The Basic Process
Cheese making can be described as the process of removing water, lactose and some minerals from milk to produce a concentrate of milk fat and protein. The essential ingredients of cheese are milk, coagulating enzyme (rennet), bacterial cultures and salt. Rennet causes the milk proteins to aggregate and ultimately transform fluid milk to a semi-firm gel. When this gel is cut into small pieces (curds), the whey (mostly water and lactose) begins to separate from the curds. Acid production by bacterial cultures is essential to aid expulsion of whey from the curd and largely determines the final cheese moisture, flavour and texture. A flow chart showing the general operations of cheese making is in Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1 Flowchart of Cheese Making Process.