Semi-hard cheese -- washed

Brine Brick


The description "Brine" is used to distinguish brine salted Brick cheese from the modern version which is similar to Colby. Brine Brick is a sweet, mild version of German Brick.

The acidity of Brine Brick cheese is determined mainly by the amount of lactose removed during washing. There is little acid development until after hooping because the inoculum is small and the milk is not ripened before renneting. . It is mild and sweet in flavour and lacks the sharpness of Cheddar and the strong flavour of Limburger and German Brick.. Brine brick cheese should be clean, well shaped, free from checks and moulds and have a rind with a predominantly smooth surface. The cheese should present a neat attractive appearance and be of uniform size and shape. The sides should be square, not bulged.

Standards: 42% moisture; 29% fat.


1. Pasteurize whole milk. Milk standardized to P/F = 1.04 will make a legal cheese but a higher fat cheese is preferred. P/F = .90 is suggested.

2. Add 0.25% of an active lactic starter at 30C. Normally Lactococcus. lactis and/or . cremoris is used but heterofermentative lactics such as Leuconostic mesenteroides subsp. cremoris and/orLactococcus. diaceteylactis may be used to promote an open structure.

3. Add a smear culture according to manufacturer's instructions. Alternatively, 'old to new' smear inoculation may be preferred.

4. Cheese colour may be added at the rate of 6 - 8 ml/1,000 kg milk when the cattle are off fresh pasture.

5. Measure 190 ml rennet per 1,000 kg milk. Dilute the rennet with 10 volumes of water and add the mixture to the milk, immediately after adding the starter. Setting should be complete in 20 - 30 minutes.

6. Cut curd with 1/4" (6.4mm) knives when the curd breaks cleanly with a spatula. Acid development at this stage should be minimal (whey pH 6.5 - 6.6).

7. Agitate gently for 10 min. and then begin to cook. Follow the heating schedule carefully. Heating is required to firm the curd and obtain the correct moisture. 

Time Temperature
Begin heating 30.0 C
5 min. 30.5 C
10 min. 31.0 C
15 min. 33.0 C
20 min. 36.0 C

8. Drain the whey to a level of 2.5 cm above the curd.

9. Add water at 36C. The required amount is 50% of the original weight of milk -- or about the equivalent of the amount of whey removed. Hold the curd in the water with gentle agitation for 15 min to allow the lactose in the curd and water to equilibrate. Short holding times result in acid cheese. Longer holding times (or excess water) results in bland cheese.

10. Drain the whey/water to a level 2.5 cm above the curd.

11. Dip the curd and whey into rectangular perforated forms on a drain table. The curd and whey may be moved with a positive rotary pump. Add curds to each form in rotation until they are full but not heaped up.

12. Turn the hoops at 5, 10, 30, 60, and 90 minutes. Add the metal followers after the first turn. If the curd does not form smooth sides, a little hot water may be sprayed over the curd to close up the cheese and form a good finish.

13. Place in 22 - 25% salt brine for 24 hrs. at 10 - 15C. Dry salt the exposed surface of the cheese. Brine pH should be about 5.3.

14. After removal from the brine, the cheese should be placed in a curing room at approximately 15C with a relative humidity of 90%. Alternatively, the cheese can be placed on plastic mats in large plastic tubs with the lids slightly open to allow some air exchange and maintain humidity. During curing, film yeasts, corynebacterium such as Bacterium linens and other organisms form an orange-red smear on the surface of the cheese. The growth is quite luxurious in 2 weeks. The smear grows only on the surface but the enzymes from the smear penetrate the cheese and break down the protein to produce the desired flavour.

15. Gently wash and turn the cheese every day for about 12-15 days. Washing is done with a damp cloth dipped in a 20% brine solution. Moisten the entire surface of the cheese with the salt water and remove any mould that appears.

16. After the smear has developed sufficiently (12 -15 days), rinse the cheese with cold water, gently brush off excess smear, and then allow the cheese to dry. If a milder flavoured cheese is desired, the smear may be washed off the cheese at an earlier date.

17. After the final washing, dry the cheese for 4 - 6 hrs. and then vacuum pack. Place the packaged cheese in a curing room at 5 - 7C for 1 - 3 months.

Process and Quality Control Notes

1. Acidity: Excessive acidity can result from too much culture. The pH at 3 - 4 days should be 5.1 - 5.2

2. Gas formation: Coliform bacteria may grow in the cheese during draining and salting causing early gas that gives rise to pinholes or to a spongy condition. Coliform organisms can be controlled by pasteurization and by avoiding post pasteurization contamination. Late gas formation by Clostridia organisms may occur due to insufficient acid and salt. The pH should be 5.1 - 5.3.

3. Lack of Smear Development: A smear will not grow if the humidity in the curing room is too low. If the curing room is 'too clean' it may be necessary to inoculate the surface of the cheese from a previously ripened cheese or inoculate the milk with commercial smear cultures.

4. Mould Growth: If the cheese is not washed often enough, moulds may grow on the cheese. The moulds will not grow if a good smear is developing. 


Colby cheese was named after a township in Southern Wisconsin in the 1880s. Colby is high moisture, open-textured, soft-bodied and quick-curing. It is sometimes called Farmer's cheese. The make procedure for Colby is the same as for Cheddar until the correct acidity is attained for dipping. At this time, the final acidity of Colby is adjusted by washing to remove lactose and acid, while in Cheddar manufacture lactose is removed by Cheddaring, a process of further fermentation and syneresis.

Standards: 42% moisture; 29% fat.


  1. Standardize milk to P/F 0.96, pasteurize and cool to 310C before adding starter.
  2. Add 1.5% of S. lactis and/or S. cremoris starter. Ripen for 1 hr. or until acidity increases by 0.01%.
  3. Measure 70 ml cheese colour per 1,000 kg milk. Dilute 20x with water and add to milk
  4. Measure 190 ml rennet per 1,000 kg milk. Dilute the rennet with 10 volumes of water and add the mixture to the milk
  5. Cut using 3/8" (9.5mm) knives when curd is firm. Agitate gently.
  6. Start cooking (15 min. after cutting). Increase temperature from 31 to 39C during 30 min. Heat slowly at first -- no more than 1C every 5 min.
  7. Hold at 39C until whey pH is 6.2 - 6.3. This process should take 75 min from the time the temperature reaches 39C or 2 h from the time of cutting. If the acidity is increasing too quickly the temperature may be raised slightly (maximum 40C) to retard the culture.
  8. When whey pH is 6.2 - 6.3 drain the whey down to the level of the curd.
  9. Add water at 15C until the curd-water mixture is 26C. If the curd is to be washed in a curd table, transfer curd to the curd table leaving about 5 - 8 cm of whey in the bottom of the table. Add water (7 - 14% of original weight) at the required temperature to give a final temperature of 26C. This has advantages over washing in the vat: (1) Greater efficiency because a smaller capacity and less expensive curd sink is used for washing while the setting vat is used to begin another batch; (2) The amount of wash water which must removed from the whey or otherwise disposed is reduced.
  10. Stir when adding water and for an additional 15 minutes. If wash water is below (15C) use less water. Colder water produces a higher moisture cheese. Warmer water produces a low moisture cheese.
  11. Drain completely by piling curd at the sides of the vat. Curd should not mat.
  12. Add salt at the rate of 2 Omega kg/1,000 kg of milk and stir well. Allow 15 min. for the salt to dissolve before hooping.
  13. Hoop in 20 lb. (9 kg) Cheddar hoops. Cheese may lose shape in large sizes.
  14. Press overnight at 75 kPa (10 - 20 lbs/in2). Start with low pressure and gradually increase to 75 kPa. In modern commercial practice, pressing is often shortened to as little as one hour.
  15. Vacuum package in film and cure at 7 - 13C for 1 - 3 months.

Colby cheese has higher moisture and a softer body than Cheddar, and never attains the sharp character of Cheddar.


  1. Acid-sour flavour: This defect may be caused by too much acid development in the vat before dipping. It may also be caused by poor culture activity and a lack of acid development at dipping. If the culture is not growing properly and acid is not being produced, then the curd will be high in moisture and lactose. The lactose later ferments to give a sour acid cheese.
  2. Fermented flavour: This is caused by a lack of acid development due to a poor starter or starter inhibition. If the cheese pH is above 5.4, the cheese will inevitably be fermented and fruity.
  3. Woody, corky body: This defect may be caused by lack of acid development, washing the curd with too much water, prolonged holding of the curd in the water, or by cooking over 40C.
  4. Mottled cheese: This defect is usually due to lack of acid development, or by salting too soon after dipping. Short draining time before salting and pressing may also result in slight mottling.

Yield of Cheese

The yield of Colby cheese should be from 10 to 11 kg of cheese per 100 kg of 3.5% milk with 40 - 42% moisture.


Gouda cheese originated in the Netherlands and is similar to Edam. Normally Gouda has a higher fat content than Edam but fat in dry matter does vary from 30 - 50%. In Canada, Gouda cheese must contain a minimum of 28% fat (49% fat on dry matter basis) and a maximum of 43% moisture. Gouda is made in round or block forms and the cheese vary in weight from 600 g to 20 kg. A gas-forming culture is used to induce eye formation.


1. Standardize milk to protein/fat ratio of 1.07 and pasteurize.

2. 1 - 2 ml of annatto per 1000 kg of milk may be added during the winter months.

3. Add 0.75% starter culture. Mixtures of Streptococcus lactis and Leuconostic cremoris and Streptococcus diacetylactis are recommended. Ripen until an increase of 0.005 - 0.01 in titratable acidity is achieved.

4. Measure 190 ml rennet/1000 kg of milk. Dilute the rennet with 10 volumes of water and add the mixture to the milk.

5. When curd cuts cleanly, cut curd into 0.5 - 1.0 cm cubes taking 10 - 15 minutes. Stir curd to float in whey for an additional 20 - 30 minutes. Whey pH should be 6.4 - 6.45.

6. Run off one-third of whey and slowly add water at 60C to give final temperature of 36 - 38C. The volume of water should be 20 - 25% of the amount of milk. Add the water slowly during 15 - 20 min with continual stirring. Continue stirring for another 15 min. after all the water is added.

7. Allow curd to settle, and press under the whey by covering the curd with steel plates for at least 10 min. In commercial practice this is accomplished by moving the curd and some of the whey onto a press table.

8. When curd is consolidated under the plates, drain the whey and cut to fit cloth-lined hoops. Press at 14 psi for 5 - 8 hrs. with occasional turning. After first turning increase pressure from 14 - 28 psi. The pH after pressing should be 5.3 - 5.5.

9. Immerse in 20% salt brine for periods as indicated below. The pH should be 5.15 -5.25.

Edam 1.5 - 3 kg 3 days
Gouda 0.5 kg 20 hours
Gouda 1 kg 1 1/2 days
Gouda 10 kg 4 1/2 days
Gouda 20 kg 7 days

10. Pack in plastic film and incubate at 15C, 4 - 6 weeks. Then store at 100C for 6 - 12 months.

The pH of Gouda cheese increases during ripening. At 8 weeks the pH should be 5.3 - 5.5.


Montasio is a washed curd variety of Italian origin. Relative to other Italian varieties such as Romano and Parmesan, Montasio employs a low cooking temperature (final temperature 43C) but still requires a thermophilic culture. The curd may be pre-pressed under the whey to obtain smoother and more uniform texture. Lipase may be added to produce a more piquant flavour. Montasio is produced in wheels of 2 - 8 kg and is ripened 2 - 4 months for mild table cheese and 12 - 18 months for grating cheese. The mild version is normally vacuum packed before curing. The aged version is cured at 10C and is washed and turned regularly. After several weeks, the ripening cheese may be oiled, waxed or vacuum packed. Montasio is similar to Friulano which was developed in Canada. 

Standards: 40% moisture; 28% fat.


  1. Standardize milk to P/F = 1.07 and pasteurize.
  2. Add 1.0% thermophilic starter (0.5% each of S. thermophilus and L. bulgaricus) at 310C. Ripen for 1 hr. or until acidity increases 0.01%.
  3. Measure 190 ml rennet per 1,000 kg milk. Dilute the rennet with 10 volumes of water and add the mixture to the milk. Curd should be firm enough to cut in 25 - 30 min.
  4. Cut into cubes with 1/4" (6.4 mm) knives when curd is firm.
  5. Turn on steam. Heat (slowly at first -- 2 degrees every 5 minutes) to a final temperature of 39C. Hold at 39C until the pH of the whey is 6.1 (about 2 hr. from the time of cutting).
  6. Drain whey to the level of the curd.
  7. Add hot water (60C) until the curd-whey mixture is 43C. Hold at 43C for 10 min. with agitation.
  8. Drain completely.
  9. Place curd in cylindrical forms and let drain at room temperature overnight.
  10. Place in salt brine for 12 hrs.
  11. Vacuum pack and cure at 10 - 12C for 1 - 3 months.