The team at Coolamon Cheese sets a high standard for the quality of their cheeses, believing the details in the process help to achieve this standard.
That process is as follows:
Standardisation: Home cheese makers will not need to worry about this. Big producers, where consistency of the product is of paramount importance, adjust their milk to a set casein-to-fat ratio.
Pasteurisation: It is illegal to make and sell unpasteurised milk cheese in Australia. Pasteurisation of raw milk is a mild heat process.
Starter Inoculation: The pasteurised milk is then cooled down to the desired temperature for inoculation with starter organisms.
Setting: For most cheeses, a combination of acid and rennet coagulation is usually required.
Curd Cutting: This is one of the most important components as it is one of the ways to control the final level of moisture in the product.
Healing: Once the curd is cut it is necessary to let it sit without being touched for a period of 10 to 15 minutes.
Stirring: Stirring the cheese is used as an aid to moisture control and acid development.
Cooking: The cheese is heated from one temperature to the next over a set period of time and a set rate.
Wheying Off: This is the removal of the whey from the curd. Every type varies in terms of the amount of wheying-off necessary.
Cheddaring: This is achieved by pushing the curd to each side of the vat, which is angled in order to allow further drainage.
Milling: This is cutting the cheese into chip size portions to allow for a better distribution of the salt and encourage moisture expulsion from the curd.
Salting: Salting at this point is known as dry salting where the salt is mixed in thoroughly and the curd is left to sit for 10 minutes.
Hooping: This is when the curd is transferred into a perforated container for further draining, shaping and pH development.
Pressing: Pressing involves adding weight to the hoop to help with moisture expulsion.
Salting: Generally, 24 hours into the pressing process the cheeses are removed from their moulds. The cheeses can now be salted and are ready for maturation.