The process is straight forward. Arrive at the dairy at one of the predefined milking times either 7 am or 4.30 pm. Sometimes they run a bit late or a bit early. Late isn't a problem as we always have a chat.
Once at the dairy it's into the vat room and turn off the vat pump. There is a brief wait to allow milk to accumulate in the pre-filter receiver. Once sufficient milk has accumulated the hose to the vat is disconnected and held over my collection container which has a large funnel inserted. One of the milkers turns on the pump while I hold everything steady. It only takes a couple of minutes to fill the 20 litre plastic drum. I reconnect the hose to the vat and they turn the receiver pump to automatic. They return to milking and I wash out the vat room.
|Our 20 litre milk collection container|
Once home, the milk is emptied into our 25 litre cheese making vat and any drinking milk scooped into bottles for refrigeration. How much milk we bottle each time depends on the cheese making program. With Camembert, Yogurt, Fetta and some other soft cheeses we will bottle about half the milk. With harder cheeses we may only bottle 2 or 4 litres and get more milk sooner.
|25 litre chees making vat|
After bottling the bottles go into the kitchen refrigerator and the cheese vat goes into the Cave refrigerator for cooling.
|Theses are milk bottles kept from when we use to buy Bio Dynamic milk from the supermarket|
We collect afternoon milk as much as possible because it contains the highest level of butterfat. Morning milk is a bit thin on butterfat.
|Remaining milk being refrigerated.|
After cooling the cheese vat milk overnight the cream rises to the top and forma a thick layer which wrinkles as you scoop it out. If making Camembert or Blue we leave the cream alone but for yogurt and Fetta and some other cheeses we scoop out the cream.
Our preference is cultured butter and the cream has a culture added and left at room temperature for 24 or more hours before processing. The Buttermilk is used to make scones and any leftover given to the cats and dogs.
Depending on time the next day the remaining milk in the cheese making vat is then processed in the kitchen into cheese with any whey kept for grain soaking.
Cleaning the 20 litre collection container is an important task. A rinse with cold water, Add a few litres of hot water and some detergent, a vigorous shake, empty and rinse again with cold water leaving a litre or so of cold water in the container. A tea spoon or two of Potassium Metabisulfite is added and another vigorous shake and that is it. The Metabisulphite will ensure no nasty growths in the container. When we go to use it again it just requires a quick rinse.