We were delighted to be able to see a demonstration of how cheese has been made for centuries using traditional equipment.
I had never seen a wood burning oven like this and was so curious how the huge copper pot would be lifted on top of the burner.
Arnold Zimmerman was the Swiss man who has been making cheese for over 50 years, just like this. He started a wood fire inside the stove.
Then he adds the cheese culture to the milk and slowly heats it, later adding the rennet for the milk to form the curd. The wood burner opens at the front and he swings the copper pot over the fire and closes the oven.
He tests to see if the curd is firm enough with his wooden scoop.
When the curd has set, he carefully cuts the curd with the curd harp.
And stirs and stirs the curd.
Keeping track of the temperature, he feels the curd to know exactly when it is ready.
Then he takes out some whey and adds warm water to the curds.
continuing to stir the curds.
and checking the temperature
he opens the stove and swings out the pot to cool down.
testing the feel of the curds
The way he strained the curds was amazing! He wrapped the end of a large cheese cloth around a thin piece of metal, and folded the other end of the cloth into a point.
He puts the point end of the cheesecloth in his teeth and swoops the other end on the metal stick around the back of the pot, down to the bottom, and forward, scooping the curds into the cheesecloth.
Almost all the curds into a nice handy ball.
Next I will show how he strains and molds the cheeses, and cures them. Oh, it is hard not to covet all of this fine equipment.