Cheese making is a traditional process using fresh cow‘s milk.
Before milk is processed further into cheese at Oldenburger factories, it is first pasteurized. Depending on the type of cheese produced, the fat content of the milk is then adjusted and the milk homogenized. Homogenization prevents the formation of a cream layer on the milk’s surface, as the fat droplets are evenly dispersed in the milk.
Pasteurization of milk
Pasteurization is a gentle heating method for milk at 72-75 °C for approximately 15-30 seconds. This is sufficient to eliminate nearly all harmful microorganisms that may be present.
Rennet is added to the milk for coagulation
The actual cheese production begins with the coagulation of the milk. By adding the enzyme rennet and/or lactic acid bacteria, the milk coagulates, separating the solids – proteins and cream – from the liquid whey. A light curd is the result. Rennet can be produced traditionally from calf stomachs or microbially. Oldenburger uses only microbial and therefore non-animal rennet which can be consumed by vegetarians. Hard, semi-hard and soft cheeses are all produced using rennet.
Cheese and whey
Next, a firm cheese mass is formed by adding heat. It contains all the valuable ingredients of the milk. Some of the ingredients are separated during coagulation and remain in the whey. Whey is therefore a nutritious by-product and can be used in many different ways. For the production of cheese, however, only the cheese mass is needed.
The manufacturing of cheese curd
When the coagulation is complete, the cheese mass is broken with a cheese harp and a curd is formed. Traditionally, this was done by the master cheese maker, the so-called affineur. Today, this is done mechanically. A semi-hard cheese is produced from coarse-grained curd. The longer the curd is cut and the finer the breakage, the firmer the resulting cheese becomes. It is finally shaped into forms and placed in a salt bath.
Maturing of the cheese in a salt bath and the forming of a protective rind
In a next step, the curd is pressed into moulds and the whey thus separated and removed. The cheese is then placed in a salt bath for salting. This removes any remaining whey from the cheese. The salt enhances the taste of the cheese. It also protects it from spoilage by forming a hard and dry cheese rind.
An alternative method to naturally matured, rind-forming cheeses is maturing cheese in a special maturing film. This process results in a rindless cheese that is edible as a whole. Compared to naturally matured cheese, film-matured cheeses taste milder.
Ripening and packaging
Depending on the variety, cheese matures for several days, weeks or months in a specially tempered and humidity-controlled room, the so-called ripening store. Each type of cheese needs a specific temperature and a humidity of between 80 and 90 percent. Through the protein degradation during the ripening process, the cheese develops its aroma and typical taste. Semi-hard cheese matures for at least four weeks, while hard cheeses ripen for two months or more. During ripening, the ingredients of the cheese are broken down and texture, colour and flavour are formed.
During the ripening process, holes appear in some cheese varieties: bacteria present in the milk produce carbon dioxide during the decomposition of lactic acid, which cannot escape through the rind thus forming the holes.
Smaller slit-like holes, such as in Tilsit, are created by the cheese being loosely layered in the mould and lightly pressed before ripening. This results in up to 1.000 holes in a single cheese loaf.
During the ripening period, the surface is regularly checked to prevent the formation of mould due to incorrect humidity or storage temperature.
Oldenburger Cheese is shaped and packaged into cheese loaves of different sizes and available in various packs. Oldenburger Cheese is available in loaves or blocks as well as grated or diced for your convenience.
- 3 kg loaf: all Oldenburger Cheese varieties
- 2kg grated: Oldenburger Cheese 48% fat i.d.m. and Oldenburger Mozzarella 40% fat i.d.m.
- 2kg diced: Oldenburger Mozzarella 40% fat i.d.m.
- 1 kg sliced: Oldenburger Gouda 48% fat i.d.m. and Oldenburger Edam 40% fat i.d.m.
- 10kg block: Oldenburger Mozzarella 40% fat i.d.m.
- 15kg block: Oldenburger Mozzarella 40% fat i.d.m., Oldenburger Gouda 48% fat i.d.m. and 30% fat i.d.m., Edam 40% fat i.d.m., Maasdam 45% fat i.d.m.
Nutritional value of Oldenburger cheese
Declaring ingredients in cheese is not required by law. At Oldenburger, however, we choose to declare the full list of ingredients of all our cheese varieties.
Cheese contributes to a healthy diet
Cheese is highly valuable in terms of nutrition. It is rich in milk protein, calcium as well as milk fat. Cheese is also a vitamin and mineral dispenser. In Europe, dairy products have been an important part of both children’s and adults’ diet. They greatly support the physical development and help strengthening the bones. The milk protein contained in cheese is a particularly high-quality protein: It can almost completely be converted into the body's own protein.
Cheese has also an advantage for persons intolerant to lactose: as the content of lactose decreases in the cheese making process, they can consume it without any difficulty.
Fat in dry matter
30, 40 or 45% fat i.d.m. – is always declared on cheese packs – and has to by law. But what exactly does fat i.d.m. mean?
i.d.m. stands for “in dry matter”. Fat i.d.m. indicates the percentage of fat contained in a cheese if all water is extracted. Cheese consists of dry matter (= the solid components such as protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, trace elements) and moisture. Due to ripening and storage, cheese loses moisture, while the dry matter remains almost constant. Thus the absolute fat content changes. This is why the legislator prescribes the specification of fat in dry matter. Oldenburger cheese varieties light are fat reduced. Milk with a lower fat content is used for its production.
How to Use Cheese in Gastronomy and Catering
Cheese varieties cater to all your cooking needs. On buffets, your guests will love the variety of different cheese specialities. Cheese is one of the most versatile ingredients and can be used in various ways. In fact, it is a perfect allrounder because it can be used in cooking and baking at any time of the day. Whether you use it in a dish, to gratinate or by itself accompanying fruit – cheese is perfect for starters, lunch or dinner recipes as well as desserts.
Cheese can be used in various ways in cooking: melted in soups and sauces, gratinated in casseroles and on pizza. In any quiche, grated cheese gives a wonderful hearty flavour and a firmer texture.
Cheese can also be used in savoury baking either worked in the dough or gratinated on top. It is particularly charming in savoury snacks, finger food and desserts.
Cheese is a wonderful spread on any sandwich. Whether on its own or paired with fresh salads, tomatoes, eggs and mayonnaise – a cheese sandwich is a classic snack.
Cheese can also be served with bread and butter or fruit as a closing of any menu.
A cheese platter including nuts and fresh fruit is a wonderful accompaniment to a good glass of wine.
How to Handle Cheese
There are a few basic rules of hygiene for handling cheese:
- Always cut cheese with a clean knife and wash it after use. This is necessary especially after the pruning of spiced cheeses and cheeses with special bark like red smear cheese or blue cheese.
- Keep all contact surfaces clean. Cut sides should not be touched with hands and should not come into contact with work surfaces if possible. Always lay the cheese with the bark side on the board.
- Wrap cheese as tightly as possible in fresh foil after each cut. Air pockets should be avoided, especially during pre-packaging.
- Use foil which is safe for food and does not contain any PVC or plasticizer.
In order to comply with the cold chain:
- Avoid interrupting the cold chain. Oldenburger cheese should always be kept refrigerated at 4-8 °C, while Mozzarella should be kept at 2-4 °C.
- Cool the cheese during processing.
- Avoid touching cheese with hot plates.
- At high outside temperatures, it is particularly important to strictly adhere to the above points and to check them regularly.
Mozzarella is a fresh tasting firm pasta-filata type of cheese.
Its excellent melting, stretching and browning properties make it the perfect garnish for several warm meals, especially for pizza.
It is available both shredded and as a loaf or block.
Oldenburger Tilsit has a full flavour which makes it the perfect accompaniment to light bread, on a cheese platter or as garnish on a salad – the light savoury taste gives an aromatic touch to numerous dishes.
It is also suitable as a topping on savoury casseroles.