These farms still practice the traditional methods of farming passed down for generations. Our farms do not use artificial growth hormones such as BST or BGH which we feel provides a healthier product for you the consumer.
Milk is brought in daily from the Amish Farms in traditional milk cans. The cans are then emptied and the milk is weighed, cooled to 38 degrees F, and pumped into a large milk storage tank. Farmers are paid for the quantity of milk they ship daily.
Milk is pumped through a centrifuge which performs the following steps:
The milk is heated to kill unwanted bacteria which is found naturally in milk.
Cheese cultures give the milk the desired bacteria that are needed to start the transition of milk to cheese. These cultures contribute to the taste of the cheese. In Yogurt Cheese, yogurt cultures are added to the milk instead of cheese cultures.
Coagulant is needed to change the milk from a liquid to a custard like gel. A non-animal rennet is used to manufacture Heini's Cheese.
The Master Cheesemaker chooses the proper consistency of gel and cuts it into small pieces which are then called cheese curd. These pieces are approximately one half inch in diameter. The liquid produced when cutting gel into curd is called whey. At this step it is no longer milk but the first stage of cheese.
Curd is cooked to 100 degrees F for Colby type cheeses or 120 degrees F for Swiss and Baby Swiss. These temperatures are achieved within 30-40 minutes.
Cheese curd and whey are then pumped from the cooking vat into a finishing table Most of the whey is drained from the mix of curds and whey. The curd is then washed with the addition of water which gives the cheese a smoother flavor.
The remainder of whey and the water used to wash the curd is drained leaving only curd. Salt is then added for the purpose of flavor and as a natural preservative.
The curd is then removed from the finishing table and placed into stainless steel forms which are called hoops. The hoops give the cheese it's distinctive shape. Two different size hoops are used. A cylinder shape which weighs 13 lbs. and a cube shape which weighs 40 lbs.
Cheese hoops are then placed in presses which force the remainder of the whey out of the cheese curds and presses the curd into a solid mass. Cheese remains under pressure for a minimum of 12 hours.
The following day the cheese is removed from the cheese hoops and bagged. Air is evacuated from bag and the bag is sealed and put into cases. The cases are then palletized and put into a large cold room where it is stored at 38 degrees F until cut into smaller pieces, repackaged and shipped to your neighborhood grocery store.