Step-by-step: The craft of cheese-making
How great cheese is made Only the best cheeses are worthy of bearing the Bergader label. In order to guarantee the utmost levels of quality, we combine traditional cheese-making processes with modern production technologies. And most importantly, we use only the finest ingredients in our cheeses – most of all fresh milk sourced from local farmers. The results speak for themselves: the creamiest soft cheeses, the most indulgent blue mould cheeses and our naturally ripened semi-hard cheeses – Bergader offers a treat for every cheese lover.
Naturally, the most important raw material is the milk We exclusively use milk locally sourced from our home region, the foothills of the Alps mountains. Our contractual partner farmers are milking their cows twice per day. Starting right at milk collection, the milk is subject to numerous quality checks. Further processing of the milk only starts once all quality requirements have been met.
Curdling the milk, adding ripening cultures The combination of state-of-the-art technologies and the time-honoured experience of our master cheese-makers is vital in the creation of our specialties – mild, tender Bonifaz cheese; creamy and aromatic Bavaria blu cheese.
Only our master cheese-makers know exactly how much rennet is required to curdle the milk. And it is in their hands to ensure that ripening cultures and the blue or white mould are added to the dairy milk at just the right moment. In the process, we rely on special ripening cultures that give each of our cheeses their own unmistakeable character. At the very start of cheese production, the rennet enables the milk to be curdled inside the cheese vat. Scientifically speaking, milk protein curdles inside the vat during this initial step.
Cheese harp and cheese curd In the next step, the resulting curdled mass is cut into small pieces with a so-called cheese harp. This is how cheese curd is created. Ultimately, optimum cheese quality is largely dependent on the cut being made at just the right time.
By cutting the curd, the whey is separated from the solid elements of milk (protein, fat and lactose). And again it is up to the master cheese makers to decide when the curd has reached the right texture. They examine the curd by hand to find out whether the young cheese is ready for further processing. Only if the timing is right, the whey is removed, leaving the fresh cheese substance behind.
The cheese is filled into forms Yet the cheese-to-be still lacks a lot of the things that make it distinctive later on: its typical form, for example. To this end, the curd is filled into forms. Bergader has small and large, round and angular forms. Once the curd has been unified, the wheels are removed from the forms and inserted into a salt bath. This is an important step for rind formation and flavour.
Ripening The actual magic, however, happens during ripening. This is when the ripening cultures come in. They degrade milk fat and milk protein as well as lactose. During this process, the typical flavours of each cheese are created. Also the thin cover of white mould that many Bergader cheeses display develops during ripening. The preconditions for this are optimal temperature and humidity. Blue mould cheese is pierced at the beginning of the ripening process: Using fine skewers, the cheese substance is punctured allowing for oxygen to penetrate. This way, blue mould can develop.
Each cheese type requires its own particular ripening conditions. Only if everything is perfect - from the milk to the final product - can a real cheese treat develop – with the right taste and texture. This is what makes Bergader's cheese specialities so unique. Bon appétit!