Making the cheese (around 5 hours of work)
The pasteurized milk is then emptied into the tanks. La Trappe à fromage has a daily output of about 1,300 kg of cheese. We need 10 litres of milk to produce about 1 kg of cheese.
At this stage, the cheesemaker adds lactic starters to the pasteurized milk. This promotes the growth of lactic bacteria and, soon after, rennet is added to allow the milk to coagulate. At the end of this process, the milk has a jellified texture called curd.
We then proceed to the cutting of curd. This step allows us to separate the lacto-serum (whey) from the cheese. The curd is then stirred and baked at 38 °C. The baking process firms up the curd.
The curd-whey mixture continues to be stirred until the appropriate firmness is achieved (around 1 hr 15 min). We then drain the curd to eliminate the lacto-serum (whey), and the curd settles to the bottom of the tank. The heat from the tank allows us to begin the cheddaring process. This is when the cheese’s texture and elasticity begin. At the end of this settlement step, the cheese is in slab (unsalted fresh cheese) form resembling bread dough.
We turn the slab over several times to allow acidity to develop, in order to enhance taste and improve texture.
After the cheddaring process, the slab is run through the mill, which creates cheese curds. Salt is then added to the curds to enhance taste and help preservation.