Cheddar Cheese Manufacturing

Cheddar Cheese Manufacturing

Every piece of cheddar begins with raw cow's milk, which is generally made using either whole or low fat milk, which must ripen to allow the lactic acid to create a more acidic solution that is necessary for mixture and the production of cheese curds. While each farm has their unique manufacturing process that creates a variety of mild cheddar tastes, there are common procedures that are followed from the dairy farm of Wisconsin all the way to traditional farmers in the United Kingdom.

Most processes utilize the rennet enzyme to help coagulate milk protein into curd - only a few ounces of rennet are needed to achieve the necessary acidity. After adding rennet, the raw mixture congeals after about an hour for the curd to set and then sliced into portions. Once the curd is separated, it is generally cooked at around 100 degrees for under an hour until it achieves the ideal PH level, when the whey is separated and the cheddaring process can begin.

The curds are mixed together in a process known as "stacking" and then milled. After the milling process, mild cheddar is generally salted at around 1 ounce of salt per 100 ounces of cheese, although this can vary depending on the recipe. After salting, the curds are stacked and then prepared for aging, which can last from several months up to a year to produce fine cheddar. Some farmers will let their cheddar age for over a year to get the particular flavor and texture that they are looking for. The finest artisan cheddar cheeses can be traced to their origin, and dairy farmers often create traditional recipes that date back generations.