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Production Process of Kefalotyri E-mail

Kefalotyri Cheese is made from pasteurised milk. During Pasteurisation, the milk is heated for 20 seconds to 72 - 75oC. This kills harmful bacteria and the safety and uniformity of the matured cheese is improved. The milk is then heated to 30oC to which rennet is added. Rennet is extracted from stomachs of calves and cows and contains an enzyme called chymosin, which causes the protein in the milk to coagulate, giving the curd a smooth texture. This technique has been used for hundreds of years. About 30mls of rennet is added to 100 litres of milk. This yields about 10 kilograms of cheese and 90 litres of whey. Most of the chymosin is removed with the whey.


Once the cheese has curdled, the cheese maker lifts out the solid curd masses that have risen to the surface of the large vats. The next step in the process is the so-called “breaking up” or cutting stage. In order to make the Kefalotyri cheese, (Hard Cheese) special cheese making implements are used to break the collected curd into fine pieces and then heat it, stirring constantly, so that the moist lumps (ranging in size from that of a grain of rice to that of a hazel nut) do not form a solid mass. The aim in this part of the process is to draw as much water as possible out of the small pieces of curd. The curd is stirred and “worked” continuously so that over a period of time the curd pieces expel as much water as possible, as this happens the curd pieces get heavier and heavier and sink to the bottom of the vat. Once all the curd pieces sink to the bottom of the vat then the curd mass is drained out of the vat into a “tsantila” a linen cloth that act like a filter straining out the whey matter and holding in the curd masses.


Once removed from the vat the curd mass is pressed into special containers to give it form. The curd mass stays in these moulds and pressure is applied with wooden presses to draw out as much moisture as possible. When cool, the Kefalotyri cheese comes out of the moulds and is salted.


Salting serves three purposes:

1. Preserves the Kefalotyri cheese.

2. Enables the Kefalotyri cheese to acquire its final flavour, and

3. Assists the Kefalotyri cheese to become firmer as more of the whey is drawn out with salting.


Once the salting process is completed, the Kefalotyri cheese is transferred dry to the curing rooms. In this stage, the main fermentation processes which give the cheese flavour and aroma are completed. This occurs in the curing rooms under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity. The temperature here is set at 15 – 18oC for hard cheeses such as Kefalotyri cheese and the humidity is best set at 80 – 85%. The fermentation process takes time so that the cheese develops flavour. The Kefalotyri cheese ripens to its full flavour between two to three months.


Before the Kefalotyri cheese leaves the dairy a layer of paraffin or wax is applied this protects the cheese from drying, moulding and other pollutants in the environment. Kefalotyri cheese has a long durability and is best stored at low temperatures in a refrigerator.