[PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO UNFAIR AND DASTARDLY UNDERMINING BY MISSOURI STATE AUTHORITIES, MORNINGLAND DAIRY HAS BEEN FORCED TO CEASE PRODUCTION, RECALL HEALTHFUL PRODUCT, & CEASE SELLING OUR PRESENT AGED CHEESE. SEE "RECALL INFO/COURT ACTION".]
We will start out in the dairy barn.
The bulk tank room at milking time. You can see the line is in the tank and we are ready to go.
We were milking 70+ cows at this point. Holstein and Holstein/Jersey.
Some of the cows being milked. As you can see, the smaller Jerseys got along very well with the large
Five days a week the cow milk was pumped from the bulk tank, down to the cheese house where it was made
into raw milk cheddar and Colby cheeses. Twice a week goat milk was delivered from our two local suppliers
and on those days we made raw goat cheddar and Colby.
The milk was pumped directly into the sanitized cheese vat where it was slowly warmed by hot water that
circulated under the floor of the vat. Milk is heated to 86 degrees. Machine-driven paddles were
used to stir the milk and insure even heating.
Upon reaching proper temperature, starter was added. After a certain period of start time (which varied
depending on which starter we used), vegetable rennet, which is diluted in cold water, was then added.
The paddles briefly stirred in the rennet and then were removed. The milk begins to set up (gel.) When
the milk is fully set up it is time to cut the curd. Two harps were used to cut the curd, a horizontal
and a vertical.
Here you can see the curds as they begin to separate from the whey.
Paddles are put back in because it is time to heat and stir. Being a raw milk cheese, it was only warmed to
100 degrees or less (100 in the case of cheddar, less if it was Colby or goat cheeses). During this process the
cheese maker used a rubber scraper to prevent the curd from sticking to the bottom of the vat.
After reaching the desired temperature, the heat was turned off. The paddles would stir for a total of 90
minutes. The paddles were then removed and laid aside. The process of draining the whey then begins. Up
until this point, the process is the same for Colby and cheddar. Since we were making cheddar that day, the
following applied to the making of our cheddar cheese.
The cheese maker used the rubber scraper to divide the cheese in half on either side of the vat, allowing
extra whey to drain and then he used a knife to cut the curd into approximately 10”x 10” squares. These
squares were alternately flipped and flipped/stacked for two hours. At the end of this process, the
whey that continues to drain from the curd should test to a certain acidity, the curd becomes shiny and
its texture becomes firmer.
The cheddaring process is complete and its time to introduce the cumbersome cutting machine we fondly
dubbed, “Ironman”. Ironman is placed over the vat and the cutting begins.
All the curd is now chopped and Ironman is removed and cleaned.
Machine-driven stirrers are now attached to stir the curd as we prepared to salt it and drain even more whey.
Salt is added and stirred in, stirrers are stopped and the curd was parted to either side of vat for draining.
Salting helps release the whey. The salting, stirring and draining process was done three times.
The last time the curds are divided to drain, it is time to begin scooping the curd into the forms, which
have been lined with cheesecloth-like material (called “bandages.”).
The bandages are folded across the top of the curd.
The lids were placed on top, each form was turned on its side, and a handyman jack was then used to begin
pressing the forms.
Once the jack began pressing the cheese forms, the cheese maker would stop to remove the spacer pins
that allowed the molds to adjust down as the cheese was pressed.
The cheesemaker then tightened the jack as far as it would go. As the cheese compressed, the jack was
tightened several more times.
The cheese remained in the press for 6 to 18 hours. Then it was removed, bagged, vacuum-sealed,
boxed, weighed, dated, and then refrigerated in the cheese storage room for at least 60 days.
Bagging the fresh 40 lb. blocks of cheddar.
Vacuum-sealing the fresh cheddar.
The cheese storage room, where the cheese was aged for at least 60 days, was kept at a temperature of
At the end of the aging process the cheese, weighing approximately 40-43 lbs, was taken to the
cutting/packaging room. It was cut into ½ lb., 1 lb., 5 lb., 10 lb, , 20 lb or left in its 40 lb size,
depending on our customers’ needs. Cutting/packaging room:
Block of aged cheddar:
1 lb., 5 lb. and 10 lb. pieces (or “Cheesehenge” as we like to call it.)
The pieces were then bagged, labeled and weighed.
Our goat cheese. We gave it a separate name: Ozark Hill Farms.
The bagged cheese was then vacuum-sealed:
Packed in insulated boxes, our delicious cheese was shipped all over the United States via UPS.
Thank you for taking our tour!