history

Pasteurization

The raw milk is loaded into the pasteurizer and heated to 145 degrees. It is held at that temperature for 30 minutes and then cooled. The temperature and duration is recorded on the "recording thermometer" shown on the wall. Dairy inspectors will review the records monthly to ensure compliance.

Post-pasteurization

The temperature of the milk is quickly lowered to between 83 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the cheese being made. The cheese producing enzymes and rennet are added, then mixed in.

Hours Later...

The cheese is cultured and ready to dip when the cheese "pulls away" from the sides of the pasteurizer. The whey has separated from the curd and is the liquid seen nearest the edge. Note the thin layer of cream floating on top of the whey. This cream has risen before the milk could become cheese.

Dipping Tools

This is the collection of cheese dipping tools. The large, solid ladle is used to collect whey off of the curd as pockets develop during the dipping process. Smaller ladles are used to fill various sized molds (similar to plastic cups with holes in them.) The slotted skimmers are handy for dipping the curd and allowing the whey to drain back into the tank. This helps produce a drier chevre that drains more quickly.

Loading the cheesecloths

The cheese is dipped into the cheesecloths to further drain and solidify. The bags of fresh chevre are then stacked to drain on a specially designed drain table.

Drain Table

This is the collection of cheese dipping tools. The large, solid ladle is used to collect whey off of the curd as pockets develop during the dipping process. Smaller ladles are used to fill various sized molds (similar to plastic cups with holes in them.) The slotted skimmers are handy for dipping the curd and allowing the whey to drain back into the tank. This helps produce a drier chevre that drains more quickly.

Now to wait...

These will drain and produce the nearly completed cheese in approximately 24 hours. The whey is collected and fed back to the goats. Doing this has boosted the milk production by at least 25% on Heart Song Farm. Many farms collect the whey and feed it as a supplement to pigs. Fabulous pork comes from whey fed pigs, another benefit to a sustainable method of agriculture.

Josh Tilton freelance Graphic/Web design.