The first thing that you have to do when you are making cheese is get milk; the milk comes from many different animals. It may come from cows, goats, sheep, or even buffalo. The milk is poured into a vat, where it is brought to a specific temperature so that it may promote growing bacteria which thrive off the lactose and basically ferment the lactose into lactic acid. Sometimes, there are cultures that are added to the milk to help give the cheese certain characteristics so that you get one kind instead of another. For example, with blue cheese mold spores must be added to the milk.
Once the milk is at temperature, it must be coagulated. With the coagulation process, the rennet is added to the milk. Rennet has some specific enzymes in it, and what it does is over time, the rennet causes the cheese milk to coagulate and form the curds. This may take a little bit of time or a lot more, it all depends on the type of cheese that is being made.
Once the coagulation is complete, the curds are drained so that they whey can be drained apart from the curds. You need to have dry cheese curds because any extra liquid may promote decomposition and break down the cheese curds that make cheese blocks. From there, some cheese must be scalded, where the curds are cut up and brought to a higher temperature. Other cheeses must be mold ripened it just depends on what you are making.
Once the cheese has the properties that it needs, the curd is pressed to bind everything together and is formed into blocks. These blocks are generally put in a wax, a muslin cloth, vacuum packed, or stored in plastic bags. Now, the cheese will age until it has reached its appropriate flavor. The flavor comes with age, so some will have to sit and age longer than others. Knowing what type of cheese is being made will tell a cheese maker how long it needs to sit for.
-Written by Viktoira Carella