[PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO UNFAIR AND DASTARDLY UNDERMINING BY MISSOURI STATE AUTHORITIES, MORNINGLAND DAIRY HAS BEEN FORCED TO CEASE PRODUCTION, RECALL HEALTHFUL PRODUCT, & CEASE SELLING OUR PRESENT AGED CHEESE. SEE "RECALL INFO/COURT ACTION".]
We will start out in the dairy barn.
The bulk tank room at milking time. You can see the line is in the tank and we are ready to go.
We are milking 70+ cows at this point. Holstein and Holstein/Jersey.
Some of the cows being milked. As you can see, the smaller Jerseys get along very well with the large
Five days a week the cow milk is pumped from the bulk tank, down to the cheese house where it will be made
into raw milk cheddar and Colby cheeses. Twice a week goat milk is delivered from our two local suppliers
and on those days we make raw goat cheddar and Colby.
The milk is pumped directly into the sanitized cheese vat where it is slowly warmed by hot water that
is circulated under the floor of the vat. Milk is heated to 86 degrees. Machine-driven paddles are
used to stir the milk and insure even heating.
Upon reaching proper temperature, starter is added. After a certain period of start time (which varies
depending on which starter we use), vegetable rennet, which is diluted in cold water, is then added.
The paddles briefly stir in the rennet and then are removed. The milk begins to set up (gel.) When
the milk is fully set up it is time to cut the curd. Two harps are used to cut the curd, a horizontal
and a vertical.
Here you can see the curds as they begin to separate from the whey.
Paddles are put back in because it is time to heat and stir. Being a raw milk cheese, it is only warmed to
100 degrees or less (100 in the case of cheddar, less if it is Colby or goat cheeses). During this process the
cheese maker uses a rubber scraper to prevent the curd from sticking to the bottom of the vat.
After reaching the desired temperature, the heat is turned off. The paddles will stir for a total of 90
minutes. The paddles are then removed and laid aside. The process of draining the whey then begins. Up
until this point, the process is the same for Colby and cheddar. Since we are making cheddar today, the
following applies to the making of our cheddar cheese.
The cheese maker uses the rubber scraper to divide the cheese in half on either side of the vat, allowing
extra whey to drain and then he uses a knife to cut the curd into approximately 10”x 10” squares. These
squares will be alternately flipped and flipped/stacked for two hours. At the end of this process, the
whey that continues to drain from the curd should test to a certain acidity, the curd becomes shiny and
its texture becomes firmer.
The cheddaring process is complete and its time to introduce the cumbersome cutting machine we fondly
dubbed, “Ironman”. Ironman is placed over the vat and the cutting begins.
All the curd is now chopped and Ironman is removed and cleaned.
Machine-driven stirrers are now attached to stir the curd as we prepare to salt it and drain even more whey.
Salt is added and stirred in, stirrers are stopped and the curd is parted to either side of vat for draining.
Salting helps release the whey. The salting, stirring and draining process is done three times.
The last time the curds are divided to drain, it is time to begin scooping the curd into the forms, which
have been lined with cheesecloth-like material (called “bandages.”).
The bandages are folded across the top of the curd.
The lids are placed on top, the form is turned on its side and a handyman jack is then used to begin
pressing the forms.
Once the jack has begun pressing the cheese forms, the cheese maker stops to remove the spacer pins
that allow the molds to adjust down as the cheese is pressed.
The cheesemaker then tightens the jack as far as it will go. As the cheese compresses, the jack will be
tightened several more times.
The cheese will remain in the press for 6 to 18 hours. Then it will be removed, bagged, vacuum-sealed,
boxed, weighed, dated, and then refrigerated in the cheese storage room for at least 60 days.
Bagging the fresh 40 lb. blocks of cheddar.
Vacuum-sealing the fresh cheddar.
The cheese storage room, where the cheese is aged for at least 60 days, is kept at a temperature of
At the end of the aging process the cheese, weighing approximately 40-43 lbs, can be taken to the
cutting/packaging room. It will be cut into ½ lb., 1 lb., 5 lb., 10 lb, , 20 lb or left in its 40 lb size,
depending on our customers’ needs. Cutting/packaging room:
Block of aged cheddar:
1 lb., 5 lb. and 10 lb. pieces (or “Cheesehenge” as we like to call it.)
The pieces are then bagged, labeled and weighed.
Our goat cheese. We have given it a separate name: Ozark Hill Farms.
The bagged cheese is then vacuum-sealed:
Packed in insulated boxes, our delicious cheese is shipped all over the United States via UPS.
Thank you for taking our tour!