How are the cows from your supplier treated?
Even if they don’t have a bio-standard label, they have strong swiss legal provisions to comply with. For example, the cows have to have enough free space and the fodder has to come from the own meadow. Also, the farmers have to expulse a dung balance (Düngerbilanz) which shows, how much dung they use and produce.
How do you get the milk (delivery)?
Because the supplier all live nearby, about 800 metres away, it is the best for our environment to happen. The milk is delivered everyday in a tank. Because the tank is cooled, it’s also possible to store the milk in the tank for some days, like on holidays (e.g. christmas).
Here’s a illustration where you can see, what happens to the excessive milk.
self-made LifeCycle of excessive milk
Which are the steps for the production of cheese?
Because on the day of the interview Stefan Buerki wasn’t producing cheese, we weren’t able to take pictures of the producing steps. But he explained carefully all the steps:
From milk to cheese in 5 stages
self-made picture of some cheese kinds
The basic principles of cheesemaking is the same since centuries, Cheesemaking consists of the following five stages:
After the milk arrived, it has to be checked before being filtered. The next step is heating the milk slowly and stirring it constantly in a large cheese vat until it reached the correct temparture. After, Rennet (Kälberlab), a sort of enzyme taken from the stomachs of young calves, and also lactic acid bacteria (Milchsäurebakterien) are added together into the milk.
Later, the stirring equipment will be switched off. After 30 to 40 minutes, a jelly-like mass (gallertartige Masse) appears. The milk is curdled.
The gelatinous mass is comminuted with the “cheese-harp” (Käseharfe) a stirrer instrumental with fine wires (Drähte). The pieces are getting smaller and smaller by the agitation: the “cheese break” (Käsekörner) separates from the watery part, the “Sirte” or “whey” (Molke). The smaller the cheese grains, the harder the cheese will be.
3. Heating, forming and saline bathing
The cheese breakage is reduced to max. 57 ° C. Then he is lifted from the sirte (Molke) with the aid of the cheese-cloth, and is given, together with the cloth, into a form, the “Jarb.” For the sirte to emerge even more, the cheese is pressed. The lactic bacteria added convert the milk sugar into lactic acid (Säure). The still soft cheese is placed in the salt bath between 30 minutes and two days depending on the size: Here the cheese salt is taken up and liquid is released. The bark is formed – the cheese becomes stable
4. Fermenting and ripening
The fermentation affects the hole formation in the dough and the aroma. The holes are produced by carbonic acid gas (Kohlensäuregas), which is caused by the degradation (Abbau) of the milk sugar (Laktose) by the respective lactic acid bacteria. Since this gas can not escape, it forms bubbles. These bubbles form the holes in the cheese dough. During ripening, the albumen is decomposed into a light digestible form. At this stage, the cheese is given its sort-typical flavor. Ripening (Reifeprozess) takes a few days (e.g., Tomme) to several years (e.g., Sbrinz AOP). During this time the cheese must be carefully maintained by regular turning and washing.
5. Quality Control
Before the cheese enters the stores, it is thoroughly examined (geprüft). This guarantees that exclusively cheeses of excellent quality are sold.
Herstellung Schritt für Schritt (schweizerkaese.ch)
How much energy do you need for the production?
We need a lot of energy. Our dairy is about 80 years old. Due to that, we have a old infrastructure. I’d like to modernise our dairy, but it isn’t possible, because the dairy is only leased. Further, I can’t say the exactly usage of energy. Per 1 liter milk, we need approximately 3 liter water.
From cheese to fondue – how?
In my opinion, the more aged the cheese is, the better the fondue become. If the cheese is mature enough, the fondue become smooth. To produce the fondue itself, you have to shred the cheese. We also have our own mixture, which is ripened about 8-9 month.
Where is your package from?
We buy the package completed. We have two options for the package, either a vacuum bag or a waxed one. The waxed package is much better for the cheese as well as for our environment.
Thank you, Stefan, for the informative interview.
➡ Let’s go and have a look at Stefan Buerki’s Website!
➡ Here you find the location of the dairy
location Käserei Herschmettlen