Day in the life of a boutique cheesemaker

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Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:03 am
Location: Goulburn Valley Nth Victoria

Day in the life of a boutique cheesemaker

Postby Huxter » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:54 am

My part-time ,every now and then , job at the cheesery seems to have become almost full-time ,not what I wanted but fantastic work in an area I love .Demand for the cheeses has increased hugely after the white mold brie won a gold medal at the Brisbane Royal and Sydney Dairy Specialist Shows .

This cheesery is on a working dairy farm .The cows are milked from 5 am onwards by a milking staff .I arrive at 9am to meet the owner/cheesemaker and we pump the required amount of milk over to the making room .I then start the constant flow pasteuriser ,a magnificent piece of English technology that uses heat exchange technology to bring the milk to the required temp for pasteurising purposes then reduces it to the temp required for cheesmaking that day by running it through cold water baffles --yesterday was 39.1 C constantly .

I then clean all the hoops required ,about 420 if making brie ,put them throught the industrial dish washer ,then into the sanitiser vat ,then onto 7 SS trays with plastic drain mats ,and put them on the drain table .This is connected to a large hose so it can be pumped away to be fed to Berkshire pigs ,as well as any discarded or broken cheese ,or anything that hits the ground .

The milk is pumped into 7 large plastic tubs ,ready to have the pH tested and the starter cultures and rennet added by my boss who has been mixing those in the adjacent work room .where we also wax cheese ,cut and pack and weigh and label --everything is done by hand .

Once he is satisfied with the pH and temps ,we add the cultures ,then after the correct time ,the rennnet .The curd is cut by hand ,then one by one ,the tubs are emptied using a hydraulic lifter onto the hoops which have a perspex seperator fitted ,so the curd gently rolls into the hops --minimal curd disturbance .As each is filled it is pushed back so the next rack comes under the lifter and the next tub poured .

Once pouring is done ,we have our first break ,after 4 hours ! Then constant cleaning ,more cleaning ,then some more cleaning !!!!

We often wax blues or crumblies in the afternoon ,or wrap bries ready for markets ,shops or restaurants .Sometimes if having made fetta ,we cut and fill tubs and top with brine .I finish at about 4 /4;30 .

Next day ,all the hoops come off if the boss is satisfied ,or they get left to sit some more .In that case we work in the cutting room all day and leave the hoops to set till afternoon .I then remove all the hoops and wash them by hand ready to use again The cheeses are then brined in another large tub ,timed perfectly ,removed and drained ,placed on racks and into a frame and wheeled into the humidity room for 7-10 days to grow the mold .Wwhen satisfied ,the boss and I wrap them ,label them and move them to one of the storage cooler swhere they are kept for a few weeks before being sold at maturity with 4 weeks shelf life --perfect to eat ,all runny and gooey !!!

Some days we make a stilton-style blue or an English Crumbly ,or maybe fetta all day ,or sometimes a very "wild "French-style blue .But brie in 3 sizes is the big seller .

So we make 3 days a week , I work 4-5 days a week ,and sometimes Sunday , and I'm eating to much cheese !!

Brie ,leek and pumpkin quiche last night for tea --delish so I'll post the recipe in the suitable area .

Cheers from a fatter Paul

Remember -- fetta makes you fatter
The world needs you to grow your own food!!

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Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:23 am
Location: Alice, West of Casino, NSW

Re: Day in the life of a boutique cheesemaker

Postby minnie » Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:09 am

Hi Paul,

Thank you, this post was so interesting... I was picturing it...

Please yes with the recipe, the minute you said it my mouth watered... ;)

Now watch that cholestrol, too much cheese plays havoc with it. :o

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