“Cheese, made of milk from an animal that feeds on grass, reminds us every day that it is vital to preserve our environment”

Herve Mons, third generation French Affineur

Every three weeks during the aging process of our cheese, Rick our Cheese Maker/Affineur/My Dad, tastes the cheese using a tool called the cheese Trier. The Trier is essentially a metal tube with a handle. The Trier allows us to taste the cheese without having to cut a slice out of the entire wheel. It is first inserted into a block of cheese where it will pull out a plug about a ½ inch in diameter. Then part of the cheese plug is squished between fingers to check the moisture content, sniffed to check for unusual or “Barny” smells and finally tasted to see the progression of the cheese and determine if the aging process is complete. Finally what remains of the plug is reinserted into the cheese where it was taken from.

Above: Cheese Plug

The aging process of cheese is almost as important as the milk it’s made from. Almost fifty percent of the flavor of cheese happens during the aging. There are professional people who age cheese called Affineurs. Some creameries will send their cheeses across the country to be aged by their chosen Affineur. The Affineur is highly skilled and takes great care in developing the cheese by knowing the right humidity and temperature to age the cheese at and, depending on the cheese they may brush, wash, or turn the wheels accordingly. Ok, so Rick may not be a professional Affineur but he’s just as neurotic as one, and in my opinion he’s doing a heck of a job with the aging process.

Above: My Mom rewarding our Cheese maker Rick

Last week we checked our aging cheese, although only fifty days old, the cheese is already developing flavors characteristic to cheddar. Because of the Jersey milk we use, the texture of the cheese is incredibly creamy, and almost tasted of butter. It is important to check the cheese at regular intervals because ultimately we will have up to two years invested in this cheese before it’s sold, and it would be a pity to find out last minute we found that it wasn’t up to our standards. So far so good with the aging process and we hope to have some cheese on the market soon!

Comments to "The Cheese King"

  1. David Bloom

    November 12, 2012

    As a kid I lived across the berry field bordered your grandparents dairy farm. I used to enjoy going to some of Rick’s performances in the ’70’s. Some good times.. It is good to see Rick doing something that he seems to have a deep passion for like his music.
    The last I heard from him he was living near Arlington, Wa. it looks like you live in Wisconsin’s cheese country now, is that correct?
    Looking forward to a sampling of your extrordinary product.
    David Bloom..

    • Inga

      November 12, 2012

      Years ago most of our family moved to wonderful Wisconsin. I took up the family business of milking cows and my dad offers a hand from time to time with the milking. He still get’s to be musical writing and singing songs with my on our web series, and recently has become a cheese maker! Thanks for reading our blog David, and what a wonderful place you grew up!

  2. Zachary

    November 12, 2012

    What an exciting process! I was thinking about you all this weekend as I was able to attend my second Wisconsin Cheese Originals in Madison, Wisconsin’s Monona Terrace (see http://www.wisconsincheeseoriginals.com).

    I imagine you all being there with the greatest of cheese community, networking and sharing the love for preserving our cultures, environments, neuroces, etc. Keep it up you all! What a great thing to share, humanity is good.

  3. Monica Helgeson

    November 12, 2012

    How wonderful! I too grew up with Ricky. We were in music together in high school. And he sand “the wedding song” (I think) at my wedding! Please. Tell him hi, and would love to buy some cheese when it’s ready! You can find me on Facebook.
    Monica Helgeson

  4. Rich Tiedeman

    November 13, 2012

    Great story, great new hobby or business. My dad tried to be a Jersey Dairy farmer, but wasn’t able to make it as a full time career. Brother Jim learned that the name of his Sunnyside Blvd Dairy business was “The Jersey Dairy”. The best to you and C and family

  5. Fran Jones-Vail

    March 8, 2013

    So much fun watching you and seeing your family. Gosh! I sure would love to try your dad’s cheese, hopefully I can get to Wisconsin someday. Your parents look great and so do you. Looking forward to ‘seeing’ more of the Witscher family.

  6. Pam

    May 22, 2014

    Love this photo! Not as much as I love this brilliant life you are all living!
    I consider myself a self proclaimed Affineur! I love your cheese!

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