1 All cheesemaking begins with the milk. The milk is poured into a container or vat, where it is gently warmed before the introduction of cultures.
2. A starter culture of lactic bacteria is normally added to encourage the fermentation of the milk.
3. A milk-clotting enzyme called rennet is gently stirred into the milk. The milk soon clots to form a custard-like mass known as curd.
4. The curd is then cut into small pieces to begin the process of separating the liquid whey from the solid curd.
5. The curds and whey may be stirred or heated to varying degrees to encourage the separation.
6. The curds are allowed to settle and the whey is drained off. The curds may then be broken or stacked to encourage more drainage.
7. The curd is then broken into smaller pieces using a peg mill. Salt is often added at this stage.
8. The milled curd is placed in moulds to give the cheese its shape.
9. The cheeses in the moulds are put into a press, sometimes for up to three days. Pressing pushes the curd pieces together to form a smooth cheese and removes the last of the whey.
10. After pressing, the cheese may be wrapped in cloth to protect the rind and help keep its shape. A cloth rind will allow the cheese to breathe.
11. The young cheese is moved to the store to mature where the surroundings are kept cool and humid.