Cheese is made by treating milk so 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 type of animal milk; the soil, grasses, water and climate of the region in which the animal grazes; and the cheese-making process used.
How It’s Made
First, our cheesemakers standardize the raw milk as needed for the cheese that’s being produced. They will pasteurize this milk at 164° F for no less than 15 seconds before pumping the milk into the cheese vat at approximately 80° F.
Then, they will add culture, annatto color (as needed) and rennet (a protein enzyme) to the milk. After mixing these ingredients, the cheesemakers remove agitation and allow time for the milk to clot or coagulate.
After about 20 minutes, the coagulum is cut using vertical and horizontal cutting wires. The liquid byproduct, otherwise known as whey, begins to separate from the curd. After a short period of time, our cheesemakers start the agitation and cooking process as needed. The cooking process allows 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. Then, they make their way to thousands of Babcock cheese fans to enjoy!
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
Aged for six to 10 months, Medium Cheddar has a creamy, firm texture that slices, shreds and melts well. Medium Cheddar is very versatile and combines easily with other cheeses.
Aged for 12 to 15 months, our Aged Cheddar has a more developed, nutty aroma than Medium Cheddar. The texture is still creamy, but it crumbles more easily. Aged cheddar melts and shreds well. Try it in soups or sauces for a richer, more complex flavor.
Aged for six to 10 months, our most popular cheese variety — Cheddar — is combined with jalapeño peppers that add medium heat to this smooth but firm cheese. Try it on a sandwich or use it shredded as a substitute to regular Cheddar for extra flavor.
Smoked Aged Cheddar
Aged for a minimum of 12 months, we use our flavorful Aged Cheddar as the base for our smoked variety. This has a subtle smoked flavor that is stronger on the outside. It’s great on its own, but it also brings a nice flavor to sandwiches and burgers.
White Aged Cheddar
Aged for a minimum of 12 months, our White Aged Cheddar has the same flavor and texture of our Yellow Aged Cheddar. The difference between our White and Yellow Aged Cheddars is the annatto coloring. Our White Aged Cheddar shreds and melts well. Try it in a cheese sauce for stuffed baked potatoes.
Developed at the University of Wisconsin in the 1980s, our Havarti is a soft cheese with a smooth and creamy texture. Wisconsin-Style Havarti is mild with a buttery flavor. This cheese is excellent for melting, making it a great choice for grilled cheese, pizza and casseroles.
Wisconsin-Style Dill Havarti is a soft cheese with a smooth and creamy texture that is great for melting. It is mild with a buttery flavor, accented with dill. The dill gives this cheese a unique tanginess that can liven up any sandwich or casserole.
Wisconsin-Style Pesto Havarti is a soft cheese with a smooth and creamy texture. It is mild with a buttery flavor accented with basil. Aside from melting well, this cheese is very popular on cheese platters.
Monterey Jack is a semi-firm cheese with a delicate, buttery flavor similar to mild cheddar in texture and flavor. It combines well with other cheeses. Try it with Mexican-style dishes, on sandwiches, or serve with fruits and vegetables for a snack.
Monterey Jack with Chipotle
Monterey Jack with Chipotle is a combination of Monterey Jack and White Cheddar with chipotle peppers (smoked jalapeño) added for an extra bite. It’s a versatile cheese, ideal for Mexican dishes and for adding to sandwiches or crackers.
Monterey Jack with Chives
Monterey Jack with chives is a semi-firm cheese with a delicate buttery flavor and a subtle yet defined flavor of a well-known type of onion — chives. Add this cheese to omelets or pizza for extra flavor.
Monterey Jack with Garden Vegetables
This is a semi-firm cheese loaded with carrots, onions, potatoes, cabbage, peas, leeks, tomatoes, celery, red bell peppers, garlic, and parsley. Our Monterey Jack with Garden Vegetables is a flavorful cheese that will liven up any dish. Try it with eggs or atop a toasted bagel or burger. It melts, slices and shreds well.
Marble Colby Jack
Our bi-colored Marble Colby Jack cheese is very versatile — it melts well and is great for shredding, sliced on sandwiches, burgers or in casseroles. It is a crowd-pleasing cheese for people of all ages and looks great on a cheese tray!
Our Farmer’s Cheese is an acidic, low-fat cheese that melts well. It makes a great addition to a burger or grilled cheese and has a creamy, smooth texture.
Brick is a cheese native to Wisconsin, originally created in Dodge County. Brick is a softer cheese with small holes and has a mildly sweet flavor. Being a softer cheese, it melts well and is very versatile. Try it as a substitute for mozzarella in your favorite dishes.
Our award-winning baby Swiss is naturally lower in fat as it is made with part-skim milk, and it is known for its distinctive “eyes.” It is dense, smooth and sweet with a mildly nutty background. It is a versatile cheese — it melts, slices and shreds easily. Try it shredded on top of a salad.
Classic Pecorino Romano is made with whole sheep’s milk. Our award-winning Romano, however, is made with part-skim cow’s milk and is naturally lower in fat. It is brined for 14 days (the rind must be removed before consuming), then cured for at least one year. Romano is a hard cheese with a crumbly texture and sharp flavor. It is an excellent choice for grating atop salads, steamed vegetables, pastas and soups. Try it as a substitute for parmesan or adding grated Romano to your bread crumb coating for meats, fish and vegetables.
Developed in Colby, Wisconsin, in the late 1800s, this native Wisconsin cheese is very mild with a lightly sweet flavor and slightly crumbly texture. Colby is similar in texture and flavor to mild cheddar. Young Colby has small mechanical holes and slices well. It is great on sandwiches, melts well and can be used in combination with other cheese. Try it as a substitute for mild cheddar.
Our award-winning gouda originated over 800 years ago in Holland. During production, the curds are pressed twice to form a semi-soft cheese. It is different than domestic-style gouda as it develops “eyes” while curing. It is a mild and buttery cheese with a slightly nutty flavor. It melts smoothly and is a great addition to mashed potatoes, casseroles, soups, sliced apples and sandwiches. It is also great for cheese platters. Be sure to remove the rind before consuming.
Wisconsin Dutch Kase is our Holland-Style Gouda, aged for a minimum of 18 months. This aging allows for a firmer texture and a fuller, more distinct flavor. It is a smooth, mature and buttery flavor that is produced during the curing stage. This cheese is very compatible with both red and white wines. Wisconsin Dutch Kase is a wonderful table cheese. It also grates, slices and cooks well, making it an excellent substitute in recipes when a more defined cheese flavor is required. Be sure to remove the rind before consuming.
Juustolepia is a specialty cheese native to Finland and is our second most popular cheese variety. It is a baked cheese, which attributes to its brown crusty surface. It can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks or frozen for longer periods of time. This cheese is not cultured, so it does not get better with age. It is best when warmed in the oven or cooked in a skillet until golden brown. Try it alone or as an appetizer warmed with honey, jam, mustard, or salsa atop crackers.
Juustelopia with Jalapeños
Our Jalapeño Juustelopia is the same great cheese as our classic Juustolepia with a nice added spice. It is also best when warmed in the oven or cooked in a skillet until golden brown. Try it alone or as an appetizer warmed with honey, jam, mustard or salsa atop crackers.
Fontina cheese is a slightly hard cheese with a creamy texture and a nutty flavor. It is a versatile cheese that can be paired with many common additions to a cheese platter, including apples, pears, hazelnuts and almonds. Fontina melts well, making it a great addition to a cheese dip.