Bellwether Farms
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Artisan Creamery - Sonoma County, California
Making Cheese
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making cheese

Cheesemakers today still use the same techniques to make cheese that have been used for hundreds of years. It is now understood that cheese-making is basically a chemical reaction. By changing the environment of this reaction--increasing or decreasing temperature, removing more or less whey, adding salt, aging the cheese under different conditions, etc.--the cheesemaker controls the texture, aroma and taste of the cheese. The specific conditions we've developed at Bellwether Farms are responsible for our unique, great-tasting cheeses.

Click the images below for a step-by-step photo tour of our cheesemaking process...

First we start with great milk! After milking our sheep, we fill up our small vat seen here with the milk and add our cultures to start the coagulation process. Today we are making San Andreas and we make it with raw milk therefore we skip the pasteurization process.
After about 30 minutes, we check the curd with our fingers for desired texture. We believe that more can be learned from seeing, touching and feeling. Milk changes throughout the year therefore we rely on our experience and senses in making our artisan cheeses.
Time to cut the curd! Once the curd has set we cut it into small pieces to release the whey (liquid) so that we can make our aged cheese. We will use the whey later to make our fresh ricotta. Nothing goes to waste.
After cutting he curd we continue to gently move it around release more liquid. After about 15 minutes of turning we check for desired size and start to drain the curd.
Next, we quickly start to fill the molds. We can make 40 wheels of San Andreas at a time. The curd immediately starts to pack together and we will have a molded cheese within minutes.
Once the curd is filled into the molds we check for consistency. Immediately we can flip them and let them drain for several hours.
After removing San Andreas from the mold, it will go straight into our aging room for a minimum of 60 days. During that time it will be washed, and flipped many times.
Now all grown up, we send out for you to enjoy!
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