Dairy Council Northern Ireland

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How is it made?

Cheese

Cheese is a food which has existed for thousands of years. In fact, the origins of cheese are thought to predate recorded history. Today, cheese remains a popular food around the world, and consumers can choose from a wide range of cheeses with varying flavours and textures.

Approximately 40% of all milk from Northern Ireland farms which is used to make milk products is turned into cheese.

Although advances in technology have meant that some stages in the cheese making process have changed slightly over the years, the basic principles have remained the same.

To make common cheeses, such as cheddar cheese, milk is firstly pasteurised (heated to a minimum of 71.7°C for at least 15 seconds) to kill any bacteria. The pasteurised milk is then cooled rapidly before being pumped into large cheese vats. Here, specially prepared, harmless bacteria, called ‘starter cultures’ are added. These ‘ripen’ the milk, and give the cheese its flavour.

Next an ingredient called ‘rennet’* is added to the milk which makes the milk separate into thick curds and runny whey. The curd is then cut into tiny particles which help release more whey.

The curds and whey are then heated and stirred to about 39°C (although this will vary based on the type of cheese being made). Most soft cheeses do not need to be stirred for as long, and most fresh cheeses will not be cooked. The stirring continues for another hour and then the whey is drained off leaving the curds (cheese). Next the curd is stacked, cut and turned to release more whey. This is called ‘cheddaring’. A little salt is added and the cheese is cut into small pieces called chips. The chips are packed into a mould and pressed. Most soft cheeses, however, are not pressed.

The cheese is then taken out of the mould, wrapped and stored. The longer a cheese is stored, the stronger its flavour will be. Soft cheeses can be ripened or fresh. Fresh cheeses (such as cottage cheese) are not matured and are ready for consumption as soon as the process has been completed. Ripened cheeses (such as Brie) are left in rooms with controlled temperatures and humidity.

Examples of hard cheese: Cheddars (mature, mild, oak smoked, reduced–fat etc)

Examples of soft cheese: Cottage cheese, cream cheese, and Brie–type cheeses.

To find out what nutrients cheese contains, check out the dairy nutrition section. And there’s more on our cheese culture and heritage in Northern Ireland here.

 

* The majority of rennet used for cheese–making in the UK is from non–animal sources which makes the cheese suitable for vegetarians.

 

December 01

A huge thank you to Dr Sarah Booth @JMHNRCA and @NICHE_Ulster for our 32nd Annual Dai…

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December 01

Dairy Council for NI chair, Norman Thompson, gives the ‘vote of thanks’ to Dr Sar…

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Conclusions from Dr Sarah Booth’s excellent and thought-provoking #DCNI2021 Nutriti…

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#DCNI2021 Nutrition Lecture - Dr Sarah Booth @JMHNRCA considers why the interest in v…

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We are delighted to have Dr Sarah Booth @JMHNRCA to give the 32nd Annual Dairy Counci…

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Prof Carol Curran, Executive Dean, Faculty of Life & Health Sciences @UlsterUni welco…

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December 01

Just a few minutes to go until the 32nd Annual Dairy Council Nutrition Lecture 2021 b…

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RT @JMHNRCA: TODAY! Catch Sarah Booth! #Vitamin K: Enthusiasm before Evidence?’ #DC…

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Very much looking forward to the 32nd Annual Dairy Council Nutrition Lecture with @NI…

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From the farm to the fridge, the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland acts on behalf of the dairy industry, promoting the natural goodness and quality of Northern Ireland milk and dairy products.

Our primary function is to communicate factual information to allow individuals to make well informed choices about dairy products that they consume and to inform them of the benefits of including dairy products in a balanced diet. We use a wide range of media, which includes television, radio, press, and social media. Our Advertising is complemented by public relations and promotional activities designed to communicate with specific groups.

Home delivery

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Ballyrashane Creamery

T+44 (0)28 7034 3265

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