Cheese really is an amazing thing, especially when you consider the vast varieties of flavours, textures and smells on offer today. It is unbelievable to think that it was apparently first made completely by accident! According to legend, the discovery of cheese came hundreds of years BC as milk was transported in a saddle bag across the desert by a nomad who, upon reaching their destination, discovered that the milk had separated into whey (liquid) and curds (solid).
Whilst cheese making has come a long way in relation to where cheese is made and stored, the process is still relatively the same as it has been, here we explore the ins and outs of how cheese is made.
The cheese making process
Using pasteurised milk, cheesemakers will add certain bacteria to thicken and ‘sour’ the milk. The bacteria turns the lactose within the milk into lactic acid, and once this process is complete, rennet is added which then allows the milk to turn into curds.
Whilst in the past, for the most part, rennet came from animal products such as the lining of a young goat’s stomach. However, these days most cheese is produced using non-animal rennet, so that the finished cheese is suitable for vegetarians. Once these curds are formed, they are left to set.
Following this, a cheese maker must cut the curds so that whey is then released. The way in which the curd is cut differs depending on the type of cheese being made, soft cheese will be cut minimally, whilst hard cheese will be cut relatively finely.
The curds are subsequently cut up and pressed together into slabs, these are then placed on top of each other pressing out moisture. The stacking process is repeated again in a process commonly known as ‘Cheddaring’, where more whey is expelled from the cheese. Salt is added to the resulting curds, with quantities differing depending on the cheese being made.
The curds are then pressed into moulds and left to ripen in various environments and for varying amounts of time, which will ultimately determine the taste and texture of the cheese.
Our experts cheese makers here at J.S. Bailey have perfected the process for our wide range of wholesale cheese flavours, place your under today.