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Combine fermenters and salt to transform milk into cheese
Cheese demonstrates the different possibilities that milk can take. There are hundreds of recognized cheese recipes worldwide, but the main ingredients remain the same: milk, fermenters, salt, and time. Cheese manufacturers combine these elements to craft unique flavors, aromas, and textures. Advanced cheesemaking equipment provides better control over these elements to create ever more diverse cheeseboards.
Ferment milk with cultures that can handle the processing temperature
During fermentation, bacteria consume the lactose content in milk and convert it into lactic acid. This process of acidification reacts with the casein, causing it to curdle.
The right starter culture depends on the type of cheese you want to produce. A mesophilic culture is best suited for making a cheese that forms in moderate heating (between 30°C and 39°C), such as gouda or cheddar. Hard cheeses like parmesan and challerhocker require thermophilic bacteria that can withstand temperatures up to 55°C.
Substitute animal-derived protease with lab-grown rennet
Much of the characteristic texture of cheese can be traced back to the curdling process. Traditional cheese makers added biological rennin taken from nursing ruminants to break down the protein in acidified milk.
Vegetarian rennet is manufactured by genetically modifying bacteria to cause them to produce a protease equivalent to that found in young mammals. The rennet inactivates the casein leading the milk to coagulate and whey to drain out.
Cut the curdles to increase their surface area
Cutting technology is critical to cheese production. After solidifying, the milk is cut into smaller curdles to let out more whey. Cheesemaking equipment slices the curds down in different directions, increasing their surface area with each cut.
The smaller the pieces, the more whey they lose, so harder cheeses are cut down more finely. Softer cheeses retain more moisture, and the coagulant is kept in larger pieces.
Pass the curds through whey treatment to remove unwanted protein
Every cheese style has its processing method. A pecorino will be cooked and stirred to release as much water content. A mild cheese like fontina is washed repeatedly to move out moisture.
But whatever the technique, the curd is finally subjected to whey treatment to drain the protein. Cheesemaking equipment like presses and compactors force the liquid to ooze out. The byproduct is collected and processed into whey protein for separate applications.
Select cheesemaking equipment for salting according to the product consistency
Many cheese recipes include herbs and spices, such as dried mint in halloumi or habañero chilies in pepper jack. All cheese formulas, however, contain salt.
Salt is not a taste-enhancer as much as a preserving agent, halting fermentation. In hard cheeses, salt is sprayed onto the mix during milling. The curdles are further reduced before being compacted into ripening molds.
In the case of fresh cheeses, salting is done in a brine system. The curdles are placed in the saline solution containing calcium chloride, non-iodized salts, and vinegar to soak in the minerals. The processing equipment required to produce cheese usually remains the same, even if the type of cheese you want to make will be different. Typically the equipment is stainless steel and consists of a cheese press, cheese vats, tanks, homogenizers, heat exchangers and mixers.