The Eight Basic Steps in cheesemaking

Have you ever wondered why each cheese is different?   It gets down to the 8 basic steps in cheesemaking.

The Eight Basic Steps in cheesemaking

Have you ever wondered why each cheese is different? Each variety of cheese made throughout the world has its own definite composition of protein and fat and a moisture content that is regulated by the cheesemaker in the manufacturing process.

There are hundreds maybe thousands of cheese varieties manufactured throughout the world and many times that with different names.  This presents a rather confusing picture at first sight as there are differences in size, shape, colour, body, texture, aroma, and taste.  However, all cheeses, irrespective of origin, are basically closely related in the making.  They are all made using these eight steps, which can be listed when studying cheese manufacture, and these are summarised in the table below.

8 Basic steps in cheese manufacture

Step

Primary purpose(s)

(a) Selection and treatment of milk Ensure cheese of good quality displaying the desired characteristics and uniformity.
(b) Setting the milk Prepare milk for acid or rennet curd formation and the incorporation of suitable microbial cultures.
(c) Cutting or breaking the curd Speed up whey expulsion by increasing the surface area of the curd.  If cooking of the curd is carried out, further whey expulsion is achieved by contraction of the curd, develops texture and establishes moisture control.
(d) Draining Permanently separate the whey from the curds.
(e) Knitting or matting of curd Transform the curd into the characteristic texture and body of the cheese, give time for acid development and aid in moisture control.
(f) Salting Influence flavour, body, texture, and moisture.
(g) Pressing Shape the cheese and close up texture.
(h) Maturation Establish the proper environment for the growth of microorganisms and enzyme activity to transform fresh curd into a cheese of specific flavour, texture and appearance

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