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Production Process of White Brine Cheese E-mail
White Brine Cheese can be prepared from cow, sheep or goat milk or a mixture of cow sheep, goat and buffalo milk. The milk is mainly produced in mountainous regions, where an ecosystem rich in plant and animal life is found due to the climate and ground conditions. The rich sensory characteristics of sheep and goat milk are combined with the natural raising of indigenous sheep and goats. Milk is collected by producers and brought to the cheese dairy in refrigerated trucks. The milk coagulation has to occur within 48 hours from its collection. Initially, sheep and goat milk is standardised and then pasteurised in 68ºC for 10 min (slow pasteurisation), or in 72ºC for 15 sec (fast pasteurisation).
Following this, milk is cooled in 34-36ºC, lactic acid starter cultures and CaCl2 in a proportion of 10-20/100kg of milk are added; and finally 20 minutes later enough rennet for coagulation to occur in 45-60 minutes.
As soon as milk coagulation is complete, the curd is cut in small cubes (1-2cm wide), and left for 10 minutes. The curd is then transported progressively and carefully into moulds, which favour draining and shaping of small cuts. The filled moulds are then transported to a room with a temperature of 16-18ºC, where they remain for 18-24 hours in a brine bath. During this period, they are periodically turned over for better draining.
The next day cheese is removed from the moulds and placed temporarily either in wooden barrels or metal containers ,where it is salted in layers, so that final concentration of salt in the mass of cheese is roughly 3%.
After 2-3 days, the cheese is placed into barrels or other containers with brine, containing 7% sodium chloride (NaCl). The barrels are transported into the maturing chambers; rooms with temperature of 16-18ºC and very high relative humidity, where they remain for 10-15 days, until the first stage of maturing is complete. At the end of the first stage of maturing, the moisture of the white brine cheese is lower than 56%, and its pH ranges between 4.4-4.6. Then during the second stage of maturing, the white brine cheese is transported into refrigerators with a temperature of 2-4 degrees Celsius .The total maturing time of white brine cheese can last up to 2 months. Until its distribution white brine cheese is conserved in refrigerator units with a temperature of 0-2ºC. During its conservation in metal containers or wooden barrels, it must be covered with brine containing 7% salt, and avoid contact with air. This way, it maintains its freshness and rich sensory characteristics.
White Brine Cheese can then be distributed to the consumer straight out of the barrel or metal container. As far as packages are concerned, white brine cheese is also distributed in airtight packages sealed in vacuum and in containers where white brine cheese is preserved in its natural brine. These packages offer great convenience to the consumer.
The finest white brine cheese should be purchased direct from its brine bath. If it is pre-packaged, it should have some of the brine in the packaging to keep it moist. White brine cheese is best when eaten fresh. If it is not consumed immediately, store white brine cheese in a brine or milk bath. The milk bath will reduce the saltiness and help keep the cheese moist and mild in flavour. Properly stored in brine or milk and refrigerated, white brine cheese will last up to three months.