BROOTEN -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we get a little cheesy at the Redhead Creamery learning the art of making hand crafted cheese.

Just over a year ago the Redhead Creamery in Brooten began construction on a cheese plant and are now fully operational.

Alise Sjostrom runs the cheese plant on her parent's farm, Jer-Lindy Farms. She says she begins her day at about 4:00 a.m. preparing for the cheese making process.

"It's always going to be something different, but the cool thing about hand crafted cheese making is it's never the same so it keeps everything unique everyday," says Sjostrom.

The process begins by pouring the milk into a cheese vat where it's heated. Sjostrom says all the milk comes directly from the cows on their farm.

"Since we are farmstead we want to make sure we have the most fresh and highest quality milk possible," says Sjostrom.

Once the temperature is right, ingredients are added to the milk and stirred for about and hour. During that time the previously made cheese is flipped in the coolers.

"We can hold up to six months worth of cheese and we hope to age it out at least four months to a year," says Sjostrom.

The milk is then tested before other ingredients are added to thicken the milk into curd.

As it hardens the curd is then cut, mixed again and the whey drained from the vat which Sjostrom says can be a process.

"Just little things that you learn once you start getting the cheese made or getting milk transferred, you learn the little things you don't have quite ready," says Sjostrom.

The cheese is then salted, pressed into molds and then stored in the coolers to age until ready.

"Our goal is to make three to four cheese and get really good at it before we start branching out," says Sjostrom.

Sjostrom says the plant can make about 400 pounds of cheese a day and she hopes to see the business expand in the future.

"It would be really cool to be known throughout the U.S. and we are slowly working our way there," says Sjostrom.

If you would like to see the cheese making process first hand, the Redhead Creamery holds farm tours every Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

 

Alise Sjostrom collects the curd in the cheese vat as the whey drains. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News).