Master cheesemakers can transform any milk into a passable cheese product. When you want outstanding flavor and texture, the source must get considered.
The quality of a pasture, the use of sanitary collection techniques, and general processing work all impact the eventual flavor and texture of the cheese getting made. That’s why all of the mass-produced bricks and wheels you find tend to taste the same.
Raw milk experiences daily changes that add depths of flavor that the pasteurization process takes away. Different types from cows, goats, or sheep, create different outcomes that must come under consideration.
Here are the factors to consider when a master cheesemaker wants to make the best cheese possible.
Geography and Seasons
The same breed and type of animal produce different milk consistencies at unique geographic locations. It’s like how honey has a different taste when bees work over different flower species. You’ll also get different milk solids based on what season it is.
Diet and Exercise
The activity levels of an animal help determine the eventual quality of the milk. Animals who get more movement each day while receiving natural nutrition sources tend to produce high-quality milk for cheesemaking.
Time and Handling
Free-range milk is always a better solution than large-scale commercial farming. Even the time it takes for animals to navigate the milking process impacts the freshness of the eventual process. Happy animals tend to produce better milk and more of it, which is why the best suppliers for cheesemakers are often small farms with a herd size under 100.
Transportation of Milk
Milk shouldn’t be held in storage tanks for long periods. If it cannot get used immediately, it must get appropriately chilled and quickly to maintain its quality. Different levels of heat and time can happen during the pasteurization process while in storage, creating changes that are not always beneficial.
There can be noticeable differences between the milk obtained by hand and from farmers who use automated milking equipment.
Pasteurization and homogenization are not beneficial to the cheesemaking process because high temperatures are problematic for creating a good curd. It tends to break it up into small grains that are not useful for most varieties. Although these processes remove bacteria, they also eliminate the enzymes that cheesemakers use to deliver excellent flavors.
Homogenization breaks large fat globules into smaller sizes, creating a problem for cheeses that require significant aging. Some cheesemakers like this process because it eliminates issues with cream separation in the vat.
Raw milk is the preferred option for cheesemakers who work with local farmers. When significant transportation logistics are necessary, the various processing methods can make it challenging to produce some cheese varieties.
That’s why the most flavorful cheese products often come from the smallest producers. Raw milk used within 48 hours has the most potent curd development.
For a more in-depth look at Best Type of Cows Milk For Cheese Making watch this video
Video Credit to Gavin Webber