On October 21, our 9-10 grade class did a cheese project. In Biology, we were learning how enzymes work, as well as learning the different types of proteins and lipids. Proteins and lipids are found in human bodies, as well as animals too. Proteins and lipids are essential for our bodies, and they are the active ingredients found in dairy.
To make our learning come alive, our teacher, Mr. Blumenschein, decided to start a cheese making project. The project is meant to be an educational learning experience, and tasty. This process begins with the most necessary ingredient to make cheese, which is milk. Mr. Blumenschein did not buy the milk from a local store, but from the Berger farm. The Berger farm is a family farm located in Upper Michigan.
Mr. Blumenschein brought back fresh milk to our school along with greek yogurt, rennet, and wax. He took out a small-sized crock pot, and poured in the milk. The students, including me, tasted the farm milk. I thought the milk tasted different from store milk, and much more organic. It was also much creamier since it was whole milk.
After he poured in the milk, the plain greek yogurt was added. The mixture was stirred and left overnight. The next day we plugged in the crock pot and set it at room temperature.
The next day, we checked the milk and the greek yogurt was fully dissolved. I then added the rennet in warm water and poured it into the mixture. I stirred it with a rubber spatula and turned up the temperature to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. We let the mixture sit for an hour so it could coagulate.
After the mixture coagulated, I moved on to the next step which was clean break. To make sure it was ready for clean break, I dipped my finger into the mixture. It was gelled and was ready for the cutting process.
Before I performed the clean break process, Mr. Blumenschein demonstrated how to do it. He took a long sharp knife and cut the cheese horizontally, then I cut it diagonally. Once the pieces were cut, I dug my hand from the bottom and flipped it upside down. It was squishy and curd-like. I kept mixing it for 15 minutes, or until I was satisfied. After that we warmed the curds to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
I let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until the consistency was like scrambled eggs. Mr. Blumenschein took the mixture out and placed it on a cloth. There were a lot of curds that pushed out of the block while pressing, but Mr. Blumenschein pushed them back into the block.
The next morning, Mr. Blumenschein and I unwrapped the cheese from the press. He then took a fresh handkerchief, wrapped the cheese with it, and placed it in the refrigerator for about a week. Then after the cheese started to turn a yellowish color, Mr. Blumenschein dipped it into wax. We placed it in the refrigerator for about a month for the cheese to harden.
Since the procedure took place in the church cafeteria, the cheese was unfortunately thrown away. Although we didn’t have the evidence, the process was enjoyable and neat. I thought it was a cool experience and not something many people do!
Kiara Frank, Green Bay Adventist Junior Academy student