When I was a kid, I often wondered how they make cheese from milk.
Later, when I grew up and learned more about food, I realized how different cheeses are made.
If you are also interested in knowing more about the cheesemaking process, do read the following guide.
In this guide, I have tried to share as many details as possible about different cheese varieties and their making process.
So, let’s begin with the guide!
How Is Cheese Made?
When you think about a particular type of cheese, the first thing that pops up in your mind is its making process.
And then follow some more questions like –
- How does milk transform into a solid substance like cheese?
- What goes into it?
- And finally, how are the different cheeses made basically?
I will surely try to answer these questions in the following guide.
But before that, here’s the basic principle that helps us produce delicious cheese from milk.
Cheese is made using the starter culture and curdling agent like rennet.
Both these ingredients are essential in producing most of the cheeses in the world.
You can also make it without rennet, but you will still need to use some curdling ingredient to coagulate the milk solids.
If you don’t know much about the rennet, you can find more information here.
Here are some of the famous cheeses that do not require rennet –
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
Alright now, let’s take a look at the methods involved in different varieties of cheeses.
This Is How Different Cheese Are Made
Note – In the following list, I have only mentioned the traditional cheeses and their making process.
So, I hope it helps you understand how they are made in the professional world.
1. Fresh Cheese
It is one of the most common types of cheeses in the world.
You can also make it at home using full-fat milk and curdling ingredients like Vinegar, Lemon Juice, etc.
And as I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to use rennet while preparing it at home.
Step by step process of making Cottage Cheese or Fresh Cheese –
- Heat the milk.
- Switch off the flame as soon as it comes to a boil.
- Add some salt and lemon juice to it and mix well.
- Once you see the formation of curd-like chunks, pour it into a colander lined with cheesecloth.
- Strain all the water and use the Cottage Cheese for your recipes.
You can also add salt in the final stage, i.e., after removing it from the cheesecloth.
There are many ways you can make this type of cheese at home, though the steps remain pretty much the same in various methods.
Here’s the video presentation of this process –
As you know, Mozzarella is well-known for its use in many popular dishes like Pizza, Pasta, and Salads.
It is also one of the highly consumed cheeses in the world.
But how does Mozzarella gets prepared in the factories?
Let’s find out below.
Step by step process of making Mozzarella –
Curd Separation: In the initial stage, the curd is separated using the rennet.
Curd Cutting: As the curd sets firmly, it needs to be cut down into cubes or squares.
Reheating: The cheesemakers then reheat the cubes in the same whey water for some time.
Stretching and Shaping: For Mozzarella cheese, you need to pull and shape it in a particular way.
Cooling: In this step, the makers store the cheese at low temperatures.
And that’s how Mozzarella is made traditionally.
Of course, there many more steps involved in this process, but the above steps will give you a general idea of how Mozzarella cheese is made.
If you want to see the detailed process, have a look at the following video.
Originated in Somerset, the Cheddar has now become one of the most sought after cheeses outside Europe.
It comes under the category of hard cheeses and is often used as a topping for various dishes.
Did you know?
Cheddar is the most popular cheese in the UK and the second most popular in the US after Mozzarella cheese.
Now, let’s quickly have a look at its making process.
Step by step process –
Curd Separation: In the first step, the curds are separated using the rennet.
Cheddaring Process: Once you get the solid curd, the cheddaring process begins.
This process is nothing but the kneading of curd.
The kneading step gives it a perfect taste and texture.
Ripening: The final step involves the maturation of cheese.
Here, the makers store the end product at a controlled temperature for a prolonged period.
Similar to other cheeses, this step considerably helps in producing the distinct taste and flavors of the Cheddar cheese.
Some cheesemakers also smoke it for more earthy and rustic flavors.
Do check out the following video to know more about the cheesemaking process.
Brie comes from the historical Brie region in France.
It is a soft cheese, which appears pale yellow in color and is often covered with white mold.
The production process of this variety is slightly different from other cheeses.
So, let’s quickly learn more about it.
Step by step process of making Brie –
Curd Separation: The Brie cheesemaking process also requires the rennet for curd separation.
In this step, the raw milk with rennet needs to be heated at 37-degree temperature.
Curd Cutting: Once the curd is set, it gets cut into large cubes.
Molding: Later, the cheesemakers carefully transfer it to the molds.
These molds help in removing excess whey water from the curds.
It takes about 24 hours for the completion of this process.
On the next day, the cheese gets salted.
Ripening: Brie requires at least 4-5 weeks of the maturation period.
During this period, the Geotrichum and Peniclilum fungus help in forming the white-colored rind around the matured cheese.
You can watch its detailed process in the following video.
Originated in Italy, Parmigiano is one of the most expensive cheeses in the world.
The reason why it’s so expensive is the time and processes involved in the making of this cheese.
For authentic Parmigiano cheese, you also require a specific type of bacteria that is only found in the same region.
It is a hard cheese and is prepared from cow milk.
The cheesemaking process of Parmesan is quite similar to other cheeses like Gouda.
Step by step process of making Parmesan Cheese –
Starter Culture: Firstly, the cheesemakers add the starter culture to the milk, as it helps in activating the bacterial process in the milk.
Curd Separation: Then, the rennet gets added to the milk to begin the curdling process.
It takes about 10-12 minutes to separate the whey liquid from milk solids.
Curd Cutting: Once the curdled milk is set, the cheesemakers cut it into many parts.
Reheating: As the cutting process gets over, the curd and whey are reheated.
This step helps in removing the unwanted bacterias from the curd, and it also makes the curd a little more firm.
Molding: In this step, the cheese gets carefully placed into molds with the help of linen cloths.
The molding process further helps in removing the excess whey from the separated curds.
Brining: After 4 days, the cheese wheels are placed into a brine tank.
The cheesemakers turn these wheels at specific intervals so that the brine seeps into them evenly.
The brining process can take up to 19 days, which ultimately aids in the formation of the rind.
Ripening: With traditional methods, it takes almost a year or so for the completion of the ripening process.
The maturation process takes place in a controlled environment.
Apparently, the average maturation period for Parmesan is two years.
You may check out the following video to know more about its making process in detail.
Feta comes from Greece.
It depicts crumbly and grainy texture as compared to the silky smooth texture of most of the well-known cheeses.
Traditionally, it is made using Sheep milk.
You can also make it using a mixture of Sheep milk and Goat milk.
And you can make it at home as well if you have the required cultures and rennet available to you.
Step by step process of making Feta Cheese –
Starter Culture: Nowadays, most cheesemakers use pasteurized milk.
Hence, the use of starter culture is inevitable to introduce helpful bacteria to the milk.
Curd Separation: Once the milk’s temperature comes down to somewhere around 35 degrees, the rennet is added.
As you know, the rennet helps in separating the whey water from milk solids.
Curd Cutting: The set milk is then cut into several parts.
Molding: In the next step, the cheesemakers place the coagulated milk solids in the molds.
Salting: As the curd turns firm, the dry-salting process takes place for several days.
Brining and Ripening: Once the initial salting stage gets completed, the cheesemakers move the blocks to brine.
This process happens at room temperature for a few more weeks.
Later, it gets transferred to a controlled environment, where it matures further for at least two months period.
If you are interested in knowing the more detailed process, watch the following video.
Burrata is an Italian cheese, and it is made using cream and Mozzarella cheese.
It is more like a stuffed cheese that contains a creamy texture inside and a thick covering on the outer shell.
Let’s learn more about its making process in the following section.
Step by step process of making Burrata Cheese –
Starter Culture: Like most of the cheesemaking, the starter culture is added to the milk.
Curd Separation: In the next step, the rennet gets introduced to the milk.
Curd Cutting: When the milk starts to curdle, the cheesemakers cut the cheese using the spoon.
This process helps in draining off the excess whey.
Stretching: Just like Mozzarella, the stretching process takes place after removing the water from milk solids.
The cheesemakers add hot water to the cheese and begin the stretching process to make it smooth and elastic.
Once it develops enough elasticity, the makers prepare small pouches of the cheese.
Stuffing: These small pouches are used to stuff the creamy mixture made up of Cream and Mozzarella.
Shaping: In this step, the cheeseballs get sealed and tied to form the pouch shape.
Note – Burrata is often served fresh.
Therefore, it doesn’t require any aging process.
You can check out the video below for a detailed presentation.
Provolone is a semi-hard cheese, and it comes from Italy as well.
Locally, it is produced in different shapes like Pear, Sausage, and Cones.
As for the taste, you get to taste two different varieties of this cheese.
The aged cheese made from Goat’s enzymes tastes a bit sharp as compared to other varieties.
Some of its varieties are also smoked for added flavors and taste.
Take a look at the following steps to know more about Provolone’s making process.
Step by step process of making Provolone Cheese –
Starter Culture: The cheesemakers add the starter culture to 100% cow’s milk.
Curd Separation: In the next step, the rennet is added.
The rennet coagulates the milk and forms milk solids.
Curd Cutting: The automated tools cut the set curds using strings.
Shaping & Salting: Then, the curd is shaped into large squares.
In the later stage, the cheesemakers knead the curds into a large roll shape.
This roll is then moved to a tank filled with warm salted water.
Once the salting is done, the cheese rolls are hung in a temperature-controlled room for drying.
Ripening: Provolone requires at least 4 months of the aging period.
In case you want to make it at home, here’s a detailed presentation –
Camembert is another well-known cheese from France.
It is prepared using cow milk, and it tastes quite soft and creamy.
It was invented in the late 18th century, and its making process is also similar to Brie cheese.
Now, let’s quickly take a look at how Camembert cheese is made.
Step by step process of making Camembert Cheese –
Starter Culture: This cheesemaking process requires a distinct variety of bacteria.
And it is known as Mesophilic bacteria.
Curd Separation: In this step, the rennet is added to the milk.
Curd Cutting: As the curd sets firmly, the cheesemaker cuts the curds for a few minutes.
Molding: For the molding step, the cheesemakers remove the curds in relatively small-sized molds.
The curds get removed in batches, i.e., 5 times every hour.
This slow process helps in setting the curds in the molds.
In the later stage, the cheese blocks are salted and kept in an air-controlled room for 24 hours.
Ripening: The aging process takes about 4-5 weeks before it’s available for sale.
This period allows the fungus to develop on the cheese surface, which is also responsible for the development of exceptional taste and flavors.
The color of the cheese also turns brown when it ages for a longer duration.
If you want to know more about this process, check out the following video.
10. Gouda Cheese
Gouda Cheese is a specialty of the Netherland.
Similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, it is prepared in the specific region of Holland.
The name of this cheese derives from the city of Gouda.
For many centuries, the locals used to come to this place to trade their homemade cheeses.
Traditionally, Gouda cheese is made using raw milk, but the industries only use pasteurized milk for its production.
Now, let’s take a look at the steps required to produce this cheese in the factories.
Step by step process of making Gouda Cheese –
Starter Culture: The first step requires the starter culture.
It helps in making the milk sour.
Curd Separation: The rennet is added in the next step, and it takes about 30 minutes to curdle the milk completely.
Curd Cutting: As soon as the curd forms a firm texture, the cheesemakers slowly cut it using mechanical tools.
This process helps in separating the whey from curds.
Meanwhile, the mixing process continues until the temperature of fresh curd comes down to 37 degrees or so.
Curd Washing: In this step, the curd gets washed by warm water, which helps in reducing the sour taste of the end product.
Molding: Later, the curd blocks are placed into the wooden molds.
The cheesemakers then press the cheese for at least 2 hours on each side.
Brining: In this step, the cheese blocks are transferred to a brine tank.
This natural way of the brining process allows the makers to incorporate salt into the cheese.
It stays in the tank for up to 5 days.
Once the brining process gets over, it moves to the racks for drying.
The drying process takes another day, which helps in eliminating the moisture content.
Ripening: The Gouda Cheese requires at least 28 days for the ripening process.
However, most of the regional cheese is aged for more than 2 years.
You can watch the whole cheesemaking process below.
11. Swiss Cheese
Swiss Cheese, as the name says, originated from the region around Emmental, Switzerland.
In the US, it is made using pasteurized milk as well as part-skim milk.
However, if you look at the traditional ways, the raw milk gets preference over other types of milk.
Swiss Cheese is commonly identified by the eyes (vacuum spaces) in the cheese.
Step by step process of making Swiss Cheese –
Starter Culture: Swiss Cheese also requires specific types of bacteria to get its distinct flavor and taste.
Therefore, the cheesemakers introduce the desired culture to the milk for the initiation of the curdling process.
Curd Separation: In this step, the rennet is added to the milk, which helps in the coagulation process.
Curd Cutting: Once the milk solids start to form, the industrialized tools cut the curds into small particles.
Reheating: The cheesemakers reheat the curdled milk at more than 50 degrees.
Molding: For the molding process, the curd gets transferred to the large-sized molds.
The cheese is then pressed using hydraulic systems for up to 12 hours.
This process allows them to remove excess whey liquid from the cheese.
Brining: In the next step, it moves to the fermentation cellar and remains there for at least 8 weeks.
Ripening: For the final stage, the cheesemakers transfer it to the storage cellar.
Here, the maturation process takes place for another two months.
And that’s how they make traditional Swiss cheese in the factories.
Learn more about this process in the video below.
12. Blue Cheese (Gorgonzola)
Gorgonzola is a type of Blue Cheese, and it comes from the region of Gorgonzola, Milan.
The best way to identify it is by looking at the blue-green colored veins.
As for the consistency, it highly depends on the maturation period.
When the manufacturers store the cheese for more than three months, it turns into a solid hard consistency.
This type of cheese also acquires a sharp taste and pungent smell due to the aging process.
You can read the following section to find more details on the cheesemaking process.
Step by step process of making Gorgonzola –
Starter Culture & Curd Separation: The cheese is made using unpasteurized unskimmed cow’s milk.
And the cheesemakers add the Penicillium Roqueforti bacteria to the milk.
Along with this, other enzymes and rennet get introduced to it.
Curd Cutting: Once the milk turns into the curds, the industrialized tools cut them into several parts.
Molding: The separated curds then get transferred into the molds.
The process of molding the curds resembles the Camembert molding process.
The curds are layered systematically in the molds to remove excess whey from the blocks.
This process takes place in the first 24 hours of curd separation.
Salting: As the curds turn more firm in texture, the salting process takes place using the conveyor belt.
After five days, the cheese blocks are moved to the cold rooms.
Here, the blocks are punctured with the tools.
This unique step allows Oxygen to enter inside the cheese, which eventually helps in the bacterial activity.
And the veins we get to see in the end are nothing but the results of this process.
Ripening: Gorgonzola cheese takes at least 2 months to acquire its smooth consistency.
On the other hand, the 3-months aged cheese turns hard due to the evaporation of moisture.
Its veins also start to look green, and it develops a distinct taste and smell.
Do watch the following video to understand its interesting making process in detail.
Processed Cheese is an entirely different branch of the cheesemaking process.
And if you ask any real cheesemaker, you will realize it’s not the real deal.
This type of cheese comes from the factories where they prepare cheese by adding cheese and other elements present in the milk.
You can even check out the ingredients added to such cheese on their packages.
So yes, it doesn’t come close to the real cheese, but it’s still one of the most consumed cheeses in the world today.
You can read this informative article on the processed cheese for more information.
Over To You
When I started exploring this topic, I didn’t know I’d come across so many ways of the cheesemaking process.
It really blows your mind when you learn about the intricate and advanced steps involved in the entire production phase.
And I hope you have also learned a thing or two about how different cheeses are made in the factories.
So, what’s your favorite type of cheeses?
And which cheesemaking technique do you like the most?
Let me know in the comments section below.
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