Ask Dr. Cheese

Dr. Cheese knows Everything about Cheese

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Introduction History Farm Creamery Making cheese 1 Making cheese 2 Links


The milk is pumped from the cooling tank on the farm into a milk tanker. At the same time a sample of the milk is taken in order to check on its quality. Twenty or thirty ton milk tankers drive along the narrow country lanes to the creamery. There the river of milk, annually around eleven billion liters, is channeled in to two directories.

Part of the milk has the fat removed by a cream separator. The cream is used to make butter and cream. The residue, low fat milk, is used to make products such as yogurt, buttermilk or low fat milk.

The fat is not removed from the second stream of milk as this is used for full-fat products, including full-fat milk, cheese, condensed milk and milk powder. Semi-skimmed milk is produced by combining low-fat milk with some of the full-fat milk. 

About a century ago the first cream separator was put into production, to skim the milk mechanically. In much the same way as a spin-dryer removes the water from your washing, the cream separator spins the milk until the cream is removed. Prior to mechanization the cream was removed after the milk had been left to stand in cool cellars, allowing the fat to rise to the surface. The milk fat which is removed forms the basic of butter. After the mechanization of butter production it was no longer before cheese was also made in creameries, followed by products such as dairy ice-cream, milk powder, butter oil and condensed milk. 

Nowadays the creameries produce a whole range of products. Yogurt and buttermilk have been around for a long time, but now desserts, milk-based drinks and cottage cheese have become very popular.

Nearly half the milk produced in the Netherlands is used to make cheese. The milk is coagulated to form curs. The remaining liquid, whey, contains amongst other things, milk sugars and proteins. Years ago the whey was fed to pigs but some time ago it was discovered that much more could be done with it. Creameries now make whey based drinks and the proteins derived from whey are added to any other food products.

In modern creameries none of the milk is wasted. Walking into such a creamery is like taking a step in to the twenty-first century, with stainless steal vats, pipes and large control panels from which the complete production process is monitored. In fact there is only one thing to remind you of the old-fashioned dairy, with its wooden vats, brass, ladles and spoons; the typical 'dairy' aroma. Thanks to this aroma we are reminded that in spite of the advances of technology and computers, milk and its by-products remain a traditional food.

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