Swiss Village Cheese Factory

Boise, ID

July 26, 1998

Little Miss Muffet, sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider and sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away. I often wondered what exactly she was eating. As time went on, I learned that it had something to do with cheese. So, when we found the Swiss Village Cheese Factory, we thought we might inquire. Thousands of gallons of fresh whole milk arrives daily at the Swiss Village Cheese Factory. Within 24 hours the milk is pasteurized and cooled to a proper temperature. Depending on the type of cheese that is to be produced, one of the many different starter batches are added. The starter is a bacteria culture, not too different from those used in making sour dough bread, it is friendly bacteria that grows in the milk and in doing so changes the milk into two other products. Curd, which is a solid mass and the beginning of the cheese and whey, which is the liquid byproduct of the process. The broth-like whey is drawn off and will eventually be used in the production of other products. The remaining curd is formed into blocks which will undergo other processes and aging until it becomes the specific cheese it was intended to be. Both the curd and the whey can be eaten by itself, and although the liquid whey was not available, the gift shop had several examples of curd packaged for purchase. Curd is also known as "squeaky cheese", and it definitely lives up to its name for the first day or so, after which it is more like a very firm cheese spread. The squeak can be reconstituted by placing the curd in hot water (inside a plastic bag) for about 6 minutes.

*** THE END ***