All About Cheese

Brie & Strawberries

How is cheese made?

Step 2

From liquid to solid

Addition of cheese starter cultures

Selected bacteria or moulds are added to the milk to assist in developing the flavour and texture of the cheese. The type and quantity of each starter culture varies with each style of cheese.

Coagulation of the milk

Milk is set it into a junket-like solid by either the lactic acid produced by the starter culture and/or the addition of rennet (an animal derived enzyme).

Cutting the curds

The set curd is cut into cubes to release moisture (whey). The finer the curd is cut, the drier the texture of the final cheese.

Stirring the curds

Gentle stirring releases more whey from the curds and the amount of stirring required will vary with the type of cheese being made.

Heating

Although fresh cheeses are never heated, with some firmer cheese styles, the curds are cooked or gently heated to release yet more whey. This produces hard textured cheeses, such as Parmesan.

Hooping

Cheese curds are hooped into moulds to form the shape of the cheese. The cheese stays in the hoops for up to 16 hours, dependant on the size and type of cheese being made.

Pressing & turning

Firm cheeses are often pressing and turned to extract more whey and produce a close textured cheese. Most soft cheeses are not pressed but turned in their hoops to gently remove excess whey.

Salting

Salting is important in cheesemaking for flavour, texture and maturation, and to assist in preserving the cheese. Salt can be added to the curd prior to hooping (such as when making Cheddar) or added to the cheese after hooping and draining (for soft ripened cheese). If added after, the cheese can be ‘dry-salted’ or ‘brine-salted’.