Tillamook Cheese: Inside the Plant
Things run like clockwork at the Tillamook cheese factory in Oregon, and the result is delicious cheddar cheese! Writer Jim Carper brings us on a tour of the factory in this great article. Check it out:
Dale Baumgartner has been making cheese for Tillamook for 44 years. Today he is the head cheesemaker, overseeing eight cooking vats (called double-O’s), each holding 53,500 pounds of milk. Inside, two agitators distribute annatto coloring and cultures throughout the milk. Tillamook worked with dairy scientists at Oregon State University to develop its own unique starter.
“Every tank of starter is its own little animal,” Baumgartner said. As the micro-organisms in the starter interact with the milk, the watchful eye of an experienced cheesemaker is required to fine-tune any adjustments that need to be made. This part of the process cannot be automated.