Everyone knows about Little Miss Muffett's curds and whey, but what exactly are they? These two ingredients are crucial in cheese-making, which is surprisingly easy in the beginning stages. You can make simple fresh cheeses at home or choose from our selection at the cheese counter.
We start with milk sourced from cows, goats, and sheep. Artisanal cheese has also brought about the rise of water buffalo, camel, and even horse milk.
In cheesemaking, the first step is to warm and acidify the milk, either naturally or with a starter culture. Temperature and time are crucial as proteins and fats break down. A secondary culture is often added to separate the milk into curds and whey, creating different types of cheese.
The cheese-making process varies depending on the type of cheese. As the process continues, curds expel more moisture into the whey, resulting in smaller and denser curds. Cheesemakers cut the curds into smaller, consistent sizes and continue cooking them. The whey is drained, and the curds are transferred to a container to shape them for aging or softening.
Before aging, cheese undergoes pressing, especially for types with longer aging processes, in order to remove moisture from the curds. After pressing, the cheeses are salted to their designated aging process.