The milk is collected in cans after each milking. The morning milk and the evening milk of the day before are collected and poured into a copper cauldron without being skimmed or pasteurised..
This is where the expertise of the cheese maker and cellarman comes in: to carry out the different stages in the production and maturing processes.
• Curdling or coagulation consists of heating the milk to a temperature of 33°C. The cheese-maker then adds the rennet, an enzyme from the fourth stomach of a calf) prepared using a traditional method. The rennet also provides lactic bacteria. The milk turns into curd.
• Cutting the curd: the curd is cut into small granules with the curd knife. This process eliminates a large quantity of water.
• Stirring and cooking, also called “stirring on the flame” to drain the cheese grain, which is heated to 53-54°C while being stirred.
• Moulding and pressing give the Beaufort cheese its characteristic shape. Once the cheese-maker considers the grain is ready, he removes the grain mass from the cauldron using a linen cloth. The grain mass is then placed into a circular mould (wheel) which gives the cheese its famous concave “hoop side". The Beaufort is then pressed for 20 hours, during which time it is turned regularly.
• Steeping in brine: the cheese is steeped in a bath of brine after resting for 24 hours. This is called the first salting.
• Maturing takes a minimum of 5 months and up to 12 months. The cellar is maintained at a temperature below 10°C with a high humidity level. During this maturing period the cheese is salted, rubbed and turned twice a week. These conditions and processes are crucial for developing the cheese’s distinctive flavour.
Visit the site of the "Syndicat de Défense du Fromage Beaufort” (Beaufort Cheese Protection Syndicate):