At Woodlands Dairy, we have extremely skilled Cheesemakers and dedicated teams to ensure that we can enjoy our choice of Cheddar, Gouda or Feta. Their skills are continuously tested. They work with living organisms (cultures) that react in complex processes when added to the milk.
How we make cheese!
1. The process begins with the cows.
2. Milk is poured into a container and stirred, a starter culture and a liquid named rennet is added.
This helps the milk to turn into cheese.
The skill of the cheesemaker is now at play. Deciding when to cut the coagulated curd, and the speed of the cut, the size of the cut curd as well as how to manage the whey released by the cutting process are vital parameters in determining the end makeup of the cheese.
3. Small lumps called curds form. A liquid called whey separates from the curd.
The curd is gently pressed to remove excess moisture. The cheese is then cut into thin strips and run through a cheddar mill, where the cheese is cut into smaller pieces again which creates the texture of the cheese and also removes loose moisture that may be in the cheese. Salt is mixed into the cheese to provides taste and enhances texture, but is also a preservative.
4. The curds are compressed, packed and sealed into blocks of cheese. The blocks can be stored for a long time.
Once the cheddaring and salting process is complete, the cheese is placed into large moulds and pressed under significant pressure to release moisture (again) and force the cheese to bind. Once removed from the press, the cheese is stored in a cold room for approximately eight weeks to enable the cheese flavours to develop, a process known as ripening.
Remember, the cheesemakers started the process by adding a culture to the milk. This culture is a living organism that converts natural sugars in milk to lactic acid. They control this process by making fine adjustments to the milk temperature, stirring and cutting speeds, as well as a number of other parameters.