smoother and milder, while mature Asiago is yellowish and somewhat crumbly. Depending on its age, Asiago can be grated, melted or sliced.

Blue cheese: Blue is a general name for cheeses that were made with Penicillium cultures, which creates “blue” spots or veins. Blue cheese has a distinct smell and, what some consider, an acquired taste. Blue cheeses can be eaten crumbed or melted.  

Bocconcini: Meaning “little bites,” bocconcini are egg-sized balls of mozzarella cheese. The cheese is white, rindless, unripened, and elastic in texture with a sweet, buttery taste. Bocconcini can be enjoyed as they are or melted.

Brie: Brie is a soft, white cheese. It comes in a wheel, sometimes in a small wooden box, and is considered a great dessert cheese. Experts recommend enjoying it at room temperature.

Burrata: Burrata is a fresh cheese featuring a thin layer of cheese with a mixture of stringy curd and fresh cream on the inside. It has a rich flavor and goes well with salads, crusty bread and Italian dishes.

Camembert:  Fresh Camembert cheese is bland, hard and crumbly, but becomes smoother with a runny interior as it ages. It has a rich, buttery flavor with a rind that’s meant to be eaten.  

Cheddar: This popular cheese comes in many variations. Its flavor can range from creamy to sharp, and its color can run between a natural white to pumpkin orange. A Cheddar’s texture changes as it ages, becoming drier and more crumbly.  

Cheese Curds: Popular in the United States and Canada, cheese curds have a springy or rubbery texture and can vary in flavor. They can be eaten as a snack or used in recipes like Poutine.

Colby: While it may look like Cheddar, Colby has a softer texture and less tangy taste. Sometimes it’s blended with other different cheeses, like Monterey Jack, to make Colby Jack.

Colby-Jack Cheese: This orange and white cheese is a combination of orange Colby cheese and white Monterey Jack cheese. It’s often used on grilled sandwiches, cooked vegetables and other warm dishes because it melts well.

Cold-Pack Cheese: Cold Pack cheese is a combination of two or more types of fresh and aged natural cheeses. It is soft, creamy and spreadable, and comes in tubs, balls, logs, and other packages.

Cotija: This hard, crumbly cheese begins as mild and salty, and becomes tangier as it ages. It doesn’t melt, so it’s used for grating on soups, tacos, tostadas, and more.

Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is made when curds are separated from the whey, and unlike other kinds of cheeses, it isn’t pressed so it remains creamy and lumpy. It can be eaten on its own, with fruit, on toast, and more.

Cream cheese: Cream cheese is made by adding cream to milk. It comes in a block, sometimes with added flavors, and spreads smoothly. The flavor is light and slightly tangy.

Emmental: When people think of “Swiss cheese,” they’re likely thinking of Emmental (also known as Emmentaler). When the cheese’s curds are cooked and pressed together, bubbles form, which leave the holes in the cheese. It’s sweet, tangy and melts well.

Farmer’s: Farmer’s cheese is made when cottage cheese is squeezed to remove the extra moisture. It may then be rolled in herbs or smoked meats. Its style varies depending on its maker.

Feta: While traditionally made with sheep’s or goat’s milk, cow’s milk also can be used to make Feta. It’s tangy and crumbly.

Fresh Mozzarella: Fresh mozzarella is a fresh cheese made by stretching its cheese curds before rolling them into balls. To keep them fresh, they’re packed in water.

Gorgonzola: Gorgonzola is one of the world's oldest types of blue cheese. It has a crumbly and soft texture, and its taste can range from creamy to sharp.

Gouda: A semi-hard to hard cheese with a smooth flavor, Gouda comes in several types, depending on its age. Gouda can be grated, sliced, cubed and melted.

Gruyere: This slightly grainy cheese is known for its fruity, earthy and nutty flavors. It melts well and adds a savory flavor without overpowering others. It’s commonly used on sandwiches, in hot meals, over French onion soup and more.

Halloumi: Halloumi is known for its high melting point so it’s often fried or grilled. While often made from goat or sheep milk, cow’s milk also may be used. The texture is similar to mozzarella, while its taste is strong and salty. Once cooked, it becomes less salty and creamier.

Havarti: Havarti, a semi-soft cheese, has a buttery aroma and taste. It can be sliced, grilled or melted.

Jarlsberg: Jarlsberg is a mild, semi-soft cheese that resembles Emmental thanks to its open and irregular holes. This meltable cheese works well in hot dishes, on sandwiches and more.

Limburger: Known for its pungent odor, Limburger is a semi-soft cheese with a mild flavor despite its stinky aroma. The cheese, which softens with age, goes well with dark rye bread and onion.

Mascarpone: Mascarpone is a thick, soft cheese with a very high fat content. Known for its smooth, creamy to buttery texture and flavor, it can be used in sweet and savory dishes.

Monterey Jack: Monterey Jack, which has a mild and buttery flavor with a bit of tang, melts well.

Mozzarella: Similar to fresh mozzarella, this mozzarella is pulled and kneaded into strands, which contributes to its stretch ability. It melts well and is commonly used on pizza.

Muenster: Muenster is a smooth, pale yellow cheese with an orange rind. Its taste can vary from mild and bland to sharp. Since it melts well, it can be used in sandwiches, on cheeseburgers and more.

Neufchatel: This soft, white cheese looks similar to Camembert, but is made in many forms, shapes and sizes. Unlike similar cheeses, Neufchatel has a grainy texture.

Paneer: Paneer is a fresh cheese often used in South Asian Cuisine. It’s moist and soft, crumbly in texture, and is made in a process similar to ricotta.

Parmesan: Parmesan has a hard, gritty texture and tastes fruity and nutty. It can be grated over pastas, used in soups and more.

Pepper Jack: Pepper Jack is a variety of Monterey Jack that’s flavored with peppers and often other vegetables and spices to give it a kick. While this semi-soft cheese is spicy, it’s also buttery. As a result, it goes well with quesadillas, hamburgers and more.

Provolone: This semi-hard cheese is pale yellow to white and has a sweetish taste. It can come in smoked and unsmoked varieties, and is a sandwich staple for many.

Ricotta: This fresh cheese is smoother than cottage cheese and while firm, it’s not solid. It has a light flavor that works well with dishes from lasagna to cheesecake.

Romano: This hard cheese, when made with cow’s milk, can have a tangier flavor than Parmesan. It’s often grated over pasta, salads or into sauces.

String Cheese: Traditionally, it’s a type of mozzarella made into small logs that can be pulled apart as strings. It comes in a variety of flavors.

Swiss: Swiss is actually a generic name for a type of cheese, including Emmental and baby Swiss varieties. It’s recognized by its holes and light or pale yellow color. It pairs well with fruits and vegetables, and on sandwiches.  

General Manufacturing Procedure

The temperatures, times, and target pH for different steps, the sequence of processing steps, the use of salting or brining, block formation, and aging vary considerably between cheese types. The following flow chart provides a very general outline of cheese making steps. The general processing steps for Cheddar cheese are used for illustration. For a more detailed explanation see the literature references by Fox (2004), Kosikowski and Mistry (1997), Law (1997), Walstra et al. (1999), and the website by Goff, www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/dairyedu/cheese.html.

General Cheese Processing Steps

The times, temperatures, and target pH values used for cheddar cheese will depend on individual formulations and the intended end use of the cheese. These conditions can be adjusted to optimize the properties of Cheddar cheese for shredding, melting, or for cheese that is meant to be aged for several years.

1. Standardize Milk

Milk is often standardized before cheese making to optimize the protein to fat ratio to make a good quality cheese with a high yield

2. Pasteurize/Heat Treat Milk

Depending on the desired cheese, the milk may be pasteurized or mildly heat-treated to reduce the number of spoilage organisms and improve the environment for the starter cultures to grow. Some varieties of milk are made from raw milk so they are not pasteurized or heat-treated. Raw milk cheeses must be aged for at least 60 days to reduce the possibility of exposure to disease causing microorganisms (pathogens) that may be present in the milk.

3. Cool Milk

Milk is cooled after pasteurization or heat treatment to 90°F (32°C) to bring it to the temperature needed for the starter bacteria to grow. If raw milk is used the milk must be heated to 90°F (32°C).

4. Inoculate with Starter & Non-Starter Bacteria and Ripen

The starter cultures and any non-starter adjunct bacteria are added to the milk and held at 90°F (32°C) for 30 minutes to ripen. The ripening step allows the bacteria to grow and begin fermentation, which lowers the pH and develops the flavor of the cheese.

5. Add Rennet and Form Curd

The rennet is the enzyme that acts on the milk proteins to form the curd. After the rennet is added, the curd is not disturbed for approximately 30 minutes so a firm coagulum forms.

6. Cut Curd and Heat

The curd is allowed to ferment until it reaches pH 6.4. The curd is then cut with cheese knives into small pieces and heated to 100°F (38°C). The heating step helps to separate the whey from the curd.

7. Drain whey

The whey is drained from the vat and the curd forms a mat.

8. Texture curd

The curd mats are cut into sections and piled on top of each other and flipped periodically. This step is called cheddaring. Cheddaring helps to expel more whey, allows the fermentation to continue until a pH of 5.1 to 5.5 is reached, and allows the mats to "knit" together and form a tighter matted structure. The curd mats are then milled (cut) into smaller pieces.

9. Dry Salt or Brine

For cheddar cheese, the smaller, milled curd pieces are put back in the vat and salted by sprinkling dry salt on the curd and mixing in the salt. In some cheese varieties, such as mozzarella, the curd is formed into loaves and then the loaves are placed in a brine (salt water solution).

10. Form Cheese into Blocks

The salted curd pieces are placed in cheese hoops and pressed into blocks to form the cheese.

11. Store and Age

The cheese is stored in coolers until the desired age is reached. Depending on the variety, cheese can be aged from several months to several years.

12. Package

Cheese may be cut and packaged into blocks or it may be waxed.

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