Cheese

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We produce approximately 40,000 lbs of a variety (about 15 different kinds) of natural cheeses annually available in half pound and one pound packages!

 

The following is a general description of how we make cheese at Babcock:

  • Standardize raw milk as needed for the specific cheese type.
  • Pasteurize milk at 164° F for not less than 15 seconds.
  • Pump milk from the pasteurizer to the cheese vat at approximately 80° F.
  • These are the general steps for cheese production:
  • Add culture to the warm milk.
  • Add annatto color as needed.
  • Add rennet (a protein enzyme).
  • Remove agitation and allow time for the milk to clot or coagulate.
  • After about 20 minutes, the cheese maker will cut the coagulum using vertical and horizontal cutting wires.
  • The liquid byproduct, otherwise known as whey, will begin to separate from the curd. After a short period of time, start the agitation and cooking process as needed. The cooking process will allow for greater extraction of whey from the curd.
  • After a short period of time, the whey is then drained off, leaving just the curds.
  • The curds are hooped or placed in cheese forms.
  • Salt is added directly into the curds or in the brining process.
  • After pressing the blocks are cooled down, vacuum-sealed, and placed in our curing room for anywhere from 2 months to 2 years, depending on the cheese.

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Cheese is made by treating milk so that it coagulates into curd (a thick, custard-like solid) and, at the same time, releases a thin, watery liquid called "whey." The curd is then prepared and ripened, becoming the basis for the cheese.

 

The type of cheese made depends on a wide variety of factors: the animal from which the milk comes; the soil, grasses, water and climate of the region in which the animal grazes; and the cheese making process used.

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Shelf life of cheeses will vary. A general rule is the softer the cheese (higher moisture), the shorter the shelf life; the harder the cheese (lower moisture), the longer the shelf life.

  • Soft unripened cheeses (ricotta, cottage cheese): shelf life of 2 to 4 weeks
  • Soft-ripened cheeses (brie): shelf life of 4 to 8 weeks
  • Semi-soft cheeses (muenster, Monterey Jack): shelf life of 2 to 3 months
  • Firm cheeses (Swiss, Cheddar): shelf life of 3 to 6 months
  • Hard cheeses (Parmesan, Romano): shelf life of 7 to 9 months
  • Processed cheeses (American): shelf life of 9 to 12 months