Fromagerie: From milk to hard cheese
Cheese production goes through individual stations, the results of which can already be found in a different form on our menu.
- In the first stage of cheese making, only milk is taken into account. It is cleaned and then pasteurized. It is a process in which liquid foods are heated to kill microorganisms. The food then has a longer shelf life and is less susceptible to mold growth.
- To accurately determine the fat content, all the fat is removed from the milk. We are talking about what is called deframing. The cream is then added to the milk to reach a predetermined fat content. To make fluid milk more viscous, lactic acid bacteria and rennet are added. We are talking about what is called the “cock posture”.
- Rennet is a mixture of enzymes extracted from the stomach, for example, of cows. This is also the reason why some cheeses are not vegetarian. After all, the animal is forcibly killed for the rennet, so the consumption of rennet-containing cheese is at odds with a vegetarian diet.
- The curdling process differs in duration from one type of cheese to another and can sometimes take several hours. A so-called cheese harp is then used. With their help, the now viscous mass separates. At this stage the foundations for the subsequent cheese are laid. The finer the cheese is processed, the harder the final product will be. These pieces of cheese are called curds.
- The problem is that the cheese still contains whey as is. Whey is a yellowish liquid that is produced when milk is turned into cheese. It must be separate. This is done by moving the cheese mass, for example turning and turning it. During this operation, the cheese mass is also poured into the appropriate cheese molds and layered there.
- Of course, after filling the molds, it remains to give the cheese its obligatory crust. This is aided by a brine bath. In addition, the cheese must now mature. In the meantime, depending on the variety, they are turned over, moldy, or even cleaned. A so-called refiner takes care of it.
- This final process takes days, weeks or even months. Soft cheese requires less maturing time than hard cheese. The cheese is preserved and stored in a cheese factory until it is sold.
Same production, different taste: the difference between the cheeses
The production process itself does not differ from one type of cheese to another. However, almost all cheeses have their own unique flavor.
- For example, cream cheese is the product that results from the formation of cheese without aging. It is also not necessary to bathe in brine.
- If herbs are added to the cheese mixture before shaping and maturing, the corresponding herb cheeses are created.
- If sheep, buffalo or goat milk is used instead of cow’s milk, there are also taste differences.
- To make salty cheeses like feta, the cheese is simply left in brine to ripen. It doesn’t create a crust, but it does make a harder slice of cream cheese.
- For the production of mold cheese, mold is injected into the finished cheese mass, further enriching the cheese. These fungi belong to the group of noble molds, so they are completely harmless to the human body.
- Finally, the fat content also has a significant effect on the taste. Cream cheese, for example, is over 50% fat.
- Holes in some types of cheese are also caused by the addition of individual bacteria that eat away at the inside of the cheese and thus form holes.