Our exceptional cheese starts with extraordinary milk from respected local dairy producers. It takes about 10 pounds of quality milk to make one pound of delicious Wisconsin cheese. It also takes precision, care, artistry…and a great deal of patience. Discover the unsurpassed quality control only an authentic Wisconsin dairy cooperative can offer.
Starts with the cows
Once a cow has a calf, she is ready to provide milk. Our farmers' cows are milked two to three times a day. Each cow, at each milking, can give up to four gallons of milk. The milk travels right from the cow through a stainless steel pipe into a cooler where it is kept clean and cold. Burnett Dairy's milk truck drivers visit our area farms and haul their milk back to our cheese plant.
Before the cheesemaking process begins, incoming milk is first tested for quality and purity. It takes approximately 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. Burnett Dairy brings in just under 1 million pounds of milk per day from a 60 mile radius around our plant.
Next, the milk is pasteurized to ensure product safety and uniformity. Starter cultures, or good bacteria, are added to start the cheesemaking process. They help determine the ultimate flavor and texture of the cheese. Next, a milk-clotting enzyme called rennet is added to coagulate the milk, forming a custard-like mass.
For cheddar products, it is then then cut into small pieces to begin the process of separating the liquid (whey) from the milk solids (curds). Cheesemakers cook and stir the curds and whey until the desired temperature and firmness of the curd is achieved. The whey is then drained off, leaving a tightly formed curd. The curd is then pressed into blocks.
Our award-winning pasta filata cheeses, Mozzarella and Provolone, are heated and stretched to authentic Italian standards. These varieties are sold in block, shred, dice and our World Champion string cheese.
As the final step, our cheese is packaged and sold to retail and foodservice markets across the United States. Foodies, chefs, and families enjoy our cheeses for everyday use and for entertaining.