Did you know that one milking session takes 6 hours? Only then have all the cows been milked. This means we are milking for 12 hours a day. The milk is stored in milk tanks. We have two, one holds 15.000 litres and the other 35.000 litres milk. We use all our milk to produce our own cheese. An underground pipeline is used to pump the milk from the milk tanks to the cheese dairy.
And then …
We start with more than 5.000 litres of milk in the curd-maker. The whole process takes place in this closed bin. We add ingredients such as starter culture and rennet causing the milk to crumble. After a while you can separate the solid part (the curd) from the liquid (the whey). This is happens in the drainage bin. Next the curd is cut into blocks and placed into round barrels.
The Cheese takes Shape
Dependent on the size of the cheese, it now goes for 2 to 6 hours under a press. After the cheese has been sufficiently pressed and turned, it will be further shaped in a barrel. The process continues with a few days in a brine bath. The salt in the bath is absorbed by the cheese giving it more taste. Now the cheese gets its shiny exterior (this is a plastic coating, one you cannot eat) and is allowed to ripen further in the warehouse at the cooperative.
Making dairy products started as a hobby for Farmer Rianne, one that just got a little out of hand. It was such a success, that we decided it was a worthy addition to our assortment. We make dairy products by heating the milk and cooling it down. We then have a half-product that offers us a choice of preparation methods leading to different end-products. For yoghurt we add a starter culture and leave for 22 hours, allowing the mixture to sour and thicken. After a quick stir the yoghurt can be bottled. If we want buttermilk we use another starter culture. After 22 hours we can start the churning (sloshing) process, separating the liquid (the buttermilk) from the fresh butter. This unsalted butter is also available in our farm shop. For the vanilla custard we heat the milk and add real vanilla powder, stirring well to avoid any lumps! After just 3 hours the vanilla custard can be bottled. Last but not least is our delicious chocolate custard. Needless to say, all these mouth-watering dairy products can be found in our farm shop.
Our full-fat farm milk is heated before being bottled. After a while a layer of vet will appear above the milk, this it just as it should be. Just shake before use.
The cheese-making process in a nutshell
- The cows are milked and the milk is stored in tanks
- The milk is pumped through to the cheese bin (& the curd-maker). Starter culture and rennet are added to thicken the milk. Two hours of curdling and stirring produces curd and whey.
- The curd is pumped into the drainage bin.
- The curd and whey are separated.
- The curd is pressed into one large block.
- Then, the curd is sliced into blocks and placed in round barrels.
- The cheese goes under the press for more than 5 hours and will be turned once halfway through the process.
- The cheese then needs to be placed for a few days in the brine bath to let the flavour and crusting develop.
- While in storage the cheese will be given a number of plastic coatings on both sides. This is to stop them drying out and add firmness.
- After coating the cheese needs to ripen.