Cheesemaking is an area of food hygiene that requires particular attention to cleaning. It is not enough to use ordinary detergents in cheesemaking, special detergents are sold to dairies by their dairy products suppliers. This includes the chemicals used for cleaning the pasteurising machines. In fact, a good cheesemaker spends around 50% of his time cleaning.
Cheese can only be made in vats that can tolerate being washed in caustic soda. This means that the only metal that can be used is stainless steel. All vats and stainless steel work surfaces must be washed after each job, after the end of the working day and before work begins in the morning. This also includes milk holding tanks and their pipes which are washed in an internal washing system using caustic soda in water that is heated to 65-70 degrees Centigrade.
The soda is sprayed into the tank by a pump via a rotating sprinkler. After the cycle has worked for the correct period the soda is sent into the drain, the tank is then sprayed by hand to get rid of all soda residue, including sending some through the sprinkler, then filled with an adequate quantity of fresh water which is pumped through the pipes to wash out any soda remaining in them. The pasteuriser is also undergoes CIP (cleaning in place), as soon as the milk has been pasteurised and also at the beginning of every working day before milk is passed through it to be pasteurised.
Cheese dairies usually only work making one type of cheese. However, some “boutique” dairies make a selection of cheeses. It is important to keep the production of cheese that incorporate the use of molds well away from cheeses that do not have molds in them because because it is almost impossible to prevent mold cross contamination. Even a single mold spore in a block of maturing cheese can cause it to go runny and take on entirely different characteristics from those desired and the whole maturation room will be infected with cheese mold spores.
If you make cheeses remember these principles. When making cheeses nothing else should be in the area during the whole process. Personal hygiene is of utmost importance. Hands washed to the elbow in very hot water and detergent, no rings, no watches, no bracelets. Wear gloves whenever handling milk products and change gloves if they are surgeons gloves or wash them frequently in hot water and detergent if they are not disposable ones.