Cheese Making

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Definition of Cheese
Cheese is defined as a ripened or non-ripened milk product which is obtained by coagulation of milk protein with help of bacteria or enzyme.

Manufacturing of Cheese
Cheese making is a linear process, it involves many factors. Numerous varieties of cheese exist because ending the simple preparation process at different points can produce different cheeses, as can varying additives or procedures. Cheese making has long been considered a delicate process. The cheese making process steps are as follows:
Preparing the Milk- The milk is used either fresh or one day before. The milk is pasteurized and heated above 320C, to kill the bacteria present in the milk. The lactic acid/rennet (an enzyme) is added into milk which causes coagulation of milk protein into curd/cheese.
Separating the Curd from the Whey- Once the milk is curdled, the curds are cut both vertically & horizontally with knives. To make soft cheese, the curds are cut both ways using a large pieces or chunks. While hard cheeses are cut into tiny chunks, for e.g. for making cheddar cheese, the space between the knives is about one twentieth of an inch or half cm. after cutting, the curds may be heated to hasten the separation. When separation is completed, the whey is drained.
Pressing the Curd- The whey is separated as per the making of cheese for e.g. if soft cheese is manufactured, it must contain moisture, soft cheese such as cottage cheese are not aged. While making hard cheese, the whey must be separate out completely. Then the curd is molded/ put into molds. Here, they are pressed to give proper shape & size.
Aging the Cheese- At this stage the cheese may be inoculated (vaccinated) with a flavoring mold, bathed in brine, or wrapped in muslin cloth or hay before being deposited in a place of the proper temperature and humidity to age. Some cheeses are aged for a month, some for up to several years. Aging sharpens the flavor of cheese. For e.g. cheddar aged more than two years.
Wrapping Natural Cheese- Some cheeses may develop a rind naturally, as their surfaces dry. Other rinds may form from the growth of bacteria that has been sprayed on the surfaces of the cheese. Still other cheeses are washed, and this process encourages bacterial growth. In place of or in addition to rinds, cheeses can be sealed in a cloth or wax. Large quantities of cheese are packaged for sale in distant countries.
Making & Wrapping Processed Cheese- Cheeses such as emmental (commonly called swiss), gruyere (similar to swiss), and cheddar are cut up and very finely ground. After this, powder has been mixed with water to form a paste, other ingredients such as salt, fillers, emulsifiers, preservatives and flavorings are added. While still warm & soft, the cheese paste is extruded into long ribbons that are sliced. The small sheets of cheese are then put onto a plastic or foil sheet and wrapped by a machine.
Classification of Cheese
Cheese can be categorized under various segments such as
  • Soft Cheese
  • Semi-Hard Cheese
  • Hard Cheese
  • Blue Vein Cheese
  • Non-Ripped Cheese

 

Or
  • Soft Cheese
  • Bloomy Rind Cheese
  • Washed Rind Cheese
  • Pressed Uncooked Cheese
  • Pressed Cooked Cheese
  • Blue Mould / Vein Cheese
  • Natural Cheese
  • Processed Cheese

 

Soft Cheese– This type of cheese is creamy and smooth. They are based on cow’s milk, skimmed or un-skimmed and sometimes enriched with cream. They are neither fermented nor natural.
Bloomy Rind Cheese- These cheese are neither pressed nor cooked. They are salted.
Washed Rind Cheese- They are raw or pasteurized milk cheese that comes from the north of France. The maturation period lasts from two to six months. Then cheese are washed in slightly salted brine. These cheese are rather spicy and full of aroma. They can smell yeasty or almost meaty.
Pressed Uncooked Cheese- The raw milk is heated at 360C and coagulated at a slightly lower temperature. The curds are fragmented into tiny particles, as the size of rice, grains and pressed through muslin cloths to extract the whey. The maturation takes two to three months. The rind is brushed to obtained patina (layer) and prevent humidity.
Pressed Cooked Cheese- Hard pressed, cooked cheese are semi-hard, pressed cooked cheese. These cheeses are made by using the evening’s milk, left to stand overnight and skimmed, mixed with that the next morning. Maturation takes place in a cool, humid cellar and till last four to ten months, during which the cheese is washed in a low salted brine & scraped.
Blue Mold Cheese- The blue mold is a strain of penicillium that is added to the milk before the rennet is added either in liquid or powder form. Mostly blue cheese are normally wrapped in foil to prevent them from drying out. They are neither pressed nor cooked. They are usually made from cow’s milk.
Natural Rind Cheese- These are mainly goat’s and sheep’s cheese. When young, they have a slightly wrinkled, cream colored rind. In time they dry out, the wrinkles become more pronounced and flavor increases. Along with the growth of bluish gray mold. Their taste is fresh almost fruity. To mature, these cheeses must be kept dry.
Processed Cheese- These are the results of melting one or more pressed, cooked or uncooked cheeses and adding milk, cream, butter and sometimes flavoring agents.
Some Famous Cheese
Soft Cheese
        Name                                                         Country
  • Camembert                                            France
  • Brie                                                          France
  • Bel Paese                                                Italy
  • Limburger                                               Belgium
  • Feta                                                         Greece

 

Semi-Hard Cheese
 
        Name                                                          Country
  • Brick                                                          USA
  • Ervy                                                           Holland
  • Primost                                                     Norway
  • Munster                                                    France
  • Mozzarella                                                Italy

 

Hard Cheese
        Name                                                            Country
  • Parmesan                                                   Italy
  • Cheddar                                                      England
  • Gouda                                                         Holland
  • Gruyere                                                      Switzerland
  • Edam                                                           Holland

 

Blue Vein Cheese
        Name                                                             Country
  • Gorgonzolla                                                 Italy
  • Roquefort                                                    France
  • Stilton                                                           England
  • Blue Blue                                                      France
  • Gammelost                                                  Norway

 

Non-Ripened Cheese
        Name                                                              Country
  • Cream                                                            USA
  • Ricotta                                                           Italy
  • Cottage cheese                                            Holland
  • Quesco Blanco                                             South America
  • Montery Jack                                                USA

 

Storage of Cheese

 

Cheese should always be eaten in good condition and it should always be fresh. Soft cheese should be refrigerated since it will get spoiled quickly whereas hard cheese can be stored at low temperature. It would be best if the unused cheese is kept in its original wrapper or it may be wrapped with a damp cloth to avoid drying out. Cheese is usually stored at 100C to 120C.

 

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