Cheese Making at Shelburne Farms

On a Sunny, October day, Lucy from the Healthy Living Cheese Department, and I (Healthy Living Cheese Manager and Buyer) spent the afternoon at Shelburne Farms watching first-hand the remarkable and delicious process of making cheddar cheese!  We arrived about 11:30 just as the whey was being let out and drained from the curds. 

The curds were  racked up against the wall of the vat  into two piles so the whey could drain down the center.  As they let the piles of curds set, more whey continued to drain.  They kept piling the curds up and pressing out the whey while forming loaves with the curds..

Then they starting stacking and flipping the loaves (Lucy and I helped) letting them set for a few 10 min intervals between flips.  The piles got to four loaves high.  We waited for about  30 min until the curds reached the proper acidity.  Then the milling of the loaves of curds begins;  the curds got a constant stirring and salt was added.

After a good stirring and salting the curds were scooped up and packed into cheese cloth lined molds and inserted into the cheese press. 

The whole process took about 4 hours, and now the molds would be left in the press overnight so all of the excess whey could be squeezed out.  The cheese makers then started the big clean up process, cleaning and sanitizing all of the equipment, vat and the whole room, preparing it for another day of cheese making to come.  When the cheese makers come back the following day, they will take the formed blocks out of the molds and pack them into cryo bags, seal them up and put them into boxes in the aging room.  Shelburne Farms ages their cheese from four months to three years!

We had a great time watching the cheese making process and tasting the cheese at different stages of the cheddar making process.  A lot of hard work goes into making this amazing Shelburne Farms Cheddar.  You are welcome to visit Shelburne Farms for yourself and view  the cheese making process from the large viewing window. 

Please come on by the store to give this amazing cheddar a try and see the wonderful selection of Shelburne Farms Cheeses we have to offer.

~Cherie Cyr, Cheese Department Manager and Buyer