Have you ever wondered how cheese is made?
There are 7 stages in the process of making cheese. Find out the first 5 steps below, and the last 2 steps on our Facebook page: Cheese of Europe Hong Kong
1. From the Milking Barn to the Dairy Plant
Just like any dairy product, the first stage of cheese production starts at the dairy farm. Here, farmers milk the cows, a process that's been mechanised thanks to machines that mimic the hand movements of humans. Once the cows are milked, the milk is refrigerated for better protection and preservation. Then, the milk is analysed to ensure it matches with the consumption standards. It is then loaded into isothermal tank trucks and delivered to the dairy plant where it will be processed prior to its transformation into cheese.
Photo credit: Marji Beach
2. Pasteurisation (**Only Applies to Some Cheese)
Pasteurisation is a technique that aims to remove undesirable micro-organisms from milk. The milk is then heated for 15 seconds at 72°C between 2 heating plates. This stage can be overlooked, depending on whether the cheese is made of raw or pasteurised milk.
Photo credit: Millennium Promise
Curdling is one of the main stages of cheese production. The point here is to allow the milk to coagulate either through the action of animal rennet (taken from calf abomasum - the gastric juices taken from the stomach of a calf), or through microbial coagulants (enzymes) added to the milk to curdle it. Either one of the two techniques is indispensable for the production of cheese, but there are no rules regarding which one to use; it all depends on the type of cheese that is desired. A producer can choose to use the rennet (in most cases) or microbial enzymes (enzymes taken from the stomach of a cow), according to the desirable final product.
Photo credit: Joel Kramer
After the curdling, the so-called "curd" is obtained. It is then placed in different molds, depending on the desired shape of the cheese.
Photo credit: Rebecca Siegel
The following stage consists of draining the curd in order to separate it from the whey, which allows for a longer preservation duration. White and fresh cheese can be consumed right after this stage.
For other cheese types, there are still a few stages left before reaching the final product. Like our Facebook page: Cheese of Europe Hong Kong and discover the final stages of the cheese making process.