In anticipation of our Raclette of the Ozarks we'll take you behind the scenes of the Grison Dairy & Creamery. We are following cheese maker Adrian while he is making raclette cheese. From the cow to the wheel.
The cows are milked twice a day. They line up to get their turn. The udder is checked, cleaned and attached to the milking machine.
After the milking process 200 gallons of milk are pumped out of the milk tank into a vat.
The unpasteurized milk is than heated to 90F.
Adrian, the cheese maker is measuring cultures and rennet and adding them to the milk.
The cultures and enzymes set the cheese making in motion.
Once the rennet is added, the milk will thicken and turn into curd and whey. The curds are then cut and stirred, removing some whey and then adding water.
The curds are then scooped into cheese forms.
The cheeses are pressed and turned.
During pressing the lactose is removed through acidification. It was deluded threw the washing of the curds. Some of the water is removed allowing the cheese to be at the proper moisture.
Now the cheese wheels are getting a brine bath. The brine is a salt water solution that is absorbed from the cheese, salt giving it flavor. The brine is colder than the cheese, cooling the cheese helps keep the wheels in shape.
At last the wheels are ready for the aging process. They are placed on wooden planks. The type of wood is another factor that influences the taste.
At first every day, later every other day, the cheese wheels are washed with brine from the brine bath. The salt in the brine removes the liquid in the outer part of the wheel, eventually forming a rind.
After each wash the cheese is also turned. After a couple of weeks we can see that the rind is forming.
Now we wait!