Oddly enough, but the cheese that we all love to eat can be compared to a person. Just like a person, cheese is born, ripens, gets old and dies
By the way, like people, there is a hierarchy among cheeses: patriarchs, aristocrats and commoners.
The technology for making hard cheese has hardly changed over the centuries.
In small and medium-sized dairies, where tradition is respected, cheese is still made by hand. At large enterprises, cheese production processes are mechanized and automated, and the equipment is equipped with software control.
The starting ingredient for making any hard cheese is milk. The technology for making different varieties of hard cheese from milk has a lot in common, so before you start cooking cheese, you need to study the general provisions, and then apply various recipes.
1. Milk pasteurization. As you know, there are three modes of pasteurization:
- long-term, when milk should be heated to 65 ° C and kept for 30 minutes;
- short-term – milk is heated to 75 ° C and kept for 20 minutes;
- instant, when milk is heated to 90 ° C and does not stand.
According to various recipes, hard cheese can be cooked using pasteurized milk, fresh milk, or steam, that is, immediately after milking.
Depending on what kind of milk you use in cheese making, cheese acquires its own special characteristics and taste.
2. Clot formation. After you add the milk-clotting enzyme or ferment to the milk, a gel forms.
Depending on the temperature at which the sourdough or enzyme was added to the milk, the result of milk coagulation (clotting) will be different.
Depending on the cheese recipe, the resulting coagulum is subjected to various types of processing in order to separate the whey, cut, heated, and stirred. This process is called syneresis.
3. Cutting the bunch. The coagulum is ready to be cut after a period of 25 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the cheese recipe.
To determine the exact time for cutting the clot, a clean finger test is performed. This is the traditional method used by cheese makers.
The point of the clean finger test is to dip a finger, dipstick (spatula) or thermometer into the top layer of the clot and lift it, as a result of which the clot disintegrates, forming a fracture line.
A clean rift with non-blurring edges and green whey at its base indicates that the clot can be sliced.
A soft, irregular fracture line with white whey indicates a weak curd strength. From the sides of the fracture, one can judge the quality of the clot: the granular structure indicates that the clot is too dense.
4. Obtaining cheese mass. As a result of the processes carried out with cheese, a cheese mass is obtained. In fact, this is a ready-made cheese, into which you can add various spices, salt, herbs, nuts, etc. at this stage. The cheese mass is either weighed out or pressed.
5. Pressing and self-pressing of cheese. At the stage of pressing and self-pressing, the cheese is laid out in special molds and pressed.
You can buy molds for cheese in the online store with delivery.
Pressing can take place in several stages and can be different in pressure.
6. Maturation of cheese. At this stage, the cheese should be transferred to a cellar, or some other special maturation room, where it will need to be carefully looked after.
If you prepare brine cheese, then it can ripen and be stored in brine later.
In the process of ripening, the cheese must be turned over, sometimes washed, cleaned with a brush. Depending on what kind of cheese is made, you can even smoke it, wipe it with alcohol, sprinkle it with spices and perform other manipulations.
It is important that a certain level of humidity and temperature is maintained in the room throughout the entire maturation process, since the final result depends on this.