Welcome to Ballard Cheese in Gooding, Idaho Where the Only Thing Better Than Cheese is MORE CHEESE!

Ballard Cheesemaking Process

Pasteurization 

We start by pumping fresh milk from our bulk tank where it is kept at 38 F. We then pump the milk into the pasteurizing vat to be pasteurized at about 150 F before pumping the milk into the cheesemaking vat. We stir the milk, add the cheese culture, and keep a close eye on the pH levels. We add the Rennet (an enzyme) which thickens or coagulates the milk. We stop stirring and let the milk sit until it turns to a custard-like consistency within about 30 minutes.

Cut Coagulated Milk into Curds and Whey Using a Harp



When it is to the right consistency, we cut the coagulated milk into quarter-inch cubes with a wire knife known as a Harp. This is when the curds separate out from the watery whey.

 

Stirring and Cooking the Curds



After we cut the coagulated milk, the curd is floating in the whey. We stir and slowly cook the curd and whey and check the pH /TA level frequently so we know what the curds are doing.

 

 

 

Draining The Whey

After about an hour, we drain the whey off the curds into a bulk tank so we can feed it to the cows. This goes down the middle and out the drain.

 

 

 

Cheddaring Process

We cut the curd into loaves, cut the loaves in half again and then stack and re-stack the loaves. This process is called  Cheddaring. We watch the pH / TA level very closely to see when the loaves are ready to mill. This is what makes Cheddar cheese Cheddar.

 

Milling the Curds

 

When the pH level is just right  we mill the slabs into milled curds. Then we stir and salt the curds. 

 

 

Stirring The Curds


The salt stops further acid development, provides an element of flavor, and helps preserve the final cheese. Salting also provokes a further small rush of whey.  The curds can now be packaged and sold. 


Ballard's Idaho Cheddar and Cheese Curds

 

Another option is to put the curds into a form called a "loop." The curds are then pressed overnight in a hydraulic press. This removes the last of the whey and forms a solid 20 pound round of cheddar cheese.

 

In the morning the curds are packaged and shipped out stores. Finally, the curds are vacuum packed and sealed for aging.

 

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